Lola Brooks has always been obsessed with unusual diamonds—“the bigger, the better”—she says. That size-matters approach shifted in 2004, when her favorite diamond dealer presented her with a small parcel of flat-faceted stones.
“I had never seen anything like them before, and they reminded me of the older historical diamond cuts that came before more modern faceting techniques,” says Brooks, whose work is featured in the Museum of Art and Design and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. “These were cut in such a way that you could get a big look with not as much weight,” she says. That affordability made the thinly cut stones all the more appealing to the designer, who was just getting her start in the industry.
But it wasn’t just the statement-making quality of rose-cut diamonds that drew the artist in, but their unique inclusions and opaque nature, too. “They spoke to me of antique mirrors clouded with age and histories, windows that looked out upon whorls of fog or smoke, mossy blooms or galactic debris—all frozen in time,” she says.
Like Brooks, Gabriella Kiss also fell for the beauty of rose-cut stones. “Diamonds are carbon, and I have read that all carbon is long-dead stars. There is that amazing sense of time and pressure and heat and a vision of the galaxy that accompanies diamonds.”
Nevertheless, it takes a special rose-cut diamond to make it into pieces found in the jewelers’ respective namesake lines. Despite the hardness of diamonds that makes rose cuts possible, Kiss explains, their fragile nature means that not all stones hold up in the setting process. “There is a fair amount of pressure required to bezel-set a stone, and it is heartbreaking to hear that crack at the last minute of setting one.” Brooks agrees: “I choose my stones with the utmost care,” she says, noting that a bezel setting offers a greater measure of protection for a stone.
In Brooks’ hands, rose-cut diamonds find their way into her work, including in the form of a large pair of earrings with deeply domed backs. “Their form reminds me a little bit of a pair of sweet potatoes,” she says. “But I love the juxtaposition of large, flat—almost tear drop-shaped—diamonds with the exaggerated depth of the settings.”
Meanwhile, slabs with even edges, interesting patterning, and a decent thickness all catch Kiss’ eye, showing up in standout pieces such as diamond-slab dangling earrings bezel-set in 22k yellow gold. “The movement of earrings when they are worn catches the light and makes the diamonds really flash,” she says.