WONDERS OF THE WORLD
IT’S A RIOT OF COLOUR AS THESE HIGH JEWELLERY COLLECTIONS FIND BEAUTY IN THE EXUBERANCE OF MULTI-HUED GEMSTONES. KARISHMA TULSIDAS REPORTS ON THIS YEAR’S LAUNCHES
An exuberant burst of vivid hues colours this year’s high jewellery launches
The intense green hue of the emerald held a magnetic allure for Pierre Arpels, who would translate its mysterious beauty into suites of magnificent jewels for royal families around the world, including those from Iran, India and Egypt.
These storied legacies form the inspiration for Van Cleef & Arpels’ Émeraude en Majesté collection, which, as the name suggests, vaunts a wondrous cornucopia of green gems set in spellbinding jewels. Today, due to diminishing mines in the world, sizeable emeralds are getting harder to find; hence this elaborate collection featuring more than 1,400 carats of the stone is truly a feast for the eyes and the senses. Each gem, or “Pierre de Caractère”, as the maison calls it, was chosen for its colour, level of inclusions, brilliance and cut.
Outstanding emeralds from old mines make their appearance as well, notably in the Grand Opus set, which features 127.88 carats of Colombian emeralds. The necklace, shaped in the form of intertwining ribbons, culminates in two gadroon-shaped emeralds that evoke the royal outfits of maharajahs. There is also the Claudine necklace, an exercise in opulence and grandeur, that borrows its inspiration from 19thcentury French courts: here, nine emeralds from old Colombian mines weighing a total of 42.07 carats are surrounded by a garland of diamond motifs.
Bulgari takes an incisive perspective into its storied heritage and reimagines the icons that have come to define its identity. The Serpenti makes a bejewelled appearance in the Mediterranean Eden chapter, which is inspired by the intensity of hues and fluid forms found along Italian coastal regions. In the Serpenti Seduttori, a pair of pear-cut rubies mimic the hypnotising gaze of a snake, captivating the beholder with their intensity, and peeking out seductively from a head of diamonds crowned with a blue sapphire. This pendant studs a necklace stringed with diamonds, rubies and sapphires. The Fiore Allegro necklace resembles a bouquet of joyful blooms, resplendent with petals of aquamarines and rubellites. From the Roman Heritage line-up, the Parentesi makes a comeback from the 1970s, and is a feat of architectural greatness, influenced by the travertine stones that line the roads of the city.
No longer restricted to state dinners and black tie events, high jewellery is constructed with the modern woman in mind; it is not to be relinquished in the recesses of your vault, as it is versatile enough to be worn on a daily basis. Francesca Amfitheatrof, creative director for Tiffany & Co, understands this contemporary woman very well, and her second Blue Book collection for the American jeweller is replete with such wearable creations. The Art of Transformation expounds on the theme of the ocean that was introduced last year, and features motifs derived from nature: take, for instance, the starfish cuff (above) that is mischievous yet sensual. Three starfish, studded with green tsavorites, blue sapphires, and white diamonds, are huddled together to hug to the wrist. Then, there are the Smooth as Silk rows of necklaces (right) that have been ingeniously engineered to skim the curves of the neck, their platinum structure feeling like satin on the skin.
SUNNY SIDE UP
Life’s a breeze at Piaget, as its latest high jewellery collection, Sunny Side of Life, celebrates summer in all its splendid hues. The joyful season is represented by a plethora of brilliant stones, including yellow and white diamonds, neon-blue Paraiba tourmalines, Colombian and Zambian emeralds, pink sapphires, lapis lazuli and more. Eliciting the pleasures of lounging under the sun amidst a verdant landscape are precious green emeralds, which take centre stage in several pieces: a 12.06-carat pear-cut Colombian emerald glistens amidst a bouquet of marquise-cut diamonds, while a wreath of emeralds and diamonds nestles a dainty watch. Then, there is this pair of earrings that mimic the wings of a flamingo, cradling a 5.31-carat Madagascar pink sapphire.
Tradition and innovation might make for unlikely bedfellows, but it’s a marriage that works brilliantly for Chopard. For its 2016 Red Carpet collection, it has harnessed the use of titanium, which allows it to match the kaleidoscopic colours of the stones to the metal. The result is a powerful statement, whereby the multi-hued gems and the titanium seamlessly integrate into one another, making for a harmonious effect. There are no flashes of gold to interrupt the picture; moreover, titanium makes for a hypoallergenic and lightweight alternative to conventional metals. Injecting further zest into the collection is a host of prismatic opals that steal the limelight in a range of floral-themed rings (pictured here).
A visit to Gabrielle Chanel’s apartment above her boutique at Rue Cambon, Paris, is like stepping into the book of her life: it reveals the motifs and symbols she held dear, like bucolic wheat. It reminded her of her humble beginnings, and is a symbol of renewal and hope. Les Blés de Chanel draws on this emblem of abundance for a collection of 62 pieces that encapsulate the different stages of the wheat harvest, from the budding of the new green seedlings to the harvesting in August. In Brin de Printemps, green tourmalines and aquamarines represent the nascent buds. Hues of yellow represented by sapphires and diamonds echo the golden period of flowering, like the Moisson d’or, a joyful string of yellow sapphires accentuated by a bouquet of diamond- and sapphire-studded wheat.
TREASURES OF THE SEA
There are pearls, and then there are Golden South Sea pearls, an ultra rare type that boasts a gilded lustre, and only comes from golden-lipped oysters found around the Philippines and Indonesia. Given that they typically come in light champagne hues, finding one in an intense golden colour is not very easy—now, imagine finding 17 of these, all with the same brilliance and tone, and of similar sizes. The result is this outstanding Mikimoto high jewellery necklace (right) that comes wrapped up in a bow of diamonds. Adding a dose of sweetness to this choker of Akoya pearls (far right) are accents of pink sapphires that punctuate each link. The gradient of the sapphires darkens as one nears the crux of the necklace, which then culminates in a centre pink sapphire weighing 9.91 carats.
CENTRE OF ATTRACTION
At Louis Vuitton, its signature monogram flower unfurls its petals in a flurry of precious gemstones and metals, marking a new milestone in the maison’s high jewellery aspirations. Blossom is a blend of femininity and architecture, as the romantic foliage is counterbalanced by vivid colours, touches of onyx and sharp lines that delineate the letter V, a signature of the maison. A burst of impressive coloured stones, including mandarin garnets, tsavorites and iridescent black opals, make for evocative and emotional accents, anchoring each piece with dramatic statement. This pair of chandelier earrings (far left) is especially intriguing, as it features the French house’s monogram flower that diminishes in size and climaxes in a pear-shaped spinel. Each flower is crafted of shimmering white opal and surrounded by diamonds.
TRIBUTE TO THE PAST
Claire Choisne, creative director for Boucheron, returns to the very roots of the maison to seek stimulation, and finds a spark at its abode in Place Vendôme, home to the world’s most luxurious jewellery houses. Within the 26 Vendôme story, various chapters detailing the brand’s legacy and design codes appear in the form of statement-making suites of necklaces, rings, earrings and more. Taking its cue from the art deco elements that abound at the Boucheron residence in Paris, the Damier Cabochon necklace is a play of geometric shapes and monochromatic colours, like baguette- and brilliant-cut diamonds and onyx. The Passementerie line-up is a canvas for a spellbinding array of coloured stones. The highlights include rings where a black opal and a Ceylon star sapphire are the stars, as well as a necklace with tourmalines, rubellites, spessartite garnets, diamonds and multi-coloured sapphires embedded within rock crystal.
For the maison of Dior, Château de Versailles holds special memories: Mr Dior’s inaugural collection was photographed there, while the first collection by Dior Joaillerie’s artistic director Victoire de Castellane was inspired by this stately palace. Her chimerical imagination is once again enraptured by this château, this time by the decorative elements that evoke the grandeur of the glorious era of French monarchy. There is a strong Rococo influence in the space, and its ornate, curvaceous form makes its way in the Dior à Versailles collection. Intricate, elaborate motifs that spell the curves of S and C—prevalent during the Rococo period—are modernised with brilliant- and baguette-cut diamonds, multi-coloured gemstones, and a combination of different metals including gold and oxidised silver. Bows make a recurrent appearance as well: not only were they the motif of choice for the royal family, but they also harken to the maison’s haute couture origins.
NATURE AT FULL BLOOM
Themed La Nature de Chaumet, the French maison’s high jewellery line-up pays tribute to the flora and fauna generally associated with monarchy and Greek gods. It might sound lofty, but who better to embody this emblematic extravagance than this famed royal jeweller. Within the collection, we find motifs like the lily (flower of innocence and emblem of kings), the laurel (sign of victory and an ode to the god of music, Apollo) and the oak (an insignia of Zeus and a sign of strength), that are elaborately captured in a menagerie of precious gems and metals. A whimsical combination of pearls, diamonds and sapphires is strung together to resemble the undulating roots of an oak, while the Firmament Apollinien set is reminiscent of Julius Caesar’s laurel.