Elements of Surprise:
The Allure of CVC Stones
by Thomas Sweeney
Photographed by Hanna Tveite
When Charles de Viel Castel’s grandmother bequeathed him a loose diamond shortly before her passing, in 2013, he wasn’t entirely sure what to do with it at first. The French-born, New York-based venture capitalist, who had no background in jewelry design, brainstormed for a way to reimagine the diamond—a way that would honor the woman who had encouraged him to see the natural world beyond face value.
A year later, while strolling on a beach in France, de Viel Castel stumbled upon the humble pebble that gave him a fortuitous idea: he would find a way to set the diamond directly into the stone, thereby locking the heirloom in a protective cast of naturally polished rock. The stone recalled the ones he had collected as a child, a period when his grandmother encouraged his exploratory spirit. It also provided a simple (but no less beautiful) contrast to the intricate geometries of the diamond.
Back in New York, de Viel Castel was introduced to a team of artisans who managed to create a hole in the stone (without breaking it) not only for the diamond, but also for a gold bezel. And so, with the resulting piece, CVC Stones was born. By the spring of 2015, the line had grown from a single charm (which, of course, de Viel Castel kept for himself) to a complete range of pendants conceived in a similar vein: round diamonds meet unaltered beach stone, with the former arranged constellation-like to best complement the patterns of the latter. No two pieces were truly identical. Only their telltale, 18K-gold chain-link necklaces provided solid consistency.
Today, CVC Stones’ expanded range includes rings and attachable charms for those signature necklaces, which also appear in bracelet form. The diamonds are sourced from Belgium and the gold from Germany, while the beach pebbles roll in from everywhere in one-of-a-kind shades. The ethos of the line has remained consistent: underscoring the harmony that can exist between pristineness and rawness, between the jewels we value as adults and the “jewels” we beachcombed as children.
De Viel Castel’s design philosophy, birthed from a family heirloom, stands counter to an increasingly trend-driven consumer culture. His clients see value in the jewelry’s minimalist elements, as well as the elevated status of the beach stone—found on all corners of globe, as if to speak a universal language. Each piece, in its individual simplicity, has the time-immune traits of a treasured keepsake asking to be passed down, just like the raw diamond that started it all.
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Lighting Jon Ervin
Styling Vanessa Traina
Hair Takayoshi Tsukisawa
Makeup Kristi Matamoros at Frank Reps
Model Caroline Murphy