Jewelry Trends

Everybody’s Wearing Black Jewels

As FW23’s darker tones take hold, both fashion and fine jewelers are turning to black enamel, onyx and chic cord necklaces to lend an opulent feel to precious pieces, says CHARLIE BOYD

When nature provides us with a veritable rainbow of colorful gemstones, it is perhaps inevitable that black jewels are sometimes overlooked. Thanks to their rarity and underuse, however, black jewels are all the more impactful, especially when paired with gleaming gold and diamonds. This season, both fashion and fine-jewelry designers are exploring the use of black enamel and resin, coated chains and cord necklaces, onyx and moissanite, to create bold designs that appeal to FW23’s monochrome, modern minimalism.

Black earrings are the perfect match for a city-chic monochrome look – and equally elegant worn with a pop of color, such as pink, à la Tamu McPherson

“Despite sourcing so many gemstones in bright and beautiful colors, it’s always important that we have an array of black jewels within our offering, too,” says Emily Johnston, acting fine-jewelry buyer at NET-A-PORTER. “For customers who want to include gemstones within their stack but don’t want to choose a color that might clash with different outfits each day, black jewels can really add some opulence, while remaining ultra-versatile,” she explains. On the runways this season, studded black chokers and strings of swinging black beads amplified the drama of after-dark ensembles, while Alessandra Rich revived the oversized plastic roses of the early 2000s, placing black blooms on bangles with black rhinestone fringing. Resin, satin and leather cuffs were all offered in inky hues – adding an impactful accent to bare arms for punchy party dressing.

Fine jewelers are also exploring raven-hued jewels, offering petite yet precious pieces that liven up plain stacks of gold. There are the enamel maestros – Repossi, Marlo Laz and Yvonne Léon offer striking combinations of jet-black enamel paired with rose or yellow gold, while others explore the fathomless darkness of natural onyx. A decorative carving material, onyx can be traced back to Ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilizations, when it was often employed for its purported talismanic properties. Retrouvaí’s ‘Puzzle’ pendant is a perfect example of onyx’s glossy allure, while Jennifer Meyer’s petite ‘Mini Heart’ necklace, Viltier’s ‘Magnetic’ motif, and Andrea Fohrman’s ‘Mini Cosmo’ earrings offer tiny pops of bold black. L’Atelier Nawbar employs onyx to provide an elegant contrast with white mother of pearl, while David Yurman’s convertible ‘Elements’ earrings bear high-shine black discs that can be added or removed according to your dress code.

A simple cord choker used to display an eye-catching piece of black jewelry instantly becomes a stunning statement adornment
Black studded earrings add a striking punk edge to a sharp silhouette
A glint of silver on a delicate black cord adds an impactful accent to a punchy party outfit

Onyx is far from the only black gem at jewelers’ disposal. At Spinelli Kilcollin, black diamonds shine against sterling silver in its ‘Enzo’ ring, while Maria Tash turns to black moissanite in her ‘Mohawk’ single earring, with sleek, sharp spikes giving off punk energy. Blackened metals are also a popular choice – Marla Aaron’s ‘Biker Chain’ necklace features blackened silver, while Eéra’s white-gold chain necklace is coated using black PVD (physical vapor deposition) to offer a striking contrast to its lustrous white pearls.

When it comes to showstopping designs, high jewelers are also employing black gems and enamel for one-of-a-kind masterpieces. Greek designer Nikos Koulis’s Oui collection features a sensational necklace set with over 10 carats of diamonds, each framed with a black enamel bezel. Fred Leighton’s black jade bangle is equally eye-catching, and David Webb’s door-knocker style earrings are made all the more dazzling by their pairing of black enamel with gleaming 18-karat yellow gold. Suzanne Kalan uses black sapphires for an audacious interpretation of her signature ‘Fireworks’ tennis necklace, while the tennis bracelet counterpart will add a dash of modernity to a stack of classic bracelets or bangles.

Rihanna works the black-choker-and-beret look to perfection
Personalize your look by threading a favorite pendant onto a simple black cord or ribbon

If you don’t feel daring enough to choose black gemstones or precious metals themselves, consider threading your favorite pendants onto a chic black cord or ribbon, as we all did in the ’90s – Lauren Rubinski and Mateo regularly use black cords within their collections to add a little grunge to their shining stones, chains and charms. Kimaï’s ‘Love Block’ black band makes the perfect gift to spice up a loved one’s fine-jewlery collection this season, while Diane Kordas’s bestselling woven evil-eye bracelet is especially striking in black cord, diamonds and sapphires. It’s definitely time to lean into the dark side.


The people featured in this story are not associated with NET-A-PORTER and do not endorse it or the products shown