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High Jewelry Designers Go for Stacking in a Big Way

The latest trend puts one gem on top of another, boosting total carat counts — and prices.

A platinum Cartier ring with a 4.01-carat rose-cut diamond inserted directly below an 8.20-carat ruby.

By Ming Liu

Aug. 25, 2021

In recent years there has been the ring stack and the wrist stack. And the layering necklace craze known as #neckmess.

But now jewelry designers are working a maximalist stacking trend, placing stones atop stones in a single piece of jewelry, creating designs with serious wow factors in total carat counts — and prices.

Such creations with doubled and sometimes even tripled-up stones were featured in July at the high jewelry collections, from brands like Dior, Boucheron and Cartier.

Cartier, for example, presented the Phaan ring with a 4.01-carat rose-cut diamond all but hidden below a 8.20-carat ruby. Jacqueline Karachi, director of Cartier’s high jewelry creation studio, said the pairing created an illusion that the diamond gave “depth and intensity to the ruby’s color, fooling our senses.”

Louis Vuitton’s La Star Du Nord diamond suite — part of the high jewelry collection commemorating the fashion house’s bicentennial — featured a 10.07-carat diamond cut in the house’s hallmark star motif and placed atop the gem-set knot of a double-strand necklace set with about 850 diamonds. The stone also can be removed and stacked onto a V-shaped diamond-set ring.

A diamond necklace from Boghossian’s Kissing collection with gemstones and rock crystal.

Roberto Boghossian, managing partner at the Geneva jeweler Boghossian, said the art of stacking stones evolved from jewelry’s traditional inlay technique, in which a section of a gemstone is cut away to accommodate another stone.

About 10 years ago his company developed a stacking method it called Kissing, and, Mr. Boghossian said, matching stones for a Kissing piece can take weeks or even months, as proportion, depth, height and color all have to be considered. But the complex balancing act, he added, ultimately “brings refinedness, sophistication and a lot of suppleness” to the creation.

After initially focusing on rings and earrings, the house recently expanded into Kissing necklaces, such as a statement-making piece set with a 267.90-carat Boulder opal, four more Boulder opals totaling 155.15 carats, aquamarine beads and a combination of inlaid and Kissing diamonds, sapphires and turquoise. (Boulder opals, as the name suggests are mined from ironstone boulders.)

Another new creation is a choker of rock crystal links set with five stones: a sapphire, aquamarine, Paraiba and green and pink tourmaline, each one paired with a diamond.

The prices — like those of almost all the high jewelry creations shown in July — are available only on application. But Mr. Boghossian noted that Kissing designs, like many high quality jewels, “can reach significant prices when combining rare gems, depending on their quality and sizes.”

Rock crystal has appeared frequently in stone stacking jewelry, as its transparency heightens the layered effect and it has a contemporary appearance. Boucheron’s Holographique high jewelry collection, presented in July in Paris, featured a futuristic-looking necklace of rock crystal slices, each sprayed with molten titanium and silver for a holographic effect.

The piece, which the house said required more than 600 hours of work, was trimmed in 3,675 diamonds and topped with a 20.21-carat yellow sapphire. It was complemented with a matching bracelet, stacked with a 14.33-carat pink tourmaline, and a ring, with a 4.61-carat blue-green tourmaline.