CARATS, CANNES AND CHOPARD
The jeweller’s latest Red Carpet Collection is a dazzling expansion of traditional haute joaillerie designs executed through high-fantasy colour combinations,
since 1998, chopard has manufactured the Palme d’or trophy for the Cannes Film Festival; in 2007, the company introduced the Red Carpet jewellery collection to mark the 60th anniversary of the festival. Intended to adorn stars for their red carpet appearances, and inspired by the beauty and sensuality of the actresses who walk the red carpet, the creations stem from the imagination of Chopard Co-president and Artistic Director, Caroline Scheufele.
This year, to mark the 69th edition of the glamorous festival, 69 haute joaillerie pieces were brought to life, thanks to the ancestral skills and cuttingedge techniques housed in Chopard’s manufacture in Geneva. These high jewellery creations were proudly displayed at the recent Cannes Film Festival, on actresses who build their looks around the precious creations.
The 2016 Red Carpet Collection represents the work of 70 designers, goldsmiths, gem-setters and polishers across five months; approximately 70,000 gemstones adorn the 69 pieces and each of the longest 150cm sautoirs are set with 4,000 precious stones. “This collection has a beauty and a level of detail as that seen in classic Chinese silk. New techniques have also left their imprint on the collection,” says Scheufele. What she refers to is the dyed titanium that was used in this year’s collection, designs enabled by 3D computer drawing programmes and a special cabochon-cut that was developed in-house.
Inspired by the Muslim-persian dynasty that ruled large parts of the Indian subcontinent and Afghanistan from the 1500s to 1800s, this new Moghul-inspired cut has been used in two jewellery sets, with each piece designed around an expertly cut cabochon-cut gemstone. The blue set comes adorned with tanzanites, sapphires, topazes and Paraíba tourmalines, while the version in red is set with rubellites, yellow sapphires and amethysts. Executed in-house, the cut brings about a new set of challenges for the jewellers: Cut it too steep and it affects the refraction of light in the stone; cut it too shallow and it loses its colour. The gemstone cutter walks a tightrope of precision and complication during the process to ensure it is done just right.
Evoking lacework that gently caresses
the skin, many of these designs could only be brought to life with the assistance of 3D computer software. This high-tech programme has been integral to the realisation of the Chinese silk inspiration behind the collection — as exemplified in the extravagant flower motif bracelet with a central element made of jade, set with pink and blue sapphires, facetted amethyst beads, and facetted and cabochon-cut Paraíba tourmalines.
Chopard’s ongoing experiments with titanium have been a learning process. Although the brand has used titanium in jewellery since 2011, this year marks the first time that titanium has been utilised chromatically, to support the colours of the gemstones. Titanium allows the jeweller to work with larger volumes, while ensuring that they can still be worn with comfort. Perhaps the most outstanding piece is a pair of earrings made of 18k white gold and titanium, set with 21.9ct of topazes, 17.1ct of sapphire cabochons, and orange and blue brilliant-cut sapphires. This signature piece epitomises the most important motif of the collection — that of an asymmetrical drop — but it would not have been feasible nor wearable without the use of titanium.
As a collection meant for visual impact, its focus is necklaces — the ultimate adornment — often matched with earrings. Comprising roughly two-thirds of the 69-piece Chopard Red Carpet Collection 2016, there are 24 unique necklaces and 19 pairs of earrings.
A noteworthy example is a necklace that demanded the longest time to produce: Part of the Green Carpet capsule collection, it is made of 18k fairmined gold set with 7.4ct of colourless marquise-cut diamonds sourced from a producer, who is a certified Responsible Jewellery Council member. As for the most opulent piece, that privilege belongs to a pair of earrings set with two cushionshaped, brilliant-cut diamonds (a total of 60.38ct), 52 pear-shaped diamonds (a total of 6.25ct), 776 diamonds (a total of 4.35ct), 40 marquise-cut diamonds (a total of 4.05ct) and two cushion-shaped
“This collection has a beauty and a level of detail as that seen in classic Chinese silk. New techniques have also left their imprint on the collection”
— Caroline Scheufele
diamonds (a total of 4.09ct).
Daring colour combinations is another trademark in this collection: Purple, pink, blue, green, neon-blue — translating into amethysts, pink sapphires and rubellites, blue sapphires, tanzanites and topazes, emeralds, tsavorites, nephrite and Paraíba tourmalines. Dashes of black, fire and white opals with a freestyle mix of beads, cabochons and facetted gemstones put the finishing touches on the creations, which impress with their wild abandon and freedom of spirit. “Colours are important to Chopard and we want to push the limits for what is possible with them,” adds Scheufele. “Jewellery today is not just matched to a woman’s outfit, but also to her intellect, her personality, her own colours, vibrations and her poetry.”
An appearance on the red carpet can be seen as a continuation of the glamour of Hollywood; sometimes even more glamourous than a film, because jewellery flatters all women. “Glamour occurs when talent is combined with expertise and beautiful jewellery. Two universes of dreams meet each other in our workshop in Geneva, when the actresses come to us to choose the jewellery that they will wear on the red carpet. That is why we say that film and jewellery, as two different art forms, merge at a higher level at Chopard. Uma Thurman chose her jewellery a month before the Film Festival opened, so she could find the right dress to match,” says Scheufele.
“Because that is how it is done,” she concludes.
FROM TOP: K WHITE AND YELLOW GOLD SET WITH A TOTAL OF . CT PEAR SHAPED FANCY YELLOW DIAMONDS, . CT PEAR SHAPED COLOURLESS DIAMONDS AND . CT COLOURLESS AND YELLOW BRILLIANT CUT DIAMONDS; FLOWER MOTIF BRACELET WITH A CENTRAL ELEMENT MADE OF JADE, SET WITH PINK AND BLUE SAPPHIRES, FACETTED AMETHYST BEADS, AND FACETTED AND CABOCHON CUT PARAÍBA TOURMALINES
Necklace in 18k white gold and titanium set with a 29.8-ct white opal, emerald beads (413ct), topazes (29ct), amethysts (5.9ct), rubies (4.4ct), paraíba tourmalines (4ct), rubellites (3.9ct), emeralds and sapphires