From the majestic Lion of Chanel, the secret rooms of Dior in Versailles and a snowy Russian interpretation by Chaumet to the fascinating stones of Chopard, Parisian haute joallerie celebrates and glorifies the magnificence of Nature.
Coco is the lion. Born on the 19th of August 1883 under the fifth sign of the Zodiac (19 and 5 are Chanel’s lucky numbers) and under the constellation of the Lion, Gabrielle Chanel was always fascinated by the king of the animals. To be a lion means to have a strong, instinctive and audacious personality and as Mademoiselle declared once “I’m a Leo and like him I show my claws to protect myself but believe me, I suffer more by clawing than by being clawed”.
The lion has always been in Gabrielle’s life. In fact, she used to have a gilded bronze statue of him in her apartment in 31 Rue Cambon in Paris and many reproductions of the lion near her cigarettes or scissors. She represented the lion by engraving it in the buttons of her tailleurs and after her, Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel’s cruise 2009 staged at the Lido of Venice paid tribute to Mademoiselle, Venice and San Marco square with its big lion sculpture in it, the fall/winter Haute Couture 2010/11 collection featured a 18m high lion that clutched a high iridescent pearl under his front paw and in 2013 Chanel’s high jewellery team created a high jewellery collection devoted to the lion.
Today, in 2018, Chanel presents “L’Esprit du Lion” Haute Joallerie collection, a very spiritual collection devoted to Gabrielle’s spiritual animal. The collection is composed of 53 high jewellery pieces inspired by the lion and its representations found in Gabrielle Chanel’s apartment: the most intimate place for Mademoiselle.
Yellow or white gold, diamonds, pearls, sapphires, beryls and imperial topazes are the materials used for this high jewellery collection that fascinates for its majestic solidity and fluidity. All the pieces are divided and named for the lion’s main characteristics as a spiritual animal: intuitive, eternal, dazzling, passionate, timeless, protective, legendary, commanding and infinite.
A gold chain bracelet encrusted with 117 brilliant cut diamonds (Bracelet Intuitive), a transformable necklace in 18 carat yellow gold set with an octagon-cut orange topaz of 29,65 carats with a one round-cut diamond under the lion’s paw and with a 82 fancy-cut multi-colour sapphire cascade, all decorated with 942 brilliant-cut diamonds ( Collier Passionate), an astonishing and opulent necklace in 18 carat yellow gold set with 32 oval-cut yellow beryls for a total weight of 111,18 carats and 454 brilliant-cut diamonds (Collier Dazzling) or a secret watch in 18 carat white gold, set with one yellow carved-cut beryl of 37.41 carats and 541 brilliant-cut diamonds (Montre Eternelles) are part of this huge high jewellery collection.
The most precious piece of all is the Legendary Collier, a one of a kind transformable necklace in 18 carat white and yellow gold, set with more than 1200 diamonds and one cushion-cut fancy intense yellow diamond of 30,19 carats. Here the strength and charisma of the lion is shown in all its beauty, because the lion is the spirit of Chanel.
Place Vendôme jewellery house Chaumet has named its high jewellery collection Les Mondes de Chaumet. This one, presented this January in Paris during Haute Couture week, is the first stop in this journey around Chaumet’s world, a journey that will have two more stops which we will discover in June and July. So, the entire collection will be divided into three different moments.
This first part of the collection is called “Promenades Imperiales” and it’s a tribute to Imperial Russia, Siberia, the snow and the sky of the immense steppe. To make this possible, Chaumet used white pure diamonds, blue Ceylon sapphires and Paparadscha sapphires from Ceylon or Madagascar. The skilful hands of Chaumet’s artisans recreated, with an invisible setting, lace-like motifs that recall snowflakes and traditional Russian decorations. The reason why they used only these two precious stones is that the Ceylon sapphire recalled the vast beauty of the Siberian horizon, while the Paparadscha sapphires were reminiscent of the infinite and bright colours of the skies.
The most precious piece of the collection is a transformable necklace in white and pink gold, set with a pear-shaped “sunset colour” Padparadscha sapphire weighing 16.31 carats from Ceylon, a cabochon-cut Padparadscha sapphire weighing 9.03 carats from Ceylon, an oval-cut D VVS1 diamond weighing 1.13 carats, a brilliant-cut D VVS2 diamond weighing 0.45 carats, and marquise and brilliant-cut diamonds.
Exquisite and perfect to wear on a suit are two brooches in white gold, set with a cushion-cut sapphire (2.45 carats) from Ceylon or a Madagascar paparadscha weighing 1.92 carats, a brilliant-cut diamond DVVS2 (for the sapphire brooch) or EVVS2 diamond (for the paparadscha brooch) weighing respectively, 0.70 carats, and marquise and brilliant-cut diamonds. Elegant and perfect for daily use is a bracelet in white and pink gold, set with an oval-cut Padparadscha sapphire from Ceylon weighing 7.07 carats, marquise-cut and brilliant-cut diamonds.
Swiss high jewellery house Chopard devotes its latest Haute Joallerie collection to the beauty of stones and the preciousness of high jewellery, entitling it “Precious Chopard”. Diamond lacework mixed with precious coloured stones like rubies, tanzanite, sapphires and emeralds are key for this collection that draws inspiration from the quintessence of classic jewellery. Traditional craftsmanship, opulent designs, the sense of light and of motion give all of the pieces an impression of bold and feminine elegance, Caroline Scheufele’s creative signature.
Here the true protagonists are the stones that are highlighted by the gold patterns and the gem setting which reveals an architectural inspiration that marks a subtle line between the world of Haute Couture and that of High Jewellery.
A one of a kind transformable 18-carat white gold necklace set with a pear-cut emerald (18.7 carats) and six other pear-cut emeralds totalling 30.9 carats, set with pear-cut diamonds (73.5 carats), marquise-cut diamonds (29.9 carats) and brilliant-cut diamonds (12.5 carats), a 18-carat white gold ring set with a 7-carat pear-cut emerald and pear-cut diamonds, marquise-cut diamonds and brilliant-cut diamonds, a 18-carat white gold necklace set with heart-cut rubies (59 carats) and pear-cut diamonds (39.6 carats), brilliant-cut diamonds (15.6 carats) and marquise-cut diamonds (10.8 carats) or a 18-carat white gold watch set entirely with pear-cut sapphires (84.8 carats) and brilliant-cut sapphires (8.6 carats) and brilliant-cut diamonds (10 carats) and pear-cut diamonds (2 carats) powered by an automatic movement or a 18-carat white gold necklace set with emerald-cut sapphires (31.6 carats) and brilliant-cut diamonds (17.6 carats) and pear-cut diamonds (11.2 carats), are just some of the pieces of this collection that stuns for its dazzling spirit.
Versailles, act III. After Versailles by Night in 2016 and Versailles gardens, Victoire de Castellane, Dior’s jewellery creative director, invites us to discover an unseen Versailles: Versailles pieces secrètes (Versailles’ secret places).
Secret passages, hidden boudoirs, rooms and corridors, Versailles’ secret places brings us into the palaces “behind the scenes” world in which France’s secrets were kept alive.
The entire collection is characterised by its mechanical jewels that open up or hide small secrets. “I wanted to use chiaroscuro stones in shades of faded rose, reds on verging on purple, iridescent moonstones and more intense sky blues” explained Castellaine and added “the colours themselves seem a little mysterious – like antique silks”.
Dior uses unusual central stones and playful and varied opening systems that hide symbols and pay tribute to jewellery as love tokens and secret charms. Cocktail rings, necklaces and bracelets are part of this collection in which the most precious piece is the “Vanité Emeraude” necklace in yellow gold, white gold, diamonds, an astonishing emerald and colour change garnets while rose-gold, yellow-gold, rubellite and diamonds are used for the Cachette cocktail ring and rose-gold, diamonds and green beryl adorn the Volupte ring.
What emerges from Victoire de Castellaine’s work, is that she is able to encapsulate in the jewellery she designs, the spirit of the theme she approaches. For instance, watching this Dior’s latest haute joallerie collection is like entering Versailles’ secret world in which beauty, mysteries and love are mounted on gold and engraved or made of opals, spinels, diamonds, emeralds and rubellite.