High jewellery celebrates art, fairy tales, nature and the joy of colour
fine jewellery is timeless, and every season brings with it a wave of one-of-akind treasures that push the boundaries of innovation and ingenuity. In the past, white diamonds used to dominate high jewellery, but now brightly coloured precious gemstones are taking the spotlight as leading jewellery houses celebrate art, diversity and colour in their latest offerings. A house where colour is now integral to the design of fine jewellery is London-based Graff Diamonds, which made news at Baselworld 2014 when it presented the Hallucination watch, priced at US$55 million. The timepiece was costly because it was encrusted with rare fancy-coloured diamonds that range from pink and blue to yellow and orange; founder and chairman Laurence Graff commented that Hallucination is “a celebration of the miracle of coloured diamonds”. Fast-forward to the present and Graff is now inspired by the abstract expressionism of contemporary art. Besides his passion for rare diamonds, Graff is also a prolific collector of revolutionary 20th-century works of art, so it’s no wonder that the highlight of the latest collection is a series of colourful, energetic jewellery that mirrors the freely scribbled paintings of American artist Cy Twombly. The collection features rivers of diamonds undulating across necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings – sometimes interspersed with rubies. With nearly 240 years of history under its belt, Chaumet has always looked globally for inspiration. The Parisian maison recently unveiled Trésors d’Afrique, the beautiful finale to the
If you love flashy pieces, you’ll be drooling over the Eggs necklace that sparkles with citrine, amethysts, rubellite, chalcedony and diamonds
jeweller’s three-part Mondes de Chaumet highjewellery range. Previous collections showcased Russian and Japanese influences, and this time it’s sub-Saharan Africa. It was the chance sighting of the work of Kenyan artist Evans Mbugua in a little-known gallery that gave birth to Trésors d’Afrique, which celebrates the continent’s landscape, fauna and traditions. The collection plays with colour, geometric patterns and materials, with exotic pieces ranging from ebony cuffs and a pink opal elephant brooch to beaded necklaces, bracelets and an earrings set featuring emeralds, sapphires and red spinels. Another house inspired by art is Roman jeweller Bulgari. Its brazen Wild Pop collection pays homage to the works of Andy Warhol and pop artists from the 1980s. More than 80 pieces celebrate the free spirit, empowerment and experimentation of that era. Colour – a recognisable motif of Bulgari’s style – takes centre stage in this stunning collection whose designs are built on the brand’s established signatures, as well as unusual and surprising combinations of bright gemstones. If you love flashy pieces, you’ll be drooling over the delightful Eggs necklace that sparkles with citrine, amethysts, rubellite, chalcedony and diamonds. Chanel began making its mark in high jewellery when Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel unveiled her first jewellery collection in the 1930s and today almost all the maison’s jewellery references the designer’s favourite things. The 2018 Coromandel high-jewellery collection, which features 59 pieces, is inspired by the screens in her apartment at 31 Rue Cambon and is divided into three themes – floral, animal and mineral. All about high design, the collection utilises niche techniques and materials, from lacquering and beading to mother-of-pearl marquetry, to distinguish the colour and materials used. Composed of platinum, yellow gold, diamonds and mother-of-pearl, the Horizon Lointain necklace, for instance, features motifs found on Chanel’s Coromandel screens. A master jeweller that never shies away from using provocative gemstones is the nearlegendary maison Cartier, whose unabashed use of multicoloured and exotic gemstones has become a trademark. Its latest 240-piece Coloratura collection explores the rich cultures of Asia and Africa through a palette of multicoloured hues. Coloratura, as its name suggests,
is all about colour. The Holika suite of jewels from this collection, for instance, pays tribute to the Hindu spring festival Holi, in which revellers drench each other with coloured paint. Holika pieces feature acid-bright tourmaline and chrysoberyl beads, threaded together like pearls and then mounted on to voluminous hoop earrings, bracelets and rings, crowned with juicy rubellites. Christian Dior believes that if imagination and supreme precision are applied, haute couture and jewels go hand in hand. Dior’s first high-jewellery collection was unveiled 20 years ago and the maison has been earning rave reviews for its artful and creative pieces ever since. Creative Director Victoire de Castellane has helmed the jewellery department since its inception and is known for her expressive use of spectacular coloured gemstones to create singular dazzling pieces. The latest collection, dubbed Dior, Dior, Dior, pays tribute to the fabrics used in couture clothing, especially lace. De Castellane’s roving imagination is interpreted through a rainbow of candy-coloured stones, strewn delightfully across an intricate lacework of gold, in necklaces, bracelets and rings, to form miniature petals or tendrils that creep through and around the hand-worked honeycomb setting. Drawing from archival styles, the Winston Cluster collection from Harry Winston features marquise pear-shape diamonds, combined with emeralds, rubies and sapphires, and set in platinum. The range was inspired by decorative Christmas wreaths after the founder, often referred to as “jeweller to the stars”, was mesmerised by the elegant shapes created by glistening snow on holly garlands. He then set out to create jewellery designs that were led by the shape of the gemstones rather than their metal settings, and this became a signature for the brand. Today, almost 75 years after the first designs were created, the Winston Cluster is still one of the brand’s most famous lines. This year’s collection features pendants and earrings with emeralds, rubies and sapphires, high-lighting these exceptional stones and show-casing Harry Winston’s timeless designs while honouring its place in Hollywood history.
Piaget’s Sunlight Escape collection, meanwhile, plays with the colourful spectrum of light to encapsulate the beauty of nature. The jewels here boast an abundance of creativity that gushes with blinding hues, exciting forms and marriages of materials. Among the extraordinary pieces are the Blazing Sky transformable necklace, strung on white opal beads and featuring a gorgeous pendant of spinels, rubies, spessartite garnets and pink sapphires that radiate to a wave of blue Paraiba tourmalines and diamonds. A detachable pear-shape Mozambique Paraiba tourmaline drips from its tip, making this necklace a head-turner. Details are what set brands apart from one another in the high-jewellery arena and in this respect, Piaget has earned its laurels as one of the finest. Turning poetic vision into priceless jewellery is Van Cleef & Arpels. The Parisian maison is known for its narration of the compelling storylines that lie behind its whimsical collections. Its latest Quatre Contes de Grimm collection is a romantic bejewelled interpretation of four fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm: The Twelve Dancing Princesses, The Golden Bird, The Three Feathers and Town Musicians of Bremen. With vibrant hues and gems of all shapes and sizes, each piece in the collection embodies the themes and storylines of a particular tale. Especially desirable is the Panache Mystérieux clip, set with round- and baguette-cut diamonds as well as blue, mauve and yellow sapphires, which utilises the maison’s trademarked Mystery Set technique to create an interplay of light between the stones. For those who intend on making grand entrances, jewellery from Chopard’s Red Carpet collection fits the bill perfectly. The Geneva-based jeweller, which is inextricably linked with the Cannes Film Festival, is known for its glamorous high-carat stones: each year, under the watchful eye of Co-President and Creative Director Caroline Scheufele, the house creates the festival’s Palme d’Or trophies and dominates the red-carpet jewellery. Unveiled each season at Cannes, the Red Carpet collection always astounds with its extraordinary designs and bright gems. An Oriental aura surrounds some of the larger jewels in the latest collection, including the Feather Necklace, a statement piece that’s inspired by the native costumes of the Mongolian plains. Sculpted in gold, it features a swirl of blue apatites, violet garnets and red jasper set in a feathered collar. A celebration of Tiffany & Co.’s influence on gems and rare stones can be found in Artistic Director Reed Krakoff’s first high-jewellery collection for the American house. His Paper Flowers collection was inspired by the idea of petals, cut from paper and delicately pinned together. It blooms with sapphires and tanzanite, a gemstone that Tiffany & Co. introduced to the world in 1968; and white and yellow diamonds for which the company is famous. The new collection runs the gamut from a bib necklace set with 68 carats of diamonds to openwork cocktail rings and pendants. The goal, says Krakoff, was to “recontextualise high jewellery in a more wearable, authentic way”.
This page: Ruby and diamond earrings by Graff Opposite page: A selection of pieces from Chaumet’s Trésors d’Afrique collection
Right: Chanel’s Horizon Lointain necklace, featuring motifs found on Coromandel screens in Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel’s Paris apartment Opposite: A colourful confection from Bulgari’s Wild Pop collection
Clockwise from bottom left: A showstopping piece from Cartier’s Coloratura collection; the Dentelle Velour ring from the Dior, Dior, Dior collection; Winston Cluster earrings by Harry Winston Opposite: The Blazing Sky necklace from Piaget’s Sunlight Escape collection
Left: Chopard’s colourful Red Carpet earrings Below: Reed Krakoff’s Paper Flowers bracelet for Tiffany & Co. Opposite: Van Cleef & Arpels brings fairy tales to life with Quatre Contes de Grimm