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Everything You Need to Know About Fall ’14′s Hautest Jewelry

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In the run-up to September’s Biennale des Antiquaires—arguably the most important event on the jewelry calendar—there is much muchness being showcased in and around the Place Vendôme. But while big may be beautiful and jaw-dropping, some of the season’s most compelling pieces, such as “floating” stones and unexpected 3-D effects, prove that less can still be more. Below, we tell you everything you need to know about the hautest of this season’s fine jewelry.

A Fine JewelA Fine Jewel: A champion of couture with parsimony, Emmanuel Aubry decided to “turn water to ice” by mounting a 47-carat rectangular cabochon atop a mirror in a white-gold cage setting called the Riva, in homage to the boat. By the time you read this, the one-of-a-kind Riva will have likely vaporized. (It happens to be the least bank-breaking bauble of the week.) Fortunately, Aubry has other aquas to freeze and plenty of other stones where “things are happening.”

BoucheronBoucheron: Japan, Russia, India, China, and Persia offered up a whirlwind world tour of inspirations, among them a Bolshoi-informed diamond necklace that can become a tiara: the Trésor de Perse necklace in diamonds, rock crystal, and two cabochon sapphires including one that once belonged to the shah of Iran and a 190-carat engraved emerald that belonged to a 17th-century maharajah. “It’s all about the majesty of the stones,” commented creative director Claire Choisne. “There’s no need for complexity. I try to stay as invisible as possible and keep it simple.”

BuccellatiBuccellati: Every two years, Buccellati focuses on a single object. This year, it’s Bracelets de Rêves. Forty unique variations on house signatures by Andrea Buccellati feature baroque flourishes set into a silky, textured background known as rigato, a proprietary technique, or gold honeycomb lace. The dazzling diamond-, sapphire-, and tsavorite-encrusted cuff was two years in the making. The house is also quietly turning out unexpected pieces, such as gold and diamond iPad and phone covers.

BulgariBulgari: Stones talk. Lucia Silvestri has spent her life listening to them for Bulgari, but even she can’t quite explain how she does it. That’s why she decided to whittle 4 carats off her favorite stone in the collection: a Burmese sapphire. The 58-carat cabochon anchors one of the nine creations in the Musa collection. Overall, candy-colored stones with irregular shapes and bezel settings take pride of place. (Silvestri affectionately calls one necklace “The Flintstone.”) High-jewelry serpentis mark the house’s 130th anniversary.

ChanelChanel: In a departure, Chanel tapped into the explosive creative freedom of café society and shook loose of strictly figurative codes. What camellias and stars remained got the abstract treatment, as graphic relief on the supple, 3-D Sunset necklace heavy with padparadscha sapphires and diamonds. Elsewhere, the house ventured into gold with red enamel on an openwork bracelet set with diamonds and yellow sapphires. Another showstopper: the Broadway bracelet set with 35 carats’ worth of baguette, brilliant, and square-cut diamonds.

Cindy ChaoCindy Chao: Cindy Chao dances on the line between jewelry and art objects. This year’s centerpiece was the much-talked about 10th anniversary Ballerina Butterfly, a collaboration with Sarah Jessica Parker that will be auctioned to benefit the New York City Ballet in October. Elsewhere, the designer continued her tribute to nature and the four seasons, which most recently included sculptural orchid earrings wrought in 3-D with large sapphires and diamonds on all sides of the piece.

DauphinDauphin: Charlotte de La Rochefoucauld is exploring a “blue period” with her nascent jewelry line. Her latest pieces include a boule ring based on her minimalist cuff, which are both done in black diamonds on palladium gold with a midnight blue cast that changes depending on the light. The cuff is also offered in black, gray, and white ombré diamonds and, come September, in rose gold, a special edition for Le Bon Marché. The designer has also spun out her Eiffel-esque design into a significant diamond-set signet ring.

DiorDior: Of the twenty-one one-of-a-kind pieces in Victoire de Castellane’s ArchiDior high-jewelry collection, all but four had been snapped up by the middle of Couture week. Among the pieces inspired by Christian Dior’s creations from 1947 to early 1950 were the surprising Corolle Soir in pigeon’s blood rubies and diamonds, and the Envol ring, which echoes the dress by reprising a button detail with a significant emerald. There was also a hint of what’s to come in the other twenty-three pieces now being readied for the Biennale, with Plissée Verticale, a ribbon of diamonds ending in pear-cut emeralds.

Louis VuittonLouis Vuitton: Acte V signals the house’s fifth high-jewelry collection, and that key numeral-slash-letter is the springboard for pieces based on Gaston-Louis Vuitton’s tricolor monogram, sketchbooks, and 1925 Milano vanity set. A necklace with a nearly 88-carat Australian black opal was the headline act. But the talking points for many editors were smaller entries, such as the Deco-informed Apotheosis cuff and the hexagonal ring boasting diamonds, chrysoprase, and a hint of the seventies.

Repossi Repossi: We’re hearing a lot about “floating” stones this season, but no one did it quite like Gaia Repossi. “Just the stone is enough,” the designer noted of the delicately futuristic collection she called “set on empty.” One major statement was the ring with four yellow diamonds and one white in various shapes and sizes. “It’s big, but it’s camouflage big,” the designer offered. Also big and less camouflage-able were two Bauhaus-inspired cuffs in pink gold “tulle” and diamonds.

RezaReza: Olivier Reza doesn’t “do” themes. Fair enough: He has more stones than anyone. For the first time in fifteen years, Reza will show at the Biennale with a mix of about forty new pieces as well as some archival favorites, such as a pair of significant seventies-era drop earrings with two sapphires that together weigh 100 carats (that’s not counting the diamonds, plus they’re not for sale). Among the new wares are the Tremblant ruby and diamond earrings, and contemporary takes on the “toi et moi” with two stones set at close remove.

WilfredoWilfredo Rosado:As an assistant to Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat back in the eighties, Wilfredo Rosado discovered a passion for art that has followed him everywhere since. For this softer, lighter-colored collection, the designer looked to the work of Cy Twombly, notably his Alhambra period, for gems layered in the spirit of Moroccan mosaics. Two other groups, Bakkheia and Rapture, render the artist’s zigzags and scribbles in great swoops of white and colored diamonds.

VenyxVenyx: Natural phenomena, stars, and green lights fascinate Eugenie Niarchos. With her second collection, Theiya—a name that nods to the Greek goddess of sight, light, and shiny things in general—the designer offered another take on nature’s beauty in lightning bolt bracelets, Venyx stars (one branch is longer than the others), and a constellation of diamonds on an ear cuff called Lady Australis. Twin dusk and dawn pendants called Theiya Lumia were set with diamonds and moonstone or labradorite and a tiny piece of the Gibeon meteorite in back.

Photo: Courtesy Photos