SHOW AND TELL
March 19-26 / Basel, Switzerland Figures: 1,500 brands; 150,000 attendees from over 100 countries
Leading trends from Baselworld 2015, Paris Couture week, Couture Vegas, Masterpiece London and Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair pave the way for 2016
The Baselworld fair took Switzerland by storm and the impressions from one of the world’s most prestigious jewellery, watch and gemstone exhibitions were nothing short of dazzling. With an early spring, the ancient city of Basel welcomes the most prestigious companies of the global jewellery business. Taking place annually, exhibitors occupy more than 100,000sq-m of floor space with the sole objective of amazing and amusing even the most blasé jewellery-loving audience.
Blue coloured stones seemed to be the order of the day and one of the most-talked about were neon-blue Paraïba tourmalines. Stunning examples included an exceptional ring set with a 41.57-ct Paraïba tourmaline from Chopard and two remarkable examples from Paul Wild: A 16.11-ct trilliant-cut and 9.38-ct cabochon-cut Paraïba tourmaline. Another blue gemstone that had the halls buzzing was the tanzanite, whose value has been soaring because of dwindling supplies. There were some spectacular finds of blue-blue tanzanites that are rarer from the traditional blue-violet variety. Magnificent tumbled tanzanites were seen at both Jewellery Theatre and Mikimoto, ranging from 16ct to about 40ct. Of course, gemstone dealer Paul Wild was rightfully proud of his over 700-ct almost sapphire-blue faceted tanzanite that got snapped up in a jiffy.
Classic sapphires suites were seen at Graff Diamonds and Bayco, who had a necklace featuring the 55-ct non-treated royal blue Burma Majestic sapphire that shone with exceptional quality. At de Grisogono, a triple-row torso-creation with circular side-decorations of pavé-set emeralds and diamonds and several hundreds of carats of sky-blue turquoise were displayed for the lucky few admitted in to its guarded sanctuary. Elsewhere, light blue aquamarines and topazes scattered across creations from many brands to complete the blue palette.
Baselworld took flight in such a way that even Harry Winston, Chanel, Breguet and Faberge could not keep their watches away from the influence of various winged creatures. But it was in the fascinating universe of jewellery that the trend for peacocks, butterflies, dragonflies and feathers unfolded in the biggest way, and that held true for both haute joaillerie and fine jewellery alike.
The colours and “eyes” of the majestic peacock’s tail are far too gorgeous for jewellery designers to stay away from. Likewise, peacock-coloured Tahitian cultured pearls with a gorgeous green body-colour and green, blue and magenta overtones are always a delight. Chopard and Carrera y Carrera both gave their unique take on the genre — Chopard with the “Peacock” earrings from the Animal World anniversary collection that featured emeralds beads, Paraïba tourmalines, cabochon-cut sapphires and tsavorites; and Carrera y Carrera with a necklace set with a
green tourmaline, iolites, sapphires, tsavorites and diamonds. Mikimoto interpreted a bejewelled plumage in the unique Feather necklace, with five rows of lustrous Akoya and white South Sea cultured pearls accented by the beautiful hand-crafted motifs.
Boucheron issued an orange sapphire version of the classic Hera ring (previously done in a black-and-white version and in blue-and-white) while Jacob & Co. presented the Jacob’s Plume fine jewellery collection, which plays upon the historical trend and cultural significance of wearing feathers as a form of adornment. Meanwhile, Roberto Coin, who is known for his exquisite pavé-setting work, showed his take on the trend with the fully sculpted Falcon and Parrot rings.
Large necklaces were amongst the most popular jewellery categories, preferably covering most of the torso as seen at Chopard, de Grisogono, Mikimoto and Jacob & Co. Multifunctional and convertible creations are a direct offshoot of the large necklaces and an absolute must according to the exhibitors at the Swiss fair. Autore blazed the way with the Curly Pink necklace, which could be taken apart into several smaller pieces (brooches and pendants) and worn in at least five different ways. Mikimoto also deserves a rightful mention here, as does the large ruby necklace with detachable diamond motif from Garrard. Finally, Jacob & Co. went all-in in the torso jewellery category with a golden diamond-set net creation.
Oriental-inspired hand-jewellery (also known as bracelet-rings, hand-bands and bringlets) made a great visual impression; from the slender golden chains set with evileye motifs at Aaron Basha, to Jacob & Co.’s moon-and-star motif, to Yoko London’s pearls and Damiani’s diamond-set versions of the trend.
Falcon ring in 18k rose gold, diamonds and onyx from Roberto Coin
From left: Grappoli watch in white gold set with paraiba tourmalines, briolette-cut apatites and white diamonds, featuring a snow-set dial and white galuchat strap from de Grisogono; the side profile of a 41.57-ct oval paraiba tourmaline and diamonds ring from Chopard
Peacock earrings in 18k white gold and titanium earrings, set with emerald beads, sapphires, diamonds, tsavorites, multicolour sapphires, cabochon cut amethysts and Paraïba tourmalines from Chopard