Ex­treme Sparkle

COLOUR­FUL RARE STONES HEAD­LINE PI­AGET’S AN­NIVER­SARY COL­LEC­TION AT THE BI­EN­NALE DES AN­TI­QUAIRES IN PARIS, WRITES Em­i­lie Yabut-ra­zon

Hong Kong Tatler - - Jewellery -

The 1960s and ’ 70s were a time of change. From New York to Paris, London to Rome, roy­alty, movie stars and artists be­gan mix­ing as stric­tures de­fined by so­ci­ety dis­solved. There were new looks in fash­ion, de­sign, art and ar­chi­tec­ture, all of which brought a unique cre­ative en­ergy to the house of Pi­aget. It was in this era that Yves Pi­aget, a fourth-gen­er­a­tion de­scen­dant of the Swiss watch­maker, joined the company and Pi­aget’s prod­uct range ex­panded from time­pieces to jew­ellery. Yves’ ideas would have a pro­found in­flu­ence on cre­ation, from de­sign to ma­te­ri­als and colours.

“We de­cided that as this year is Pi­aget’s 140th an­niver­sary, it was a good op­por­tu­nity to talk about our past as a source of in­spi­ra­tion,” says Jean-bernard Forot, Pi­aget’s di­rec­tor of jew­ellery mar­ket­ing. “The idea was not to copy the pieces of the past but to use their en­ergy, style and dec­o­ra­tive de­tails and make new and con­tem­po­rary de­signs.”

The 125-piece col­lec­tion, called Ex­tremely Pi­aget, was first shown at the 27th Bi­en­nale des An­ti­quaires in Paris in Septem­ber. Pi­aget’s brand am­bas­sador, ac­tress Gong Li, was given an ex­clu­sive tour of the booth by the brand’s CEO, Philippe Léopold-met­zger. Li also at­tended the bi­en­nale’s gala din­ner wear­ing pieces from the range, which is di­vided into two groups.

The first line is called Ex­tremely Colour­ful and fea­tures the use of vi­brant stones such as turquoise, lapis lazuli, jade and onyx. Th­ese are not only used on the hard stone di­als of watches, but also as fo­cal pieces for high jew­ellery cre­ations, such as a pair of ear­rings in 18K white gold set with two cush­ion-cut black opals and 300 di­a­monds, sap­phires and emer­alds form­ing a geo­met­ric drop pat­tern. This se­ries also high­lights the brand’s strength as a gold­smith, par­tic­u­larly in the cre­ation of chains and ca­bles as well as ham­mered and etched gold pieces.

Ac­cord­ing to Forot, one of the most dif­fi­cult pieces to make was a neck­lace in pink gold set with mar­quise-cut di­a­monds and turquoise. “It re­quired ex­treme pre­ci­sion in terms of etch­ing, mount­ing and ham­mer­ing gold, as the piece was very thin, much like a rib­bon, and it had to fit com­fort­ably on the neck yet re­main flex­i­ble. To do such a piece re­quires so­phis­ti­cated tech­niques and a very high level of man­u­fac­ture.”

The sec­ond line, called Ex­tremely Sparkling, showcases the brand’s know-how in cut­ting and set­ting pre­cious gem­stones. A neck­lace with mar­quise di­a­monds fram­ing two mag­nif­i­cent emer­alds of more than 20 carats each is one of the stars of the col­lec­tion, not only for the de­sign and work­man­ship, but also be­cause it took more than six months for the Pi­aget team to find su­gar­loaf and cabo­chon emer­alds of the same colour. Also among the high­lights are a sau­toir shaped like a Peter Pan col­lar with 528 di­a­monds in mar­quise, bril­liant, pear and cush­ion cuts, and a neck­lace with 84 blue

sap­phire beads, di­a­monds and a 19.39-carat emer­ald. “In this range, we show ways of wear­ing the jew­ellery that is a bit more out­stand­ing and dar­ing, such as an ear cuff, a col­lar or a golden neck­tie sau­toir with a watch,” says Forot.

The col­lec­tion, which took 18 months to com­plete, also of­fers sev­eral time­pieces, in­clud­ing se­cret cuff watches with large, hand-en­graved sap­phire, amethyst and emer­ald ovals as the cover, and mod­els in­spired by the 1965 Pi­aget watch that Jac­que­line Kennedy Onas­sis owned, where a hard stone is placed over an oval dial set with pre­cious stones on the bezel. The watches fea­ture jade, turquoise or lapis lazuli di­als. Bracelets come in sup­ple gold mesh adorned with the “palace” decor, which makes the outer part of the bracelet look like an irides­cent rib­bon, while the inside re­veals hun­dreds of links pre­cisely in­ter­wo­ven to give the bracelet flex­i­bil­ity and soft­ness.

“For us, it was im­por­tant to come back to the roots of Pi­aget and find ways to be dar­ing but re­main el­e­gant,” says Forot. “Ev­ery col­lec­tion has a story, and this one is very much fo­cused on the his­tory of the mai­son, but echo­ing the same essence of har­mony, pres­tige and play­ful­ness that has al­ways been part of our col­lec­tions.”

BLING IT ON A model dis­plays a white gold neck­lace set with more than 60 carats of di­a­monds and a white gold ring set with more than 10 carats of di­a­monds

CRYS­TAL RAIN Pi­aget’s booth at the Grand Palais in Paris; a mag­nif­i­cent col­lar neck­lace set with mar­quise-cut di­a­monds

CRAFT HAPPY Pi­aget showcases its ex­per­tise in gold ham­mer­ing and grain crimp­ing in this cuff watch

GOR­GEOUS GEMS From top: Di­a­mond sau­toir watch; white gold ear­rings with black opal, sap­phires and emer­alds; plat­inum ring set with 17.48-carat emer­ald

STAR POWER Pi­aget’s brand am­bas­sador, ac­tress Gong Li, at­tended the open­ing gala and took a tour of the booth

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