When it comes to gem cuts, I’ve always preferred a bold line to a soft curve, which is why the baguette, with its stepped facets and slender form, is something of a favourite. Developed in the 1920s, the stone’s silhouette reflects the art deco period in which it was born. Typically, it has been used as a side stone to frame larger centre gems, but this overlooked beauty is enjoying a moment in the spotlight of late. When the latest high-jewellery collections were unveiled in Paris at the start of the year, baguettes played a starring role in Chanel’s flower-shaped Quintessence diamond brooch (price on request) and Piaget’s snowstorm-inspired White Illusion ring (price on request). There are also many independent jewellers presenting baguettes in new and creative ways.
For mother-daughter duo Ladan and Tania Shayan of LA-based jewellery house Shay, the baguette channels the deco inspirations that inform their brand DNA. They also, says Tania Shayan, have “amazing clarity, unlike other diamonds, which sparkle to hide their various flaws”. Shay’s witty Illusion Baguette Drop necklace ($10,395) features a pendant in which baguette diamonds are arranged to create a larger trompe l’oeil gemstone.
Jemma Wynne co-founders Stephanie Wynne Lalin and Jenny Klatt – who count Scarlett Johansson and Mila Kunis among their fans – are drawn to the baguette’s modern geometry. “When set into pieces such as our Diamond Slider bracelet [$10,710], baguettes have that perfectly understated feel,” says Wynne Lalin.
For Ileana Makri, it was a desire to depict “Greek summer nights when the stars shine like diamonds in the sky” that initially led her to baguettes: “I started using a clean, more linear and more defined baguette shape four years ago.” Makri’s Baguette Sprinkle Titan cuff (€7,140) – inspired by her granddaughter’s sprinkle-decorated birthday cake – features baguettes set in handmade gold bezels, pinned into titanium.
“There are several different ways to set baguettes, and each setting must be cut precisely to fit each individual stone,” says Yves Spinelli, founder of Spinelli Kilcollin. “We found that mixing the settings together was the way to go.”The popular Manava ring (£13,967) is designed as three connected bands. Channel-set baguette diamonds are positioned both horizontally and vertically, with carre-cut square diamonds in thethird band providing a pleasing contrast.
Tomasz Donocik’s first foray into baguettes came with his 2014 collection Electric Night. “Back then, it was not a popular stone, so I intentionally used it to create something different. It’s the perfect highway for stone colour to travel without the intervention of metal,” says Donocik, who likens the process of using baguettes to that of painting. His latest collection Stellar (from £2,200) features baguettes cut from pink opals, white agates, hematite and white diamonds, all set in 18-carat rose gold or white gold.
Colour and experimentation are likewise at the heart of Suzanne Kalan’s Rainbow Fireworks collection (from $900). Scattered, multicoloured sapphire baguettes of assorted sizes are built at various angles and interspersed with round white diamonds. “I like the unevenness of the setting and the uniqueness it brings to each piece,” says Kalan. “The baguettes feel edgy yet classic.”
Maia Adams is a jewellery consultant and co-founder of Adorn Insight (adorninsight.com).