May 19, 2015 – Amelia Tan, Nylon Singapore
between marilyn monroe’s insistence of their bff qualities, or james bond’s acknowledgment that they’re indeed, forever, it’s true: diamonds are greatly revered. and yet, classic, classy, coveted as they are, the last “c” these days could very well be… common? oh the blasphemy! we might even say that the myth of the diamond is often greater than the sparkling stone it really is.
that’s until we set our eyes on nude diamond. dangling freely upon a thread of gold, the modern diamond is free from its usual clasp restraints – all the better to appreciate its multi-faceted, glimmering glory. fabrice elfassy and gary pill are the two brains behind this innovative approach, and they share that each piece is handcrafted at their atelier in antwerp, belgium. here, we speak to product designer, fabrice, on what exactly inspired the brand, and how the minimalist jewellery manages to look this dainty – a nice irony when we consider that the diamond is still one of the hardest substances in the world.
Hi Fabrice! Can you describe the process of having diamonds without clasps? We’re definitely intrigued by this concept, but how do you keep it secure?
The whole Nude Diamond concept is about revealing a diamond’s beauty and brilliance from every facet. We achieve this by laser-drilling a tiny hole into the diamond to run a loop directly through it. We also make sure to preserve the diamond’s properties and quality, so eventually you get a piece of jewellery that is perfectly secure – don’t forget that the diamond is the hardest bulk material on earth!
How did you come up with the idea of having the diamonds set this way?
A few years ago, when I proposed to my soon-to-be wife, I became quite frustrated with the fact that I had to pay so much money for a diamond ring, when all I could see from her diamond was the top face. To me, it was like buying a sports car without the engine!
After moving to Belgium in 2010 – I’m originally from Paris – I met Gary Pill, and we quickly became close friends. As he’s from a family of diamond cleavers, for three generations, I once jokingly brought up the “ring” topic into one of our conversations…What started out as a very trivial chat between two friends ended up becoming a very ambitious and exciting challenge for us! We thought: how could we reinvent diamond jewellery? For as long as it has been made, the only way to display the diamond has been to clasp it, which, in our opinion, strongly affects its real beauty and brilliance since only one side remains fully visible.
Where are the diamonds from?
All our diamonds come from conflict-free zones in Africa, where we find diamonds of the best quality.
Are they graded?
Yes, for our standard pieces, we use diamonds that are G/H in color and SI1 in clarity, which is a really fine quality for our purposes. In truth, we don’t necessarily need to use diamonds of higher quality because we work with small stones, mostly (0.10~0.50ct). Additionally, we also personally handpick each stone, for their quality and best value for money.
Who are the people who have bought a Nude Diamond piece?
To our biggest surprise, everyone, from all over the world! Our customers range from 25-somethings to 60 year olds, and we have even had people contacting us to turn their old family diamonds into “Nude Diamond” pieces of jewellery. We quickly came to realize that people liked our jewellery for a reason that goes far beyond the diamond value – the emotional value. There really is something quite indescribable about looking at a diamond dangling freely from its chain, catching light and sparkling from every facet with our every move.
There’s been a lot of buzz about the jewellery in magazines too. Have they been seen on any famous personalities?
Although we only launched last September, we have been fortunate enough to have several celebrities fall in love with our jewellery: “Made in Chelsea” TV star Rosie Fortescue, Brazilian/US top model Gabriela Dias, Lebanese actress and TV presenter Aimee Sayah, Italian teen top model Chiara Nasti…
We like that the jewellery designs are minimalist and delicate. What’s the thought process behind that?
Thanks for pointing it out! We are believers in the “less is more” motto, and so we think one can only get to the core of the diamond’s beauty if it is liberated from any unnecessary adornment. Hence our brand name, Nude Diamond. We actually think of our designs as very organic.
Okay, we have to ask though… What’s the special appeal of diamonds? Why do so many girls covet it, and do you think they can ever be overrated?
In my humble opinion, the appeal of diamonds will never fade. It has been so for centuries and it will be so, for as long as women wear jewellery! How can a basic molecule of carbon, over time and pressure, evolve into such a unique and precious stone? Diamonds are a metaphor of life and that’s what makes them so special! We can look at a diamond over and over again, and still get moved by it as if we looked at it for the first time. No other stone can bring us such powerful emotions.
How would you style a Nude Diamond necklace or bracelet? How else have others done it?
With anything, really! Because our jewellery is so simple and dainty, it looks equally stunning with a casual pair of jeans as it does with a sophisticated evening gown. We’ve also noticed that many of our customers like to mix-and-match their Nude Diamond bracelet and ring with other bracelets and rings.
What are some things one should look out for when selecting diamonds, especially when you, and many jewellers are now available online?
Since 1953, diamond quality is rated according to the GIA’s International Grading System and its famous “4C’s” (colour, cut, clarity, carat). If you have any doubts or questions about a vendor’s diamond quality or origin, ask the vendor, especially on the Internet, and if you’re still not 100% sure, go to another vendor that you trust!
As for us, we try to be as transparent as possible on our website, and all enquiries are replied to within 24 hours. Moreover, all orders are shipped within five working days with a courier company, and shipments can be traced online. Icing on the cake, we also deliver worldwide for free!