Julia Obermaier – Jewellery Artist

The Great Sparkle –
About changing values of Diamonds

The diamond has always played an important role in the history of mankind. Today it is charged with numerous symbolic and cultural aspects. Within the framework of the project “The Great Sparkle – About changing values of Diamonds”, I am dealing with the various facets of this symbolic charge. In the process, both historical and mystical references are highlighted and the significance for contemporary cultural developments is examined. Current influences on different receptions of this gemstone are analysed and individually commented on in this body of work.


Diamonds have always played an important role in the history of mankind. Although they have been known as timeless gemstones of incomparable beauty to embody the highest status for centuries, they have experienced a continuous increase of value in its history. In its exalted existence, the diamond industry strives for even greater perfection. Through improving the diamond’s cut to enhance its visual appearance with its light outcome, they want to achieve the gemstone standing out and differentiate itself from other diamonds.

But here comes now the ultimate premium edition of brilliant cut diamond – the gold-plated “Supreme-Diamond”, with its unique layer of pure Gold, covered in the colour of the sun.

Handle with Care

Many diamonds carry with them legendary stories, as large diamonds, in particular, have endured for centuries due to their characteristics. Many of these very special and unique gemstones are today owned by royal dynasties. But these have often become owners given the unequal power relations of colonialism. In recent years the voices have grown louder and the demand has arisen that it is time to return these precious stones to their origins, from where they were taken.
And so here are the brooches, two empty boxes that each could hold one diamond specimen: “Cullinan I – The Great Star of Africa” or “KOH-INOOR – Mountain of Light”. These boxes, specially made to fit these precious stones perfectly, with the coordinates of the origin on the front, are ready to be filled and start their journey home.

The Right One

Diamonds are often used as companions for important moments in life. Among other things, they are associated with aspects of preciousness, rarity, monetary value and uniqueness. But in times when imitations are taking more and more space, the question that arises is – if you can see the differences between the natural and synthetic – can you spot THE RIGHT ONE?
In this box, you have one backside for the four containers. In each one, you have either a natural diamond, a synthetic diamond, a moissanit or a cubic zirconia in its centre. You need to decide every time which piece will be your companion for the day, without knowing which one you are wearing. You need to make a new decision every day again and again.
Choose your Right One!


Bling bling for a brilliant celebration. These hot flashing sparklers emit stars – just as diamonds have been considered as stars fallen from the sky. Caution: The glitter can lead you into an incomprehensible fascination.

The 6th C – Care

These pins are made out of silver and are wearing the imprint of a brilliant cutted gemstone in their core. They are part of an ongoing unlimited series – called the “6th C”. This “C” symbolizes a new criteria in the diamond grading and stands for “Care”. With bying one pin and supporting this jewellery project, you care for others, because these pieces are intended to benefit those who suffer from the diamond industry. 50% of the sales price of each jewellery piece from the CARE Collection, goes to the non-profit organisation BoLAMA (Botswana Labour Migrants Association), that advocates for former diamond miners and their families, e.g. by giving them access to social security benefits.


The series of “Shroud” deals with the 5th C of diamond grading – this stands for certificate, conflict or crime. Because of its history, but also its more recent appearance since the early 2000s, the diamond experiences a negative connotation. Blood or so called conflict diamonds characterise the sparkling image of the precious material.
But also due to the inhumane and nature-damaging circumstances of today’s diamond mining, a dark veil lies over these precious gemstones.


“Memory is the truth” symbolises a very formative facet of diamonds: mysticism.
Theses precious stones are mystically charged as many stories have been even passed down for centuries. So they are loaded with their histories and legends surrounding them. As a result, diamonds still fascinate people today with their aspects of the supernatural and incomprehensible. But the memory is always the truth.

Diamond Dollars

The group “Diamond Dollars” stand as a commentary on the diamonds reduction to its purely monetary value in the 20th & 21st century. In our society, wearing very large and conspicuous jewellery is seen at the same time as an interplay between ironic exaggeration and seriousness.
The brooches “Diamond Dollars” are made out of so called “stone letters”, which are still the traditional packaging for diamonds when buying/trading them. Marked with the real codes of the diamond grading system, they allow the wearer to communicate the true value of the stones, which appear to be supposedly inside.

For Everyone

The series “For everyone” deals with the diamonds’ symbolic embodiment of power and strength. Because of their historical charge and use as disembodied jewellery, the gemstones are given the task of reflecting the pausing power of rulers.
Purely the presentation of powerful demarcation through the reflection of light is here the function of the diamond. But these pieces, which are made out of mirrors are for you, for me, for everyone – to be found inside.

Leaving Traces

“Leaving Traces” embodies the realm of memory. Today, the diamond is receiving a new emotional charge, through the possibility of preserved and become tangible for the bereaved in all eternity. And when wearing these pieces, they may leave some traces on the wearers clothes.

SET in Stone

The group “Set in stone” comments on the influence of a global company, which has been to the most part responsible for an emotional charge of diamonds in the past. The aspects of love, infatuation, temptation, admiration and affirmation are among the attributes of the diamonds emotional characteristics. And those cannot be ignored today, so here they are carved in stone – forever.

Shine from within

The series “Shine from within” deals with the fascination about the shining fire of a diamond. Because of its historical and cultural charge from the Middle Ages, this gemstone stands for an accumulation of light in form of sparkle, rays, fire and divine embodiement, which shines from within outwards.

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