Feast your eyes on this season's best high jewellery pieces
Every season during Paris Couture Week, the world's top jewellers gather around the iconic Place Vendôme to showcase their latest feats of haute joaillerie. But even more legendary than the names are the collections. Known to be larger and more spectacular than the ones presented in January, they certainly didn't disappoint this time around.
Whether you're exploring Chaumet's festive side or on a jaunt to the sea with Chanel's maritime baubles, these new collections combined inimitable craftsmanship with stunning precious stones in what may be the year's most creative and memorable works of jewel crafting.
Chanel: Flying Cloud
Deeply romantic and almost dreamily maritime, this collection recalls the days Gabrielle Chanel spent on the sea with the Duke of Westminster, a man who had great influence on the designer as she built her now-iconic label. While his Scottish estate helped form her fascination with tweed, he would eventually fuel her undying love for anything seafaring, and this high jewellery collection celebrates that love for the south of France with a slew of bejewelled Breton stripes, knots, and anchors, as well as several sailor uniform details, including buttons and braids.
Alongside these and Chanel's oh-so-classic pearls, appeared camellia motifs for a timelessly memorable (and unmistakably Coco) touch.
The standout piece of the collection offered a more refined approach, however. Dubbed the "Turquoise Waters," this white gold necklace suspended an effortless cascade of blue sapphires that surrounded a centrepiece pear-cut diamond — light, graceful and undeniably chic. Read more about the Chanel Flying Cloud here.
Chaumet: Chaumet Est Une Fête
Chaumet's latest high jewellery collection was all about the festive spirit, with a 41-piece parade along a three-part opera-inspired theme. Each segment (the Pastorale Anglaise, the Aria Passionata, and the Rhapsodie Transantlantique) flaunted festive brooches, necklaces and baubles beyond, all of which would be perfect for a theatrical gala.
That said, this collection's masterpiece was, without a doubt, the Rhapsodie Transantlantique necklace. This theme, inspired by New York City's epicentre of sophistication, the Metropolitan Opera, found itself reverberating within a starburst symphony of Umba garnets and white and champagne diamonds, while boasting five uniquely impressive stones: a cushion-cut morganite, an oval-cut chrysoberyl, an oval-cut Imperial topaz, an oval-cut pink tourmaline, a cushion-cut tanzanite; a true masterpiece if there ever were one.
Dior: Dior à Versailles, Côté Jardins
Inspired by the gardens at Versailles, Christian Dior's creative director of fine jewellery Victoire de Castellane delivered one of her most colourful collections to date, translating the latest high jewellery outing into a kaleidoscope of vibrant hues and dazzling gems. These nature-inspired confections featured sapphires and emeralds, as well as Paraiba-type tourmalines and iridescent opals, which we learned were the creative director's favourite stone at their "Dior et d'Opales" collection presentation in January.
Like the collection presented earlier, Castellane's creativity showed up in full, off-kilter force with pieces that were as distinctive and imaginative as they were grand feats of high craftsmanship. Our instant favourites were the countless mismatched earrings (perfect for pairing and contrasting), and the four diamant necklaces that were asymmetrically adorned with emerald leaves and multi-coloured blooms; each a quintessential springtime masterpiece.
Chopard: The Silk Road
Mixing the worlds of high fashion and high jewellery isn't a walk in the park, but Chopard's co-president Caroline Scheufele and Chinese couturier Guo Pei seemed to be up for the challenge with a full-fledged "jewellery wardrobe." With this collection, they beautifully reimagined the ancient Eurasian silk trade route as a vibrant line-up of colourful gems, clever craftsmanship and several references to Guo Pei's FW 2017 couture show.
Throughout the collection's range of carved jadeites, sapphires, and emeralds, it was nearly impossible to pinpoint which piece could actually be our final favourite, but eventually there was only one: a true show-stopping masterpiece decked with Paraiba tourmalines, diamonds and eleven pear-shaped emeralds that totalled a staggering 105 carats; this season was all about the green for Chopard, and we couldn't be more obsessed.
Harry Winston: Legacy
With Harry Winston, it's always about the stones and in like fashion, the new Legacy collection doesn't detract from this path. Remember the Winston Legacy? This is, without exaggeration, the world's most perfect pear-shaped diamond and it was acquired by Harry Winston in 2013 from Christie's. Now it has inspired a full high jewellery collection. Unrivalled in scale and unmatched in quality, this collection of 22 unique pieces took more than three years to realise.
Designed references came from the Winston Archives as well as the house's most beloved and iconic motifs, while ensuring that all the attention first goes to the stones. As expected of Harry Winston, each of the diamond centre stones are D-colour and internally flawless.
Louis Vuitton: Conquête
Conquête is French for conquest and this magnificent high jewellery collection is all about women empowerment for the self-assured, modern woman. Anchor design motifs include the much-loved Monogram flower as well as the letter V, and the pieces resonate with a contemporary vibe. Three dazzling necklaces take centre stage; the most impressive one is inspired by heraldic devices as it evokes a family crest or a coat of arms while giving pride of place to a stunning 37.07-carat imperial topaz. The other creations also showcase the beauty of large stones including a 54.3-carat tourmaline and a 16.82-carat mandarin garnet.
Graphical elements guide the designers in creating the structured forms, which feature other such stones so loved by the maison as Paraiba tourmalines, tsavorite garnets, opals, and of course diamonds.
Piaget: Sunlight Journey
You can't help but break into a smile after laying eyes on this collection because the pieces radiate such unbridled joy and exuberance. It draws inspiration from the scenic Amalfi Coast, a land born of the clash between fire, volcanoes, and the azure blue seas. Likewise, the collection is rich with bold colours and brimming with sparkle and shine, and the pieces are designed to follow you from day to night.
Cute secret rings and cascading necklaces lend an irresistible charm while timepieces proffer the maison's powerful métiers d'arts know-how like micro-mosaic and feather marquetry. Piaget's choice of stones here range from exceptional gems like emeralds, blue sapphires and yellow diamonds to bright, colourful ones like white and black opals, Paraiba tourmalines, lapis lazuli, and pretty pink spinels.
For last week's #FirstClassFriday, click here.