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Couture Jewelry’s Birds Of A Feather

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Couture week closed out in a blaze of multicolored carats that had editors scurrying from the Place Vendôme to Avenue Montaigne and back again. Not only does the new haute joaillerie day extend the ever-shrinking week by a day, it provided the big houses with a forum to preview their lavish creations for the 25th Biennale des Antiquaires, opening in Paris mid-September. This season, flora and fauna ran rampant.

Chanel dove into its archives and surfaced with a feather theme, anchored by the articulated brooch Diane Kruger wore in her hair at Cannes (pictured); it’s an exact replica of one created by Mlle. Chanel in 1932. An articulated cuff of pavé diamond feathers was trimmed in black diamonds and set with a hidden closure. The feathery wisps were echoed elsewhere, too, as with the Comet necklace, which drapes diamonds around the nape of the neck.

Boucheron took the feather theme literally for one of its unique suites, called Pretty Puff, in which multicolored diamonds were sprinkled over a puffball of white swan feathers. And since versatility is a coveted attribute in haute jewelry (necklace, with or without heavily jeweled brooch, for example), the house pushed the concept to the extreme with the Curlicue five-in-one concept that by turns could be a necklace, two bracelets, a diamond hair clip, or a brooch.

At Dior, a panorama of jewels spanned the classically beautiful—significant Les Précieuses engagement rings and the new Rose Dior Bagatelle rings covered with rubies or pink sapphires—to the more far-out, with one-of-a-kind items from Victoire de Castellane’s wild Coffret de Victoire. One cuff sets a pink tourmaline rabbit in a garden of fire-opal pumpkins; on another, a burnished silver monkey can be lifted from his bejeweled perch. Bollywood earrings, twined with serpents, hang over the ear, as they’re worn in India.

Van Cleef & Arpels drew inspiration from Jules Verne for its Les Voyages Extraordinaires collection, shown at a presentation staged by Argentinean theater director Alfredo Arias. The travels spanned oceans and terra firma. Over here, diamond-encrusted polar bears and penguins swanned on hefty tourmaline glaciers; there, an elephant head paved in gray and white diamonds, dangling a 41-carat topaz, stood in for the African leg of the jaunt. Several pieces were customizable: A whale brooch could spout a jet of diamonds, thanks to integrated springs—now you see it, now you don’t. And if, after all the creatures, you didn’t care for the menagerie, well, there were always the classical constellations—Calliope and Andromeda, re-created to scale.

Click here for a slideshow of haute joaillerie‘s key pieces.

Photo: Courtesy of Chanel

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