Ask Roxane: On Why Diamonds Are Forever And How To Embrace Modest Fashion

BY Roxane Zand / Feb 25 2019 / 18:47 PM

At sixty-something, Roxane Zand, deputy chairman of the Middle East at Sotheby’s, has made it to the top of her profession as a Middle Eastern mother and mentor. Sharing her wealth of life experience, Iran-born, Harvard-and Oxford-educated Roxane on what’s lighting up her radar this month

Ask Roxane: On Why Diamonds Are Forever And How To Embrace Modest Fashion
Richard Hall ITP Images

Roxane wears: Top, Dhs6,250, Dolce & Gabbana. Trousers, her own. Shot on location at One&Only Royal Mirage Arabian Court.

How can I learn more about diamonds?

There is so much to know about diamonds, especially if you're planning to invest in one. I never get tired of hearing that diamonds are a girl's best friend because they really are! Diamonds can be found in all the colours of the rainbow, providing us with lavish pinks, blues, reds, greens and yellow ones. Coloured diamonds are very rare - they are pretty much freaks of nature. Pink and red in a diamond are caused by an anomaly of nature which is still a mystery to scientists - we now know that the colour shown is due to plastic deformation, a stress fracture within the diamond which emits the colour pink or red. A Fancy Vivid Pink accounts for 0.05% of all diamonds graded by the Gemmological Institute of America, testifying to its true rarity. The colour blue in a diamond is created by the natural inclusion of boron particles within the stone. Yellow is caused by nitrogen within a diamond’s atomic structure: a fancy intense yellow diamond can be found once in every 25,000 colourless diamonds! Green diamonds are the result of radiation from deep within the earth's atmosphere creating a green skin on the diamond's surface. These are some of the fascinating facts that one can learn at a Sotheby’s Diamonds Masterclass, showing that a knowledge of the stones is important in making the right purchase.

The quality and rarity of a diamond will of course only be properly off-set by beautiful design.  This should enable the best reflection of the facets and show off the stone in the appropriate setting. Being the most prized form of portable wealth, it is no surprise that across many cultures, geographies and traditions, diamonds have been the most popular type of bridal gift. They are handed down from one generation to the other and due to their indestructible nature, survive well over time. While fashion changes seasonally, diamonds never go out of style. They lift anything you wear, and adorn the hand or neck that boasts them. Just watch Breakfast at Tiffany's and you will know what I mean!

Siren song necklace, Messika

How can I make my modest dressing look hip and trendy?

Modest dressing is coming into its own and is quite the fashion statement if done with flair and confidence. More and more designers are offering fabulous options: from the locally-based, inventive Modist or Nazy Biglari’s riotously beautiful creations, to Roksanda’s bold colour-blocking, to Mary Katranzou’s flowing robes or diaphanous gowns by Emilia Wickstead – there is something for everyone! Modest dressing is embraced by more than just Muslim women: royal ladies often prefer a covered dress code, as do women of a certain age. There is a clear market for those who choose to highlight aspects other than curves or bared flesh: think individuality and empowerment when it comes to modest dressing. Only two years ago Uniqlo produced a range of hijab headdress, and Victoria Beckham’s most recent collection makes a highly demure statement. These are real steps towards recognizing a whole new fashion demographic – women of diverse backgrounds deliberately choosing to be covered, playing with floor-skimming skirts or over-size manteaux in ultra-luxe, exquisitely-patterned, colourful fabrics paying homage to prints or ethnic motifs.

To liven up this style, go for strong floral or striped prints that can be worn over a black shift dress, or mix up many prints that have a matching lode. Layering is key, and often adds a comfort element. For day, a baggy tunic over a simple T-shirt and jeans looks trendy, while at night an over-size, elegant jacket over evening trousers can be red-carpet chic. A little practice leads to expertly-twisted turbans, and day or evening boots polish off the look to perfection. At work, trouser suits are more than just a power statement; they can also be sophisticated or quirky depending on how you accessorize. As the fashion world widens its options for how we express ourselves, reflecting the global trend towards inclusivity, modest dressing offers great opportunities for having fun and showing creativity.

 2.18 carat diamond heart-shaped ring, Dhs293,852, at Sotheby’s

What would you like to ask Roxane? Post your question on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #AskRoxane. 

From the February 2019 issue of Harper's BAZAAR Arabia. 

Press play to watch our chat with Valérie Messika, founder of Messika jewellery