During the Hong Kong September Jewellery & Gem Fair I came across a magnificent piece of art from Forms. They are a Hong Kong based boutique designer house of pure talent and Forms‘ creations never cease to amaze me. Yet this time one piece stood out most due to its rarity alongside the history it carries.
The approximately 40ct light brown, antique cushion-cut diamond is classified as a Type IIa, distinguished by an absence of nitrogen. Being the most chemically pure form of diamond it exhibits exceptional optical transparency. Type IIa’s were first unearthed in India, particularly Golconda, and have since been recovered from all major diamond producing regions.
This rare cushion-cut also exhibits antique shapes and preparation styles often encountered in 17th and 18th centuries. With all modern cuttings being digitally generated , there remains an irreplaceable artisanal texture that conveys what is today an almost forgotten level of craftsmanship. Cutters of the old world would implement their personal expertise according to the possibilities organically contained within the stone itself (rather then “band” them to maximize yield laser sowing etc).
These hand-cleaved and polished diamonds allow for a beautiful brilliance which is incomparable to modern tones. Its movements and facets, individually shaped by and according to the human eye, are far softer and some say more feminine than current cuts. Without the limiting requirement to follow pre-designated ‘ideal’ templates regarding the numbers, angles and direction of facets this diamond captures light in an entirely unique way. Its larger, open facets softens dispersion giving the diamond a softer brilliancy in comparison to a modern brilliant cut diamond . For such reasons, earlier periods rightfully considered perfect symmetry to not be as important. This particular diamond displays minor irregularities in both the sizing and positioning of facets thereby producing an exclusive diffusion as well as substantial changes in color when placed under different light.
Besides being such a rare and pure diamond that, to my eyes, is as deep and clear as ocean the modern design in which it has been set is remarkable. Modeled on the ancient Egyptian Ouroboros, this Eastern interpretation implements an Asian dragon with a tail clasp set between its jaws. Used throughout a variety of cultures over the centuries, from Ancient Greece to Jungian psychology, the Ouroboros embodies endless cyclicality or infinite recreation. There is a tangible sense of timeless beauty embodied in both the hints to this archetypal structure as well as within the diamonds themselves.
The piece has two additional types of diamond scales enveloping the entire bangle. The first are half-moon old cuts which echo the central diamonds’ shape. These also portray large, highly specialized softer facets that permit light to effortlessly pass through. The second are pink melee diamonds positioned for pronounced accents or highlights. To release the Ouroboros one must push a hidden pink diamond clasp nestled inside the serpents’ mouth.
The craftsmanship and design is as breathtaking as the diamond. Therefore, all in all, I can honestly call it a once in a lifetime piece to come across and appreciate the beauty as well as the rarity of such an exceptional composition.
With very special thanks to Tzvika Janovar (Director of Forms) for providing such valuable information on traditional and artisanal methods used in the past to cut diamonds and history behind the piece.