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August 28 2014

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To The Cosmos And Back At The Haute Joaillerie Collections

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Coco Chanel launched her house’s fine jewelry collection in 1932, holding an exposition de bijoux de diamants for two weeks in November on the Faubourg Saint-Honoré. (The diamond Franges necklace above was in the original collection.) “Reason prompted me, initially, to create faux jewelry because I find it free of arrogance in an era of facile luxury,” Chanel explained. “This consideration vanishes in a period of financial crisis, when there arises an instinctive desire for authenticity in all things, which brings amusing junk back to its rightful place.”

You don’t have to look far for amusing junk—or a financial crisis—in our own day and age. As part of Paris’ haute couture week, the fine jewelry houses, including Chanel, Dior, and Van Cleef & Arpels, offered some very authentic options to discerning buyers, in new collections referencing past glories. Style.com’s Tina Isaac reports.

Coco Chanel loved a good talisman, and she decked her private apartment with an array of lucky frogs, sheaves of wheat, and special-order double-Cs and 5s for her chandelier overhead. But she was especially proud of being a Leo. And so for the first time, a lion jewel is set to appear chez Chanel as part of 1932, an 80-piece collection marking 80 years since the house entered the world of high jewelry.

In the meantime, the house previewed a selection of jewels based on iconic Chanel symbols, including a new rendition of the Comète necklace in titanium, white gold, and 85 carats of diamonds, as well as shooting star rings, bracelets, and necklaces. Among the standouts: the stunning Céleste brooch, a rendering of the cosmos anchored by a 79-carat baroque gray pearl.

Dior Joaillerie will launch an iconic new jewelry line during the Paris collections to accompany a lush compendium published by Rizzoli, so consider this display an aperitif: Incroyables et Merveilleuse earrings rendered as pendants, a Rose Dior Bagatelle ring in rubies and diamonds, and rose quartz renditions of the Pré Catelan ring and necklace.

A favorite of Wallis and Jackie, Van Cleef & Arpels is a doyenne of the Place Vendôme—and it’s got a major retrospective in the works at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs set for September. By way of a prelude, the house displayed a handful of birds of various sizes and colors, dating from the 1920′s to the 1960′s, the forebears of the brightly plumed Birds of Paradise, 2012 vintage. More abstract now than in the past, the new jewelry collection is informed by sweeping arabesques on necklaces and a number of colorful between-the-finger rings, such as a Bird of Paradise circling a ruby. “Mismatched” earrings with different colored stones in each ear, and a cascading necklace of turquoise beads culminating in a gem-encrusted parrot swinging on his perch, rounded out the new collection.

CLICK HERE FOR A SLIDESHOW of some of the key looks from the current haute joaillerie collections, as well as key archival pieces that inspired the new lines.

Photo: Courtesy of Chanel

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