Fluorescent diamond jewelry design
The scarcity of diamonds is often debated, but with just 35% of diamonds being in some way fluorescent it is fair to say that fluorescent diamonds are rarer than most. In today’s market fluorescence can have a negative effect on the value of a stone. Though usually only if it rates well for colour and clarity.
At its most extreme effect this can knock around 15% off the value of a stone. But this is only at the top end, we’re talking D colour and internally flawless stones.
As we go down the grades, the effect fluorescence has on a stone diminishes, until you reach the lower parts of the colour scale where it can actually help to improve the stone’s colour.
The value of any stone is, of course, subject to the same supply and demand rules that guide our economy. Most pearls on the market these days are cultured, it’s only very rarely that a natural pearl is found and they command ever higher prices as a result.
If say, fluorescent diamonds were to find fame and grow in popularity then their relative scarcity could see prices sky-rocket. Individual jewellery designers or celebrity endorsements can have a drastic impact on a stone’s popularity. Although fluorescent diamonds seem to have escaped their attention so far.
Gemstones like tanzanite and tsavorite will forever be synonymous with Tiffany, who marketed these gemstones soon after they were discovered. Mikimoto will always be associated with pearls and De Beers legendary ‘A diamond is forever’ defined the brand and the diamond industry for generations. But so far no brand or company has taken on fluorescent diamonds.
Some have touched on it, incorporating fluorescent diamonds to add an extra dimension to their jewellery when seen under UV light. With the exception of revered Paris based jeweller JAR, who uses milky fluorescent diamonds for the aesthetic appeal of the milky effect itself.
One way to use fluorescent diamonds in jewellery is to place them strategically to secretly incorporate a hidden message into a piece of jewellery. Given that a fluorescent stone will look exactly the same as a normal stone under normal light, these stones lend themselves perfectly to the concept. The message will only be seen under fluorescent light, essentially hiding it in plain sight the rest of the time.
The message portrayed is down to the customer, simple initials, numbers and symbols can be incorporated. Or, for the more adventurous, the designer can attempt to visualize abstract concepts such as love, fear or deception using the medium of fluorescent diamonds in custom jewellery creations.
Using fluorescent diamonds in jewellery like this means making use of the very latest in diamond setting technology. Micro setting, a technique that uses a microscope to set tiny diamonds, with a minimal amount of metal covering the stones, is essential to make sure that the ‘hidden message’ becomes visible and discernible at the right moment.
Advances in manufacturing techniques have always lead to new design innovations in the jewellery trade and with the growing use of 3D printing in jewellery design it will be interesting to see where these new technologies lead.
One advancing technology that causes even more consternation amongst jewellers is lab created diamonds. It is becoming harder and harder to distinguish lab created diamonds from natural ones, but one natural property that hasn’t been reproduced is fluorescence.
It is unlikely that it is a priority for those creating diamonds in a lab, given the drop in price for fluorescent diamonds. It also adds an unwanted variable into the already delicate and complex process of creating ‘diamonds in a lab. Why go to the trouble of introducing tiny amounts a nitrogen when it may decrease the value of the final product?
Given it is unlikely we’ll be seeing fluorescent lab created diamonds, fluorescence could act an easy identifier of natural diamonds in the future.
Edward Fleming is a jewellery designer and maker based in London and currently studying at Central St. Martins. Driven by a natural fascination with gemstones and a passionate belief that the jewellery trade needs to embrace design innovation and tackle the issue of conflict minerals entering the supply chain head on.