I am incredibly proud of my friends, each with their own beauty like a snow flake- ones with strength inside out and ones with determination. Others have passion you can see through their eyes and others the will to make things happen. But they all have one thing in common- a dream. One of my good friends Gabrielle Weil has always had a dream to design a bohemian jewelry line with precious stones. Not only are they precious, they are different and very special. She chose to work with the mysterious black diamond which encompasses beauty and rarity in today’s world. Gabrielle currently lives in Tel Aviv after living in several cities. She shares with you her life, growing up and how she got to where she is right now.
I did not move from birth till about age 12. So my childhood was stable & I loved growing up in Hong Kong where I was born. After that, my family moved to the Philippines for about 8 years & I still love it there. Manila is very different to HK but an amazing experience. I went to University in the UK which introduced me to the European version of Hong Kong!
Asian culture very much influences me in my day-to-day fashion choices, home decorating choices and color choices. I believe in Feng Shui and love the sun-drenched beaches of the Philippines.
Inspirations from the East
I love to dream & love the sound of the wind through the palm trees. Colors are important for me and perhaps it’s because of where I grew up and the constant strong, vibrant colors of Asia that I was surrounded with. I think this is reflected in my jewelry design with the use of precious gemstones like the fuchsia Pink Sapphires or the emerald green Druzy gems that are in my current collection. I always feel the need to add a pop of color to my staple Black Diamonds!
My guardians are my close friends that I am blessed to have. They are scattered around the world but thanks to modern technology we manage to stay in touch! My mentors over the years have been my family & close extended family. Each individual has offered me something different along the way from business acumen, elegance to jewelry and gemstone knowledge. Each person has played an important part for me in these areas & continues to do so to this day.
What I have learned
The vast variety of different cultures, beliefs, strengths & weaknesses. Hong Kong was under British rule, civilized, prosperous, “East meets West”, The Philippines was a 3rd world country with unemployment, poverty, weak infrastructure but the people have a strong spirit, positive attitude and cheerful disposition despite all that. Both countries allowed me to absorb all of this and I love that I have this understanding of the world. . It’s so much more than experiencing a country on a holiday. To have these different influences at a young age becomes part of who you truly are.
Rocks Delux: the How & the Why
Why: I wanted to make luxury affordable for women of all ages, and an everyday wear, not an occasional wear.
How: I wanted to create jewelry that was highly valuable but suitable for every day wear. In order to create this balance, I had to create unique designs that were precious but also affordable. I don’t believe precious stones are only for special occasions as such or only bought for special occasions. When buying jewelry, I found that women often gravitate towards fashion/costume jewelry from some of my favourite fashion stores like Zara or H & M. It’s true that jewelry in high street shops is attractive and extremely affordable. It’s common knowledge that they are manufactured from material that deteriorates over time so they tend to have disposable properties. As women that enjoy following trends, we don’t care if they don’t last long. So I wanted to try to create something for the woman that loves fashion, slightly unconventional but enjoys glamour and elegance; so she treats herself to something luxe! I became obsessed with Black diamonds & their origins and knew they were the perfect rock, so immediately Rocks Delux was born and revolved around that precious, beautiful stone. They are a different form of luxury, unconventional in every sense, ooze class, glamour and chic. I am a big fan of Coco Chanel and she once said, “A girl should be two things: Classy & fabulous”, So Rocks Delux Jewels seemed like right fit for the name. A classy & fabulous Rock- the Black Diamond!
Black diamonds are an unconventional gemstone due to their origins, only being able to be laser cut in recent times & the fact that they are opaque – everything a diamond is not supposed to be. So I carry this through in my collections by unconventionally piercing the stones for them to be able to sit against the skin freely and insisting on pricing them so that jewelry can be a luxury you CAN afford.
A Black Diamond
I will try and not get carried away here, I am so passionate about this diamond that I tend to go on endlessly! My personal observations & research on this mysterious gemstone are available on the Rocks Delux Jewels website where you will find plenty of fascinating facts about this rare gemstone that has only started to become more and more popular in jewelry over the last few years. It was only first used in jewelry about 10 years ago.
- This gemstone is only found on two of the earth’s continents- South America (Bahia, Brazil) & Africa (Central African Republic), making them indeed very rare. Whereas typical diamonds are found pretty much all in continents.
- Black diamonds (known as Carbonado) are pure carbon & are also the toughest form of a natural diamond. They are in fact even harder to cut than other diamonds due to their fine and randomly oriented crystal structure and as a result can only be cut using a laser.
- Black diamonds have been found to date back some 3.8 billion years ago compared to the typical diamond that formed between 1 to 3 billion years ago.
Last but not least, the most fascinating part of this gemstone (for me) is the strong scientific evidence that these stones actually are the debris left over from a supernova that crashed to earth when the 2 continents of Brasil & Africa were one, a time when the earth’s atmosphere was not so oxygen laden. Pure carbon easily ignites but as we all know, oxygen is needed to feed a fire. The low oxygen levels 4 billion years ago meant that a meteorite would not disintegrate upon entry & the black diamond was born. This is why since, with all the meteors that come into our atmosphere, none are Carbonado.
Jeweller’s pro tip: what would you tell someone who has no idea about diamonds?
Obviously to go for Black diamonds over clear ones because they are different, rare and more than a little bit unconventional! Be to be classic but with an edge. If you are like me, white diamonds are beautiful but I only love the really high quality ones that are blindingly white, clear & perfectly cut. When choosing engagement rings, unless the stone is bright white and perfectly cut, clear, I would not choose a larger stone as the size accentuates the poor quality of the stone. It is best to go for small but perfect than big & not so perfect.
Precious Stones: Healing beauties?
They are Mother Nature’s most generous gift to us. Something of hers that we can carry with us wherever we go, something that makes us feel special, connected to the elements of the planet and of course… beautiful.
My connection to Chicago
My mother is from Wisconsin, my father from Sao Paolo. They were introduced by a mutual friend on a blind date in Chicago. They met for 3 dates over 3 months before my father asked my mother if she wanted to get married over a weekend “as he had some time off from work”. She said yes. 52 years later, they are still together. Soon, my brother was born in Chicago as well. I have only been when I was very young but my memory stuck of my visit to the beautiful Natural History museum and the giant dinosaur skeleton. I must have been around 4 or 5..it’s my earliest memory of fun and adventure!
My husband. Seeing his belief in me keeps me going. Seeing other people’s reactions to my jewelry also is a huge daily energiser, motivator. For an artist, it is hard to be objective when you are so emotionally attached to designs. Other’s keep it real for me and their enthusiasm for my collections keeps me inspired.
Oh this is tough, the world has so much to offer & I think I have been blessed to have been able to experience so many different cultures. I love Asia but NYC is probably one of my favourite spots… andParis, am a sucker for a good croissant and brie!
Favourite Fashion Designer
I absolutely love Etro for the femininity, use of patterns and colour.
Where do you think is the Malaysian airplane?
Such a mystery & tragedy. If it was hijacked and crashed somewhere in the ocean, what was the point for the hijack? Time will tell…
Our world has become too “connected” as well as too mobile or tablet obsessed. I think children today already are missing out on so much that we had as kids, the simple things in life.
Quotes I live by
“Whatever’s good for your soul..do that” & “Chocolate is the answer, who cares what the question is”!