#FirstClassFriday: Our top five favourites in High Jewellery

#FirstClassFriday: Our top five favourites in High Jewellery

Haute Joaillerie 2016

Text: Brent Taalur Ramsey

Chanel, Boucheron, Dior, Piaget and Hermès all revealed a new standard in high jewellery this year, during Haute Couture Week fall 2016 in Paris

The worlds of haute couture and high jewellery have intersected on the cobblestones of Place Vendôme, where during the recent Paris Couture Week fall 2016, the likes of Chanel, Dior and Boucheron offered an escape into the luxurious world of France's finest craftsmanship and the most stunning jewels.

This year, while others were gathered at the shows, we browsed and explored the latest masterpieces in haute joaillerie for the chance to discover one particularly unforgettable statement piece. Whether celebrating Gabrielle Chanel's personal fondness for wheat, or commemorating Boucheron's long-standing legacy at 26 Vendôme, each of our favourites is a unique ornament of elegance and showcases an unparalleled attention on luxury and the art of gem-setting.

The collection: Paying tribute to the lasting memories of Mademoiselle Coco, the latest volume in Chanel's fine jewellery enchants with a subtle beauty and conveys the story of golden wheat, a sort of lucky charm for the iconic designer. Raised to love the ember hues of wheat by her father, Gabrielle would later decorate her apartment at rue Cambon with several variations of the plant — one noteworthy addition being the painting by her good friend Salvador Dali. It was with this same passion the artisans at Chanel pieced together a collection so unique that it charted the life of a stalk of wheat and sculpted each masterpiece with an impressive amount of differently cut stones in an array of carefully selected hues.

Our favourite:
The "Moisson de Perles" necklace. This undeniable modern masterpiece balances an abundance of each of the late designer's two favourite looks — wheat and pearls. Set in 18K white gold, 13 pear-cut diamonds and 474 brilliant-cut diamonds adorn a clever off-centred wheat motif, neatly settled on a necklace that boasts an exuberant assortment of 297 Japanese cultured pearls and one certainly centrepiece-worthy Indonesian cultured pearl.
The collection: Maison Boucheron discovered style in a place of heritage with its latest collection of fine jewellery; and this time it's really all in the name: 26 Vendôme. Named after their prestigious address, this collection captures the maison's inimitable heritage for creativity and inspiration, not to mention their knack for surprising the industry again and again with their many production secrets. The name Boucheron is today as timeless as the square itself, and they seem to be really the only appropriate choice to pay homage to a location as equally known for its splendid luxuries.

Our favourite: Segmented into three parts ­— Nature Triomphante, Architecture Inspirée and Porté Couture — the collection boasts an assortment of pieces celebrating the Place Vendôme, whether literally in the form of engraved gems or conceptually in the paved manner in which the house sets its stones. It was in the "Nature Triomphante" section that we found our favourite, the "Plume de Paon" necklace. In a reinterpretation of the question mark design from 1889, the iconic Boucheron peacock sparkles with a centrepiece rose-cut diamond and 808 diamonds set in white gold.
The collection: The latest collection by Dior's fine jewellery artistic director Victoire de Castellane, "Dior à Versailles" explores the magic found within the hallowed halls of the famous château. Celebrating architectural lines and details, this collection takes its starting point from the crystal tassels of a chandelier, before moving into the Hall of Mirrors and the royal apartments to translate the vast array of plumage and Rococo-style furniture into exquisite rings and asymmetric beauties.

Our favourite: While Dior delivered several superb statement necklaces within the collection, including the "Chambre du Roi" and the "Galerie des Glaces," we can't help but fall deeply in love with the maison's elaborate rings, most notably the "Appartements de Mesdames Alcove" ring. A covetable confection in yellow gold, scorched silver, white and pink gold, and a plethora of diamonds, all making an impressive backdrop to the centrepiece sapphire.
The collection: With its latest 150-piece high jewellery collection titled "Sunny Side of Life," Maison Piaget evokes the quintessential late summer afternoon, complete with a vibrant array of coloured stones in pink, blue, yellow and green. Fit for an evening soirée, this collection offers a sunnier disposition on the worlds of fine jewellery and watchmaking with a magical collaboration between gem-setting, artisanal craftsmanship and feather marquetry.

Our favourite: The result of a special collaboration with feather artist and master artisan Nelly Saunier, Piaget's three cuff bracelets (the "Life is a Party" cuff and two others decked in exotic plumage) stood out amongst a sea of gems as a testimonial to a majestic beauty found only in nature. And, aren't they gorg?
The collection: Above its flagship store on Rue Saint-Honoré, Hermès presented its latest collection of high jewellery created by Pierre Hardy, a continuation of the very spirit he has longed to foster as creative director of jewellery for the past fifteen years. Freedom of lines and proportions were a definite motif this time around, with gold and silver creations boasting bold curvature and impeccable gem curating. This collection certainly speaks to the new classics in haute joaillerie.

Our favourite: The "Ombres et Lumière" necklace. Imagine a rose-gold breastplate with a gradient scale of grey Tahitian pearls to white Akoya and South Sea pearls. Now, top that off with 21.51 carats of diamonds in an elegant hourglass silhouette, and you'll have this special, one-of-a-kind beauty. In fact, this particular piece is so radiant they had to put it in its name: Lumière.