All That Glitters Is Gold—And Diamonds, Usually—At Paris’ Haute Joaillerie Day-------
Couture wrapped up in Paris this week, but before the buyers and editors bid adieu to the season, the jewelers got to have their say. At the annual haute joaillerie day, several of the largest houses showed their fine jewelry collections. Below, the brightest and most extravagant baubles from Chanel, Dior, Van Cleef & Arpels, and more.
After her lover Boy Capel’s death, Coco Chanel traveled to Venice for a change of scene. The trip to the great port city opened the door to a new love story—one with exotic cultures (and their jewelry), from Istanbul to Russia and points East. Chanel’s haute jewelers channeled the visit with a colorful array of rubies, emeralds, and pink sapphires worked into an articulated necklace for the Mosaique suite and the Persian cuff (pictured). The house’s signature Camellia takes a lacy turn with delicate arabesques in white gold, diamonds and pearls, a creation that required untold hours of painstaking laser design.
Chez Dior Joaillerie, the setting, too, is a gem. When Peter Marino refurbished the house’s hôtel particulier on the Place Vendome, he complemented the jewels by incorporating exceptional pieces of art from the LVMH collection, like a gray butterfly relief by Damian Hirst and one-off lamps by Véronique Rivemal. It made a fitting home for Dior’s Crystal Vendome watches, and new additions to the Coffret de Victoire collection, like the bejeweled poissons combattants—or as we’d call them in English, Siamese fighting fish (pictured).
Van Cleef & Arpels
The original Zip—the brainchild of the Duchess of Windsor, who sketched out an idea for a platinum and diamond necklace in 1938—took 12 years to create. But by the time it came out of the atelier in gold and diamonds in 1951, the Duchess had lost interest. No matter—the necklace passed through other famous hands, including those of Aristotle Onassis and the Empress of Iran. For the season, Van Cleef & Arpels reinterprets the theme (pictured), from a faithful diamond and gold bracelet rendition to necklaces set variously with diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, onyx, pearls, turquoise, lapis lazuli, chloromelanite, and chrysophrase.
Creatures both mythical and real join the signature Adam snake in the Boucheron bestiary, among them Pegasus, a dragon, gazelles, pandas, swans and a one-of-a-kind Aurelia Auriata jellyfish with a body in carved rose quartz. A scarab’s wings spread to reveal the hour on the diamond-encrusted Khepri bracelet watch, a yellow sapphire lion clutches a 7-carat gem as if it were prey (pictured), and in keeping with the graceful bird theme spotted here and there this season, ruby-eyed swan rings—one paved in diamonds, the other in black sapphires—pair off with wings spread.
Gripoix continues to build its comeback with statement pieces such as the marine-inspired Aqua cuff bracelet and a necklace made of pearly beads, a red poured glass flower and, in a move toward rock ‘n’ roll territory, a lashing of carbon chains (pictured). The house made its name by creating vrai-faux jewelry, notably for Chanel, and although no one’s talking, word has it that a fashion connection or two is in the works. Keep your eye on the runway this spring.
The house more frequently associated with precious Easter eggs has recently been reborn as a high jewelry house. The eggs are no longer part of the story, but the Belle Epoque, the work of Peter Carl Fabergé, and the grand balls in Saint Petersburg a century ago certainly are. This Mazurka bracelet (pictured) from the house’s second high jewelry collection, known as Le Carnet de Bal, counts 1,409 diamonds for a total weight of 30.58 carats and is set in white gold with a hidden clasp.