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Haute couture isn’t just about the fashion. In fact, far from it. The recent Paris Haute Couture Week proved to be one that was set with an array of diamonds and other precious stones, perfectly complementing lavish gowns and Victorian-style creations. We take a look at eight stellar jewellery masterpieces that stole the show.
1. Majestueuse Opal High Jewellery Timepiece
The opal’s magic lies in its fire or the multiple colours that shine from its depths. “When I look at an opal," says Victoire de Castellane, artistic director of Dior Joaillerie, “I feel like I’m seeing the earth from afar, the oceans, the archipelagos and the reflections of stars on ocean waves."
The stone has always been important in Dior’s jewellery collections, but truly comes into its own in the current La D de Dior line. In the Majestueuse Opal High Jewellery Timepiece, the colours in the black opal are complemented by a rainbow of diamonds, pink sapphires, spessartites, tsavorites, emeralds, yellow sapphires, amethysts and rubies. Twisting open the opal centre stone reveals a diamond-set dial beneath.
2. Rosa dei Venti ring
Time is perhaps the most precious commodity of all; once given, it can never be recovered. Thus it is only apt that time is carefully protected behind a fort of rare gems, to be revealed only to the deserving.
This is the sentiment behind Bodino’s first collection of jewellery timepieces for his eponymous brand. Shown here is the Rosa dei Venti, one out of the three creations in the line. A perfect combination of femininity and strength, it features an articulated bracelet with fleur de lis motifs topped with a bold 11.49-carat Zambian emerald that can be lifted to reveal a diamond-set dial. Rubies, more emeralds, sapphires and diamonds complement the centre stone.
3. Blossom High Jewellery tourmaline and opal ring
There will be no mistaking a Louis Vuitton Blossom High Jewellery Collection piece for something else because the brand’s iconic Monogram Flower is certainly making its presence felt. Taken apart or layered, the motif is creatively reinterpreted in the collection’s every ring, bracelet, necklace and earring.
Also significant is the play on contrasts. Whether it is putting the matte against the polished, or the opaque against the transparent, each piece is given a unique texture.
4. 1888 Master Diamonds line
Definitely the name that is also a byword for the world’s best diamonds, De Beers focus at the recent Paris Haute Couture Week was on the coloured diamonds in its 1888 Master Diamonds line. The 1888 in the collection’s name refers not to the number of pieces, but the year the brand was founded.
Among the diamonds showcased was a 50-carat fancy vivid yellow diamond. Its intensely yellow hue, evenly distributed throughout the entire stone, is a rarity in such a large stone. Also displayed were two rings, one featuring a 7.66-carat pear- shaped fancy dark greenish yellow diamond, and the other, a 4.27-carat marquise-cut fancy grey diamond.
5. Garden of Kalahari earrings
Chopard’s Garden of Kalahari collection tells the tale of an extraordinary gem birthed from the harsh terrain of the Kalahari desert in Botswana. Named The Queen of Kalahari, the 342-carat rough diamond was a combination of D colour and F (flawless) clarity – extremely rare in a stone of this size. In the hands of Chopard’s talented designers, the gem found new life in the form of 23 polished diamonds, with five weighing more than 20 carats and representing each of the major stone cuts – cushion, brilliant, heart, emerald and pear.
The 26-carat heart- and the 25-carat pear-shaped diamonds in the transformable earrings can be detached to make the earrings more appropriate for everyday. For the lady who also owns the Garden of Kalahari necklace, the earrings can be attached to the necklace to create a true piece of statement jewellery.
6. Collier Point d’interrogation Lierre de Paris
Ivy-covered facades were a common sight in the Paris of Frederic Boucheron’s time. Inspired by the tenacious plant, he often used it as a motif in his designs. The plant takes centre stage in Boucheron’s new Lierre de Paris (or Paris Ivy) collection. In the same way it curls and climbs up architectural structures, the ivy in this collection is made to twist, coil and wind elegantly around the fingers, ears or neck. The highlight of the collection is definitely the Point d’interrogation high jewellery necklace inspired by a creation dating back to 1881. Nine leaves, in white gold and fully set with diamonds, are arranged to trace the side of the neck and extend down onto the collarbone.
7. Collier Insolence
The French jeweller’s Insolence collection is a tale of classic beauty and harmless debauchery. Classic because it is inspired by the ribbons often spotted on Marie Antoinette’s dresses and the decorative elements from the belle epoque era. Debauchery because the loose knots it depicts hint at a carefree spirit and are easily undone during moments of intimacy. A rose gold rope intertwines with a diamond ribbon in this necklace of white and rose gold and white brilliant diamonds, representing the coming together of two beings. Supple and beautifully articulated, it is designed to move with the wearer, much like a real ribbon would.
8. Collier Jeanne Saphirs
During a time when it was traditional for girls to have long flowing locks, Coco Chanel snipped hers off. When everyone wore huge feathers in their hats, she made plain boater hats without. In an era when it was customary for women to wear long dresses nipped-in at the waist, Coco boldly made hers loose, short and with elements inspired by menswear.
Her quest for lightness and freedom continues to drive the Chanel style today. Both design principals are represented in the Coco Avant Chanel high jewellery collection, which uses ribbon and lace-like motifs – both of which the mademoiselle favoured over feathers on her boater hats – to replicate the fluidity and airiness of fabric. In the stunning Collier Jeanne Saphirs necklace, pink sapphires, white diamonds and grey spinels are combined in a design that calls to mind delicate floral lace.