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Mar. 2004

At the early 2004 shows, when manufacturers show their newest creations and retailers shop for holiday-depleted items, both groups soundly confirmed the popularity of retro-inspired cuts and square shapes in diamond jewelry.

Flashing back to bygone eras, stones like the Asscher and cushion cuts are among the favorites for everyone from big-name jewelry brands to large diamond manufacturers. Asscher and Asscher-inspired cuts–that resemble the rectagular emerald cut, but with modified square shape–are among the favorites.

Cushion-cut shapes, meanwhile, feature all varieties of brilliance–from the traditionally less-faceted cushions that are slightly more subtle than a brilliant cut, to modern interpretations that feature the cushion shape with a pumped-up number of facets for a larger flash of brilliance.

Among designers, the use of these retro-style cuts is also prevalent. John Hardy, for example, continues to expand his line of signature designs that feature rose-cut stones. This 19th Century favorite is set in modern designs—a saddle ring with small rose-cut stones set like pave, for example. The stones aren’t as faceted as modern cuts, so they are especially favored in designs that feature multiple stones—rather than one large diamond.

The trend illustrates consumers’ demand for something “different” and a departure from the “pack” mentality that drives the demand for many brands—perhaps a signal of the weakness in the idea of branding diamonds.
Retailers and manufactures confirm, meanwhile, that princess-cut stones continue to be a favorite and have become a staple choice for even the less fashion-forward customer. Looking ahead, several suppliers said the age of the marquis-cut may be returning for seasons to come. With fashion in general nodding toward the glam of the 70s and 80s, it is no surprise that this favorite of that era make a come-back. The move may also be fueled by the lower prices on the less-favored marquis and pear shapes.

Last year’s publicity for fancy color diamonds–traced in pop-culture to the rock that Ben Affleck gave now-ex Jennifer Lopez–is translating into greater consumer inquiries and demand. With prices for high-quality colored diamonds being an inhibitor for most customers, manufacturers are giving the look by incorporating small colored accents to white diamonds, or by using the less-expensive lighter-color pink and yellow stones. Translating this trend into bridal, another design idea on the rise is adding a touch of color to diamond rings via other precious stones–especially sapphire.

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