Rapaport Magazine
Style & Design

Rocking hardstones

These versatile gems are experiencing a revival, especially in high jewelry and timepieces.

By Rachael Taylor

Hardstones — or pietre dure, as Italian stone-carvers call them — are exactly what they sound like: gemstones at the tougher end of the Mohs hardness scale. Jade, rock crystal, onyx, carnelian and more all qualify, and these resilient beauties are enjoying a reboot.

Versatile hardstones are a triple threat, applying themselves well to a trio of influential jewelry trends. First, they are durable enough to be carved into decorative shapes or whittled down for inlay. Secondly, they tend to remain unfaceted, offering an understated sheen that can align with jewels for all genders, including nonbinary designs. And to top it off, they bring bright splashes of affordable color.

The bohemian crowd has long appreciated these gems and continues to do so for their hues and metaphysical properties. However, hardstones are increasingly appearing in high jewelry and watchmaking as well. The stones often play a supporting role, such as in Garrard’s Fanfare Symphony line. The collection’s fan-shaped jewels couple custom-cut hardstones with faceted gems: hematite with ruby, malachite with emerald, turquoise with aquamarine.

Diamonds also make a perfect playmate for hardstones, adding a luxurious sparkle that elevates the jewelry. Due to their durability, stones such as agate can be inlaid with diamonds for a contemporary twist — just one of many reasons to give hardstones a hard yes.

Sig WardManifest necklace in 14-karat gold, opal, pink opal, agate, pink sapphire, emerald and diamonds.

ChaumetLabyrinthe ring in 18-karat gold with diamonds, emerald, onyx and agate.

SorellinaGuitar Pick earrings with turquoise and diamonds in 18-karat gold.

DiorGem Dior watch in 18-karat gold with diamonds, turquoise, malachite, lapis lazuli, onyx, carnelian, tiger’s eye and aragonite.

Jenny DeeTotem necklace with diamonds, malachite, turquoise, amethyst and opal in 18-karat gold.

GarrardFanfare Symphony earrings in 18-karat gold with diamonds, rubies and hematite.

RetrouvaiYin Yang ring with pink opal and diamonds in 14-karat gold.

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - July 2021. To subscribe click here.