After weeks of destination shows for press and hand-picked high jewelry clients, Haute Couture Fashion Week in Paris saw a shower of diamonds across Place Vendôme and some of the city’s most luxe hotel suites, with the latest fine and high jewelry offerings from the big jewelry houses. If real trends can be identified up in the rarified world of high jewelry, yellow diamonds was one of them, as Graff’s signature colored stone popped up also in the disco-inspired collection at Messika, Buccellati, and De Beers’s Metamorphosis collection. From Tasaki in the gardens of the Ritz, to Chaumet’s celebration of nature via Gemfields’ designer showcase; houses explored the gifts of the natural world. Boucheron however, took a different tack, presenting one of the most original collections of the season, that saw Creative Director Claire Choisne at her audacious best.
With the Jardin de Chaumet collection, the Paris heritage house went back to its design roots, as Nature’s jeweler par excellence for over two centuries. Celebrating the bounty of the harvest, the wheat motif famously seen in the 1811 Wheat Ear Tiara tiara becomes a delicately rendered necklace with a contemporary touch in the form of a geometric diamond pendant, while the ruby and diamonds Feuilles de Vigne earrings graze the shoulders. Elsewhere, yellow diamond pansies, vibrant ruby tulips, and opal tree bark gleam amongst winking white diamonds.
Creative Director Claire Choisne looked to the playful, uplifting aesthetic of the 1980s for the More is More collection, conceived at the height of Covid lockdown. Two years on, the collection feels like a welcome antidote to the anxiety of the post-pandemic period, as color contrasts and audacious form and scale create a sense of joy. Innovative materials like bio-acetate and magnesium, used alongside those more usually considered ‘precious’, question our expectations of high-end jewelry, in a collection presented on dancing, smiling models in the Maison’s historic Place Vendôme salons.
Graff founder Laurence Graff knew he was onto something special when he first began to explore yellow diamonds with the Star of Bombay in 1974, and the stone is still the house’s signature, gleaming out from the refined grey-and-lemon salons of Graff’s Paris flagship. Inspired by sunlight on waves, the Sunrise collection is full of movement and vivacity, as open settings capture the light and diamonds appear to dance across the skin in magnificent necklaces and chandelier earrings. The hero of the piece, top, features a 30 carat oval-cut yellow diamond in a detachable pendant, allowing for the diamond rivière necklace to be worn alone — which could be described as the most glamorous tennis necklace around.
There were links with the 1970s also, over at the Hôtel Crillon, where Messika showed the new Midnight Sun collection which drew on the heady days of disco, from the Palace nightclub in Paris, to Studio 54 in New York. Valérie Messika chose musician, supermodel and former First Lady of France, Carla Bruni, to front her 10th high jewelry collection, exhorting clients to dance until dawn under the blazing suns of hand-picked yellow diamonds set amongst white, in five different sets of earrings, cuffs and necklaces. An assertive and joyful celebration of femininity, freedom and the creativity of atelier craftsmanship.
Ever elegant, Tasaki’s take on contemporary pearls found form in Atelier 6, the Japanese pearl house’s latest high jewelry collection, rooted in the reflection of the moon and sun in water. Coral reefs, the ocean breeze, waterfalls in tropical forests, and the light on the waves were all exquisitely reinterpreted in meticulously cultured Akoya, freshwater and Tahitian pearls accented with a spectrum of gemstones and diamonds — for which, as De Beers’ only sightholder in Japan, Tasaki has access to the best.
Colored gemstone mining company Gemfields presented a showcase of rings from independent high and fine jewelry designers, showcasing the company’s responsible Mozambican rubies and Zambian emeralds. Margery Hirschey lent her modernist art jewelry aesthetic to a gold ring scattered with rubies of different cuts, while Indian jeweler Shachee showcased her incredible micro-mosaic work accented with custom-cut rubies, and for New York-based Sandy Leong, colored gemstones gleamed out of brushed gold. Alongside, jewelry-eyewear designer Francis de Lara showed a beautifully crafted set of textured gold-plated titanium glasses frames, featuring whimsical emerald teardrop accents
After showing the first chapter of its debut high jewelry collection in January, De Beers followed up with a second strand of Metamorphosis, a collection designed to “celebrate the transformative power of natural diamonds” with an exploration of the changing seasons. A collection of 37 pieces, many of which are transformable, with multi-band rings designed to be worn in different ways, earrings that can be styled as studs or pendants, and necklaces with removable motifs; all introduced by a butterfly ring for each season; the ultimate illustration of nature and its cycles.
Place Vendôme’s only lab-grown diamond specialist, Courbet marked its first steps into high jewelry, spotlighting technical innovation both in the lab, with rare colored diamonds, and in the Paris workshop. The Tennis collection played tribute to the summer racket sport of Wimbledon and Flushing Meadow, in recycled white gold and white diamonds, offset with hard-to-produce orange lab-grown diamonds, evoking the thud of the ball on a sun-drenched clay court.
The Milan-based house looked to Byzantine mosaics for a 50-piece collection that carried all the brand’s hallmarks, hand-crafted in the Buccellati workshops in Milan and on Lake Como. Silk-finish brushed gold cuffs were intricately set with colored gemstones and accented with delicate metal filigree lacework, necklaces featured intricately tessellating elements in a palette of sapphires, rubies, emeralds and yellow diamonds, and an incredible light and flexible cuff showed the artisan prowess behind Andrea Buccellati’s designs.
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