By the time U.K.-based jewelry designer Polly Wales debuted her Deco-esque diamond Arcade collection at Couture 2014, it had been a labor of love for some time.
“This is the first time I’ve been able to cast faceted diamonds directly into the gold,” she explains. “This is a massive shift in my collection. I’ve gone from making one or two diamond pieces to making a much larger percentage of them.”
Up until now, Wales, who debuted her line in 2009, featured only sapphires, rubies, and rough diamonds. And since Wales’ new faceted diamond pieces had an Art Deco vibe, she named the collection Arcade, a nod to the decorative structures designed in the early 20th century.
The challenge had been in the casting: She needed the right sort of investment, equipment, and processes. And during the perfecting process, she lost a lot of diamonds along the way. “If the gold doesn’t flow into and fill all the right places, then we lose the whole pieces, stone included,” she says. “You can’t just reuse the stones because they tend not to like being heat up, so sometimes they crack, and it’s brutal. Every time I relinquish pieces to the caster, I just cross my fingers.”
(Wales is in the process of setting up her own casting in house.)
Arcade currently has about 30 SKUs including wedding bands and complete diamond engagement rings featuring largely vintage stones. Retail prices in 18k gold start at $3,300 for a band with a single baguette-cut diamond and $5,500 for a diamond engagement ring. To date, nearly all of 38 U.S. stockists have bought into the collection.
Band in 18k yellow gold with diamonds ranging in total carat weight from 0.7 ct. to 1 ct., $3,800
Garbo 2 ring in 18k red gold with 1.7 cts. t.w. inverse-set miner’s-cut diamonds, $9,200
Venus ring in 18k red gold with 3.4 cts. t.w. brilliant-cut and round miner’s-cut diamonds, $17,500
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