April 27, 2015 - Posted in Surface Asia
April 24, 2015 – Luo Jingmei, Surface Asia
For as long as he could remember, Gary Pill spent his childhood in his family’s diamond-cutting workshops against the backdrop of hammering and grinding noises, watching the craftsmen work their magic on the diamonds. His family had been in the Antwerp-based business for three generations, and it was always in the pipeline for Pill to take over. Following a detour working for international consulting firms for 10 years after completing high school, he returned to his first love—though this time with a new idea.
“It was my meeting with Fabrice that pulled me back to where my heart is,” says Pill, referring to his business partner Fabrice Elfassy, a product designer and entrepreneur whom Pill had met in 2010 in Brussels. Their business idea was sparked over a casual, late-evening conversation, where Elfassy pondered over the typical way diamonds are set into jewellery such that only the top remained visible. It was, to him, a waste of the rock’s multifaceted beauty. “Wine probably helped out a bit,” Elfassy jests on the quick manifestation of the collaboration. “But what started out as almost a trivial conversation between two friends ended up becoming a very serious and exciting project.”
Pill and Elfassy asked themselves a key question: “How could we display the diamond from every facet and reveal all its beauty and brilliance?” The result is a new brand of diamond jewellery: ‘Nude Diamond’. Its name is indicative of the innovative idea of releasing the diamond from any restraining setting, as is conventionally done.
“The Nude Diamond signature consists of drilling a tiny hole into the diamond and letting the diamonds dangle freely from a loop. Of course as simple as this may sound, there’s a bit more that goes into this process due to the diamond’s structural properties,” explains Pill.
The designs of the jewellery range, comprising rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings, are kept minimal for the focus to be on the diamonds, though one can choose the number and size of the diamonds and the colour of the 18-karat gold jewellery. For instance, the Lueur necklace has a single diamond suspended from a chain, while the slightly more elaborate Esmeralda features a round loop pendant within which a diamond twirls, showing off its shine at every move of its wearer; and Constellation is a chain bracelet with a trio of intricate hanging diamonds which, like its name implies, alludes to the stars in the galaxy.
Nude Diamond only works with Antwerp-based diamond suppliers who can guarantee the legitimacy of each diamond’s origins, and rather than buckling trends, the brand holds on to a timeless approach of releasing a curated collection each year. “We intentionally keep our collection simple and minimal; so don’t expect to see 10 new designs every year from us,” says Pill. Ethical, uncomplicated, and elegant, this new venture not only exemplifies how simple ideas can refresh traditional industries, but also offers a refreshing back-to-basics approach to jewellery design.