The Antique Diamonds in These Innovative Jewels Tell a Story from the Past

Single Stone founders Ari and Corina Madilian

After dealing in estate jewelry, Ari and Corina Madilian launched Single Stone‘s collection of vintage-inspired pieces. Top: Single Stone’s Victorian-influenced designs include the DEAREST (diamond, emerald, amethyst, ruby, emerald, sapphire and turquoise) necklace; the firm also offers an array of charms and pendants for creating personalized pieces. Styling throughout by Erik Staalberg

No obvious clues indicate that Single Stone’s jewels are made in Los Angeles, a place known for designers who specialize in colorful, cutesy or overtly blingy collections. There is nothing trendy about Single Stone. Sure, it offers covetable initial pendants and plaque charms that can be engraved with initials. But all the pieces, even the smaller ones, feel substantial and have an old-world charm. Nevertheless, they are indeed manufactured in the City of Angels, in its thriving downtown jewelry district, by master craftsmen using antique tools and old hand-cut diamonds. Many have oxidized gold details that make them look like Victorian designs.

Single Stone rings and necklaces

Ari Madilian started his jewelry career dealing in modern diamonds, but he was drawn to the character of vintage and antique stones, including rose-, old-mine- and old-European-cut gems. The necklace in the center features a rose cut diamond set in a champagne gold pendant.

Single Stone reveals its Western roots in one respect: the pioneering spirit of the couple behind it, Ari and Corina Madilian, who both came to jewelry from different professions. During the 1980s, Ari was in the real estate business, working in downtown Los Angeles with other members of his family, all of whom had emigrated from Turkey. Many of those renting office space from him were jewelers, so his friends began asking him for help finding engagement rings. In the course of doing these favors, Ari fell in love with gems and decided to change careers. He started out dealing in modern diamonds but soon found himself drawn to the character of old stones.

“There was little interest in antique diamonds at the time,” says Corina, “but Ari didn’t care.” He made a business out of finding antique diamonds to replace missing stones in old pieces. He also restored vintage jewels, working with contacts he developed in the field. Ari called his company Single Stone. This is not a reference to jewelry, as you might expect, but a tribute to his father, the name of whose clothing company in Turkey, Tektas, a proper name that sounds like the two Turkish words tek and tash combined in a phrase that translates as “single stone.”

The champagne-gold Rosary chain features an old-European-cut diamond pendant. The trio of rings in the foreground are, from left, a rose cut diamond set in a yellow gold and silver ring, a cushion cut diamond in a yellow gold and silver ring and a rose-cut diamond in an oxidized yellow gold and silver mounting The gold and silver cuff has at its center a 2.5-carat rose-cut diamond surrounded by 2.25 carats of smaller diamonds. The Rosary bracelet includes prong-set cushion-cut diamonds

When Ari and Corina fell in love and decided to make a life together, she left her job as a vice president in fashion retail, which involved lots of travel, and joined Single Stone. She rented a booth in one of the jewelry exchanges, shifting the business to direct-to-consumer retail. “I missed the interaction with clients, so I basically set up shop,” says Corina. Dealing directly with customers, she learned how they wanted vintage jewelry tweaked. Drawing on this information, in 2004 Ari and Corina launched the Single Stone collection of jewels inspired by the vintage designs in their inventory.

Single Stone jewelry making process

Single Stone’s jewels are made in Los Angeles’s thriving downtown jewelry district by master craftsmen using antique tools and old hand-cut diamonds.

At first, the line consisted largely of  platinum engagement rings with filigree details. Corina decided to add more yellow gold in 2006, after they opened a boutique near their home in San Marino. “I redesigned my platinum engagement ring in gold and loved it,” she explains. “People really weren’t wearing that much yellow gold at the time, but I believed it felt fresh and different and people would come around.” She was right — the new sunshine-yellow pieces attracted a whole new clientele.

Single Stone Cobblestone rings

The Cobblestone collection includes, clockwise from top left, large ovalsmall ovalrectangular, Milo and round rings.

Today, the Single Stone engagement ring collection has hundreds of designs to choose from, mainly in yellow gold but in platinum as well. The styles are imbued with the spirit of the Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian and Art Deco eras. According to Corina, “the Art Deco-inspired designs, with their clean geometry, have been the most popular lately.”

Single Stone jewelry making process

In 2006, Corina decided to add more yellow gold to Single Stone’s collection. “People really weren’t wearing that much yellow gold at the time, but I believed it felt fresh and different and people would come around,” she says.

All the rings feature antique diamond center stones. “The gems are more than a hundred years old and have an artistry that follows the line of the original rough diamond more closely than the standard geometric patterns modern diamond shapes are cut into,” Corina explains. “They also are generally not bright white D-color diamonds, but have a warmth in the color that I prefer.” The Madilians are so fond of these warmer-hued stones that they have created some very minimalist designs to better showcase their beauty.

In addition to the engagement rings, Ari and Corina have begun making yellow gold pieces accented with diamonds set in oxidized gold. One of the first of these was the chain-link Club bracelet. “It took off right away,” says Corina. This success led to the creation of an entire collection of chain-link bracelets and necklaces and pendants. Some pieces pay tribute to classic designs of the past, like acrostic necklaces adorned with a series of pavé-diamond hearts set with different gems the first letter of whose names spell out a word — diamond, emerald, amethyst, ruby, emerald, sapphire and turquoise, for instance, betokening dearest.

Although each piece is different, all comprise gold and diamonds, enabling them to coordinate and be layered together. “The concept of being able to wear the jewels daily and together is in fact the cornerstone of the way all the jewelry is conceived,” Corina notes. It’s an easy-breezy attitude that is perhaps the most Southern Californian characteristic of the Single Stone collection.

Single Stone’s Talking Points

Corina Madilian explains some of their most notable pieces

3.32-carat pear-shaped diamond ring Shop Now
3.32-carat pear-shaped diamond ring

“As soon as we found this chunky vintage pear-cut diamond, we knew it needed to be showcased in something bold and beautiful!”

ADORE diamond and gemstone gold-link heart-charm bracelet Shop Now
ADORE diamond and gemstone gold-link heart-charm bracelet

“This colorful Victorian-inspired charm bracelet showcases a gallery of gemstones holding a hidden term of endearment. The different gemstones (amethyst, diamond, opal, ruby and emerald) within the hearts spell out the word ADORE.”

1.80-carat step-cut diamond ring Shop Now
1.80-carat step-cut diamond ring

“We love unusual-shape stones and like to highlight their unique characteristics. We chose a simple bezel setting for this stone so that it can be showcased and the wearer has limitless options for bands!”

Handcrafted gold-link chain with diamond accents on clasp Shop Now
Handcrafted gold-link chain with diamond accents on clasp

“We created the Evren chain as the perfect necklace to layer up all your charms!”

Small oval Cobblestone ring Shop Now
Small oval Cobblestone ring

“Our Cobblestone collection was inspired by the cobblestone streets of Europe. Each one starts as a blank canvas and then gets set with different old-cut diamond shapes and sizes.”

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