Secret Sparkle: How Hidden Gems Add Depth to Jewels

A select few designers are creating luxurious pieces of jewellery with sparkling gems set solely for the wearer’s enjoyment. Let’s discuss the benefits of this interesting design feature and why a ‘hidden gem’ jewel makes the perfect addition to any aficionado’s box of treasures.

People typically choose to buy jewellery for its outward-facing adornment, which is why this crop of designers concealing precious minerals in less visible locations is so refreshing. They’re creating jewels with tucked away carats that can only be viewed at unexpected angles or solely by the wearer themselves. But how has this luxurious subtlety evolved and who is leading the charge?

Carrera Y Carrera Beauty Inside ring in white gold, rose gold and diamond from the Infinito collection

The Quiet Luxury Aesthetic

In recent years, the value of ‘quality over quantity’ has been an important design pillar for many of the world’s most esteemed and reputable fashion and jewellery houses. The ‘less is more’ design movement, often attributed to the German-American architect Ludwig Mies, was a pioneering rule in developing the modernist aesthetic, which led to the eventual rise of the Quiet Luxury fashion style. From high-quality stones set in simple settings to highlight their colour and clarity to clean designs with simplistic yet geometric shapes, jewellery designers such as the Peruvian-German creator Ina Beissner use these accents of hidden gems to exude understated elegance through their designs.

Model wearing Ina Beissner Luma Horizontal medium and small earrings and Core Oval ring in gold and diamond from the Hidden Diamonds collection

In her Hidden Diamonds collection, Beissner creates simple spherical pieces made of yellow and white gold that, when worn, will display a glint of white diamond shimmer depending on the wearer’s movement. In her own words: “I am passionate about the concept of hidden diamonds in jewellery because I am drawn to the understated and unconventional placements of diamonds that result in an unexpected sparkle. I believe that these carefully set diamonds enhance the beauty of my minimalist and graphic/geometrical designs in a subtle yet powerful manner. By subtly incorporating diamonds, they create moments of surprise and delight when they catch the light and are revealed.”

“To me, hidden diamonds represent a form of understated and personal luxury you wear for yourself.”

Another collection where diamonds are used to instil an understated elegance is the Oera collection by jewellery brand Tabayer, created and designed by Nigora Tokhtabayeva. Impassioned by modernist American sculpture during the formative years she spent in the United States, Nigora set out to create stackable, everyday pieces with a looping design of her own invention, the Oera knot

Nigora takes an architectural approach to jewellery so that each piece becomes one with the wearer: “Tabayer approaches the design of each jewel as a miniature sculpture. For the Oera collection, instead of setting the diamond front and centre, we are interested in how the diamond interacts with the entire piece. It’s a conversation between different elements rather than a statement.”

Symbolism Through Gemstones

Another reason why designers include hidden gems in their designs is to enhance the emotional value of the piece. Madrid-based jewellery house Carrera Y Carrera is well known for its ability to infuse meaning and symbolism into each of its creations. The Infinito wedding band collection is designed on the fact that the emotional value of wedding rings goes far beyond that of the jewel itself. Each of these engagement or wedding bands, available in a mix of gold tones, features a series of small hidden diamonds or a single larger stone that brings the focus of attention to the interior of the design, symbolising that the true value of love lies in the inner beauty of the lifetime commitment two souls are making.

Carrera Y Carrera Beauty Inside rings in gold, white gold, rose gold and diamond from the Infinito collection

Parisian-based fine jewellery brand Sève shares a similar design ethos in all its creations. Inspired by contemporary art, organic forms, and textures found in nature, each creation bears the distinctive signature of SÈVE: diamonds placed on the edges, which subtly enhance the piece from every angle. Beautiful and sparkling, the special diamond juxtaposition is purposefully placed to remind the wearer “of the brilliance residing within each of us,” according to founder Alice Bigourd. She continues:

“We all have the potential for personal growth within us, but this is often unrecognised until the moment we truly need it. Sève embodies this quality.”

A Personal Touch

Hiding gems, whether white diamonds or coloured stones, is also a great way to include something personal in a bespoke creation. This is what bespoke jewellery designers Hattie Rickards and Sarah Ysabel Narici discovered when developing their individual aesthetics. Hattie Rickards' British one-of-a-kind designs are famous the world over for a variety of reasons, including remodelling antique heirlooms into wearable everyday pieces, as well as her extremely detailed engagement ring designs, for which she sends the partner soliciting her services to do some detective work, to find out as much as they can about their future spouse’s style and everyday wardrobe. The result is a completely one-of-a-kind engagement ring design that brings the personality of its future wearer front and centre, allowing intimate details of their lives to shine through diamonds and coloured stones. 

The Jimmy ring below is but one example of where Hattie uses hidden gems to exude individuality in her designs: “In this piece, the diamonds are elevated with a stripe of channel set custom cut soft green sapphires hidden on the front and back of the ring. We set his birthstone on the inside of the shank”.

British-Italian designer and founder of the New York-based brand DYNE, Sarah Ysabel Narici, follows a similar approach in her creations: “Most of my pieces house little Easter eggs for the clients. Esoteric Symbols, icons or silent patterns that are understood or seen only by their owner.” The use of gemstones in places visible only to the wearer is an extension of this idea. Sarah often sets smaller pave diamonds on the underside of the ring bands beneath the shank of the main gemstone, where they will only be seen if the ring is removed and turned over. Each of these smaller gem pavé series is but another of Sarah’s Easter eggs that she includes for her clients’ enjoyment and whimsy:

“Jewels to me serve as vessels of memories - or private time capsules. Sometimes, the memories or moments that pieces represent are just as important if not more valuable than the intrinsic value of stones. Putting symbols on the front of a piece and stones inside plays with this idea”.

The Element of Surprise

One final reason why designers enjoy including the hidden and unexpected sparkle of gems in their creations is to evoke the emotions of surprise and curiosity. From his Abu Dhabi workshop, designer Tariq Riaz developed his popular circle of life collection, where diamond pavé is set on intermittent sides of geometric earrings, bracelets and rings to create an air of sensual mystery and intrigue. “The inspiration for this design stemmed from a desire to craft a piece that continually captivates both your gaze and mind”, says Tariq, “presenting an ever-changing spectacle that's present one moment and elusive the next”. Each secret diamond detail in the Circle of Life collection is made to ensure that the piece never becomes just another item of jewellery but remains an endless source of fascination, with colours and brilliance evolving depending on your viewpoints and perspectives. Using enamel and gems to create further contrast, each piece is available in a variety of gold tones and colour combinations.

Model wearing Tariq Riaz Circle of Life designs in gold, enamel and diamond alongside a ring in white gold, enamel and diamond

Last but not least, the historic Italian jewellery brand Vhernier had a similar desire when creating its famous Sopresa bracelet. Releasing only a select few per year, these bracelets at rest look like solid gold bangles. However, once slightly touched or worn, the band breaks into several golden links, revealing between each segment a sparkling or colourful surprise in the form of a diamond pavé or discrete slabs of coloured gemstones. One of the brand’s oldest designs, the bracelet was created to marvel and delight those with a truly refined appreciation of jewellery, as before their eyes, something rigid and immovable becomes fluid and full of life. Each hidden gem pocket is there to evoke a sense of mystery and awe in all who see it. What’s more, each bracelet takes forty-five days of work to create and is made entirely by the skilful hands of a select few artisans, who require special sculptural skills to recreate the apparent seamless design.

As you can see, there are a variety of ways and reasons for which hidden gems are included in high-end jewellery designs, and the more you understand the art of jewellery making and the beauty of natural gemstones, the more there seems to be a reason for owning such a piece. Let us know what you think of this design feature on the rise, we would love to hear what you think of hidden gems!

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