It’s time for a change in scenery at De Beers, whose new high jewellery collection explores the splendours of the natural world.
Renowned the world over for its expertise and passion for exceptional natural diamonds, De Beers Jewellers is showcasing a new selection of spectacular white and fancy colour diamonds in its Natural Works of Art collection, along with its nature-inspired diamond jewellery in Hong Kong this month.
The collection is a testament to De Beers’ unique expertise and tells the story of one of Earth’s natural treasures. Paying tribute to the magic of nature, the collection features an expanded line-up of exceptional diamonds from the company’s suite of 1888 Masterpiece Diamonds – beautiful natural diamonds discovered by De Beers in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Canada. Named after the company’s founding year, these diamonds can be fully traced from where they were discovered through to the cutting and polishing phases. The collection also features Heritage Masterpiece Diamonds – extremely rare fancy colour diamonds – that speaks to De Beers’ pursuit of perfection.
A wonderful example of the 1888 Masterpiece Diamonds is the rare and remarkable internally and externally flawless 30.08 carat oval-shaped diamond that came from a 110.44-carat rough diamond from Botswana, featured in the DB Classic High Jewellery ring. Its pristine faceting maximises brilliance within an elongated, flattering shape. Other outstanding pieces include the Lotus High End ring, which is set with delicate white diamonds, while a rare 10.1 carat fancy vivid yellow cushion-cut diamond sits at the centre as if opening to the warmth of the sun; the Ellesmere Treasure High Jewellery ring, which features a 10.65 carat emerald-cut diamond and is inspired by the pristine, snowy wilderness of Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic.
The Heritage Masterpiece Diamonds consist of a Toi et Moi ring which embraces two rare fancy colours – a 1.04 carat fancy vivid purple-pink pear-shaped diamond with a 1.1 carat fancy vivid blue pear-shaped diamond; and the Aura ring, which is set with a rare perfectly-cut oval 1.42 carat fancy vivid green diamond.
Natural diamonds are one of the rarest of nature’s treasures, hence their enduring value. Deeply connected to Earth’s history, they were created between 720 million and 3.5 billion years ago and are older than some stars in the sky. Their journey through time imbues them with a symbolism of romance and mystique no other gift or possession can match, a belief embodied by this collection.
Coloured diamonds are even rarer. It is estimated that only one natural diamond in every 10,000 is classed as a fancy colour, formed after exposure to specific conditions during their creation. Although all fancy colours are rare, some are even more so, and are classified as fancy intense and fancy vivid. In the Natural Works of Art collection, an enchanting array of the rarest intense and vivid shades is represented, with no two shades being the same.
Also noteworthy about the collection is how the diamonds are selected before being transformed into exquisite jewellery. The selection demonstrates what the company calls the De Beers difference, a process developed and honed over 130 years. This involves expert artisans individually and meticulously selecting every white and fancy colour diamond by hand, assessing each one by eye, and choosing each for its superlative traits and singular beauty. Their evaluations go beyond the 4Cs of diamond grading – cut, colour, clarity and carat. De Beers recognises that while two diamonds may appear identical on a diamond grading report, in fact they may not be as equally beautiful. De Beers’ designers and craftspeople are also recognised for their creativity, technical skills and impeccable artistry.
Moreover, the Natural Works of Art collection is underpinned by De Beers’ Building Forever initiative. This long-term commitment focuses on four key areas: protecting the natural world, leading ethical practices, partnering for thriving communities, and accelerating equal opportunities. This is at the heart of everything De Beers does – the company leads the industry in its exacting standards of provenance and traceability.
For customers this means peace of mind, as they’re assured each diamond has been ethically sourced and is 100 percent conflict-free before being meticulously crafted into unique and covetable one-of-a-kind jewellery pieces.
Jewellery That Astounds
Besides the Natural Works of Art collection, De Beers Jewellers will bring to Hong Kong unique jewellery pieces that glorify the individual beauty and character of exceptional diamonds while the underlying theme illustrates the brand’s unwavering commitment to creative design.
On display is jewellery featuring rough and polished diamonds from the Talisman collection. De Beers’ master craftspeople set each diamond using their pioneering serti poinçon technique to show off their brilliance. Another ode to nature is the Dewdrop collection. This signature design combines diminutive micropavé diamonds with larger bezel-set round brilliant diamonds.
Meanwhile, the Portraits of Nature collection highlights the elegance and playfulness of butterflies through delicate openwork designs that trace the shape of the butterfly’s wings. Pavé-set diamonds accentuated by a mix of fancy-cut diamonds help create a sense of movement and capture the way butterflies land but never stay still for long.
De Beers CEO CÉLINE ASSIMON shares with Prestige the brand’s road map to 2030 and how its love for nature rivals its love for diamonds.
Diamonds are treasures from the Earth, but also a finite and diminishing resource. How does De Beers ensure nature is protected while it extracts these exceptional natural works of art?
We recognise you can’t recover nature’s treasures without treasuring nature. This is why we’re committed to our industry’s efforts towards a better, more sustainable future. We called this commitment Building Forever and it means that every one of our diamonds can be worn with pride. We have long-standing programmes and progress in many of these areas, but with our 2030 Building Forever goals we’re pushing ourselves to do even more.
Most people don’t know we manage a nature reserve called the Diamond Route. It’s a collection of conservation parks in South Africa and Botswana with an area of 200,000 hectares (around two-and-a-half times the size of New York City), which is more than six times the area of land used for mining. The conservation areas support a wide range of vulnerable, threatened and endangered species, and our dedicated conservation teams work in partnership with expert NGOs to support the needs of the local fauna and flora.
One example of our conservation work in action is our Moving Giants programme, which resulted from our elephant conservation programme at the Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve being almost too successful. The success of our programme meant that the number of elephants quickly began to exceed the park’s capacity, representing a risk to the local ecosystem. We therefore began the longest elephant translocation ever attempted, which is focused on moving 200 elephants to a new home in the Zinave National Park in Mozambique. We’ve been delighted to hear of sightings of new elephant babies, the first to be spotted in the park for a long time.
With a new Head of Carbon Neutrality, our first priority is to reduce the energy we use in our business so we don’t use up precious resources if we can avoid doing so. We’ll replace fossil-fuel energy with renewable energy, aiming to do so in a way that generates additional community benefits in our partner countries. And for any remaining emissions that we’re unable to lessen, we’ll recover them through innovative nature-based approaches, such as Kelp Blue, a pioneering nature-based solution for sequestering carbon and increasing biodiversity, while supporting job creation and sustainable economic development in Namibia.
Now more than ever, consumers are buying from brands that value transparency. What processes does De Beers have in place?
De Beers has played a leading role driving traceability in the industry. It was instrumental in the establishment of the Kimberley Process in 2003, to address the issue of conflict diamonds, and went far beyond that to develop the strictest set of standards the industry had ever seen.
Currently we’re working on a range of innovative provenance initiatives – and one of our Building Forever sustainability goals is to provide the origin and impact of every diamond we sell. Tracr™ is the only diamond blockchain that starts at the source, tracking a diamond’s journey through the value chain, ultimately providing assurance to our client. We’ve used it in our 1888 Masterpiece Diamonds, some of which we’ll have in Hong Kong. Clients can explore the transformation of these diamonds through images and videos, from the rough state in which they were originally discovered through to cutting and polishing phases – and, in certain cases, to jewellery. And just as importantly, they can be confident these diamonds have had a positive impact along their incredible journey.
Has buyer behaviour changed since the pandemic and, if so, how is De Beers responding?
We see clients focusing on fewer and better things, and choosing what feels meaningful. They’re looking for brands with a social purpose that are acting responsibly, and this is giving us a unique advantage, as we have hugely positive social and environmental impact in the countries where we operate.
We also see a growing demand for self-purchase, especially among a younger demographic – by both women and men. The jewellery client of today is plural – we’re not only catering to women but also to men who want to express their personality. There’s a big focus on self-expression. It’s no longer only about celebrating traditional moments but also about self-love, self-purchase and celebrating accomplishments, as well as expressing style with an item that’s everlasting. And clients want jewellery that’s versatile, light and fun. The jewellery we’re creating for them is not meant to go into the safe: it’s meant to be worn.