CULTURE CLUB: “A diamond is a diamond is a diamond,” said Nadja Swarovski as she unveiled Atelier Swarovski’s latest project, a jewelry collaboration with Stephen Webster who used created diamonds and recycled gold.
Atelier Swarovski is the company’s high-end label that produces design-led collections in collaboration with an array of creatives ranging from Peter Pilotto to Zaha Hadid. The brand turned 10 last year and to mark the occasion, Swarovski moved it forward by venturing into fine jewelry and raising its red-carpet profile.
She did so by embracing the still-nascent concept of lab-grown diamonds, at a time when there was much skepticism from traditional jewelers. The products, she said, are aligned with Swarovski’s broader company ethos.
“For us to enter the arena of fine jewelry by really putting sustainability at the forefront of the vision is so important. Not because we don’t like diamonds. We love diamonds as long as they are sourced sustainably, but in this case we are really embracing the sustainable angle of the cultured diamonds, and it’s so great to see that being sustainable does not compromise beauty.”
For Webster — who continues to work with mined diamonds — the appeal was in embracing a fast-moving, new trend and speaking to a new audience.
“Working with (cultured) diamonds is quite controversial for sure, but ever since they came onto the market I found the idea interesting,” said Webster. He pointed to designers Marc Newson’s and Jony Ive’s upcoming launch of a ring made from a cultured diamond with 2,000 facets. It’s set to be auctioned for charity during Design Miami in December.
“Something involving technology never stops. We are going to see a product that is going move at a pace that I find very exciting,” he added.
Webster took his usual tongue-in-cheek approach when designing the collection, creating octahedron shapes that nod to the original form of the mined stone and adding cultured diamonds inside the geometric structures.
They come in double finger rings, stud earrings and elegant charm necklaces, with prices ranging from 1,290 pounds to 7,490 pounds. “I called it double diamond. But I wanted to take that octahedron form — which is how every mined stone grows in nature — and put some created diamonds in there. Disruption — that was really my thinking,” he said.