Privilege Blog

The Rough, The Raw, The Rustic Of Diamonds

If pearls can be brutal, surely, surely, diamonds can be rough. Of course they can, and it’s quite the thing these days. The same gem that balloons to 10 carats, perched on the fingers of celebrity bride-to-bes, also shows up quite shaggy, here and there.

You can find raw diamonds. These earrings are by Melissa Joy Manning, local to the San Francisco Bay Area. I like the casual gold strip setting.

A man’s ring, from Todd Reed. Seems to me a woman could wear this to great advantage. The cubes are diamonds. NOM like sugar.

You can find “rustic” variations, even from venerable jewelry designers like Cathy Waterman. I suppose acorns are part of the rustic thing. Makes me wonder where the pig is, digging beneath the oak tree. But we’ll wait patiently, lost in maze-like crystal paths.

They’re slicing diamonds, even.  These earrings are from Elyria – again the slices are accompanied by more traditional small brilliants, here along with a glorious 12 mm freshwater pearl.

Our decolletage can join the fun, as it is wont to do. A diamond slice on leather, from Loriann Stephenson.

Loriann Stephenson via Broken EnglishOf course, even raw diamonds can be gussied up all gaudy like. Over the top jewelry is my secret vice. Not wearing it, just wanting to kiss it and let it whisper in my ear. These rings are from Diamonds In The Rough.

rough diamonds, raw diamonds

Finally, and perhaps the spiritual inverse, we have drusy. If we hack the sparkle away from diamonds, it only makes sense to refind it in humble quartz. And then to set it in oxidized silver, of course, as Rachel Pfeffer does here.

All these pretty objects carry a question in their sparkle. A play on the underpinnings of our desire for gems. Do we covet diamonds for their beauty or their purported scarcity? And yes, I understand the DeBeers issues, but am unqualified to address anything political or economic. I ask the question more anthropologically. If that’s a word.

I think raw diamonds, and drusy, compared for example to cubic zirconia, hint at our species’ complexity. To be drawn to sparkle like magpies, to layer an almost ironic non-sparkle over our historical diamond desire, and in parallel to set quartz in industrial metal? Hmmm. Consider, if you will. Tease out the principles.

Or just look. I’m a fan of looking. If you want more, go take a look at Kathy Peck Leeds Pinterest board. Turns out that emeralds refuse to be left out.

Diamond slice via Gemrock Auctions
White drusy studs from Rachel Pfeffer
Dangling pearl earrings from Elyria
Rings with pavé “wrapping” ornamentation via Diamond In The Rough
Diamond cube ring via Todd Reed
Raw diamond studs via Melissa Joy Manning, in Berkeley
Rustic Diamond Acorn Earrings by Cathy Waterman via Barney’s
Diamond slice necklace by Loriann Stevenson on leather via Broken English

29 Responses

  1. The ring with the small cubes looks very striking, but also seems that it would be very uncomfortable to wear.

    You really hit home with your philosophy at the end of the article. Perhaps round, white brilliants became too ubiquitous, and so a reaction set in. Still, if people want a raw mineral look, which I agree is both beautiful and interesting, then there are lots of unusual choices that are also cheaper than diamonds.

  2. I really love the look of raw diamonds… the one I have looks dark grey, but as soon as it hits the right angle in the light it is bright and shimmers from the inside of the stone. The lack of obvious sparkle makes me appreciate the occasional bright shine so much.

    The uncut stone, by the way, is in my engagement ring… which I love. It is from this seller, and looks a lot like this one:

  3. I am in LURVE with those acorn earrings. I have often toiled with myself over rough diamonds, as I have felt in the past that it seems a shame not to give it it’s full potential…..but I daresay I have been mistaken about that.

  4. I, too, like the Diamond in the Rough rings – the black diamond in the pink setting particularly.

    I see, though, that uncut doesn’t make them any less expensive – the Todd Reed ring is $4,200 with just two rows of stones.

  5. These are all so so so gorgeous!

    One of my favorite stones are Herkimer diamonds, which aren’t even diamonds to begin with.

    And black diamonds ~swoon~

  6. Hmmm, I have to agree with the first commenter. There are lots of raw material, cheaper than diamonds, to be used to create great, unique pieces of jewelry.
    Not saying, that I don´t like the ones presented here.

  7. Bit of rough they say can be exciting,but this gel’s heart prefers emerald….off to have a look at Kathy’s Pinterest.Ida

  8. I didn’t know they existed these diamonds in the rough.

    But they are just what I wanted.

    Now we need to get a seller to have a give away…

    xo Jane

  9. I am having a fit over these. I occasionally stumble across a piece and fawn over it, but then debate over how often I would wear it. However, “NOM like sugar,” yes. I definitely would with that bracelet. But most of all, that freshwater pearl with raw brilliants… that kind of epitomizes how I feel about my personality. Raw, unfinished but classic. Incredible finds!

  10. While I like raw stones in general (raw emeralds and rubies are so beautiful it’s crazy), the rough diamonds don’t really interest me too much. Maybe its the lack of colour?

    I think my problem with them is that they look too much like quartz, and the lack of colour is a little …. blah to me.

  11. I’m really loving all the rough and sliced stones. Very organic, yet elegant, precious, and wearable. I don’t appreciate the beauty of classic, cut stones, and intricate, refined settings any less, these are just a different thing – an art moving forward, yet also perhaps returning to a more simplistic and ancient form? And Lisa, thanks for the shout out about the emeralds, which I think are fantastic.

  12. I wanted to add something else. Although I do love a lot of the designs, I wouldn’t pay a lot as don’t think the stones have any inherent value? I think one is paying for a concept and design, unless anyone with gemstone knowledge here, has something to add? I am curious about that?

    1. I agree with you. Though these ” raw ” stones look great, they are no investment pieces.
      I am no expert on diamonds, but I think, that the clearness, the color, the cut and the size of the diamond builds up the monetary value.
      So, if you want to invest in diamonds, those are the factors, you must consider.
      If you want something different, and have the money to spend, then the raw ones are fine. Just beware of the price. Reselling might be extremely difficult.

  13. I (aka Miss Contrarian) am not drawn to diamonds (though I love my heirloom engagement diamond) BUT I am VERY drawn to these raw pieces. I like a slightly unfinished quality to my personal style–something not too polished–and these earrings and the pendant are schtunning. Thanks for introducing me/us to them! xxx

  14. I love the Cathy Waterman design, it’s absolutely genius. And the drusy earrings are great.

    I think the current aesthetic veers towards the less obtrusively in-your-face “wealthy”, more artisanal and on the surface politically correct. And maybe bigger flawless and cut stones are being snatched up by other markets and we are making a virtue out of a predicament. Since prices remain steep though for those flawed specimen (“it’s a diamond!”), I’m wary. Have to agree with Kathy and Mette, don’t try to sell such pieces.

    I also notice that people are increasingly ignorant when it comes to gems. There is little knowledge around. I own a lovely clear natural light brown 1.5 ct brilliant cut diamond in a massive artisanal white gold setting and many people just don’t realize what it is. Fine by me, but also a bit shocking to someone who loves and contemplates jewellery since the age of 13 …

    1. I think you are right, about the current aesthetic, but I might not be done thinking about this subject.

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