July (and January) is haute season in Paris. The haute couture shows and accompanying haute joaillerie presentations make for days of dizzying highs. Place Vendôme, the square in the 1st arrondissement of the City of Light, is considered the capital of high jewellery and normally where clients and press gather for a first-hand look at the high-end finery. Although this year’s high jewellery collections were presented virtually—Zoom presentations, webinars, and digitally streamed videos—that did not diminish the exceptional craftsmanship involved. Despite the melancholy and economic strains of the past few months, the appetite for jewellery has intensified, perhaps a reflection of jewellery’s emotional resonance and investment potential. The high jewellery ateliers executed on creativity and adroitness for pieces that capture attention.
Barocko by Bulgari
For Bulgari’s latest high jewellery collection, creative director Lucia Silvestri drew inspiration from Rome’s Baroque artistic and architectural heritage. The domed shapes of the tanzanites, rubellite, tourmalines, and aquamarines set in the Cabochon Exuberance necklace were inspired by the cupolas of the Farnese Gardens. A stone’s throw from the Bulgari headquarters in Rome is Castel Sant’Angelo, and atop, the statue of the Archangel Michael, whose outstretched wings echo the Wings of Rome, a platinum necklace enriched with round, marquise, and drop-cut diamonds. The serpent has become a Bulgari signature motif, and the charmed serpente is represented in the extensive collection of one-off pieces.
Perspectives by Chaumet
Chaumet’s new high jewellery collection was presented in six chapters, each dedicated to varying aspects of architecture from angular lines to Renaissance-style curves. The Skyline chapter takes its cue from the brutalist shapes of an urban landscape and includes a textured yellow-gold cascading necklace calibrated with baguette-cut emeralds and diamonds, and a pear-shaped 16-carat emerald drop. Chaumet is synonymous with the tiara, and the white-gold tiara in the Lacis chapter, which recalls the
latticework of contemporary architecture, is set with diamonds of varying cuts: ovals, pear, and brilliant. The interplay of light is orchestrated by the crossing of fil couteau mountings.
Red Carpet by Chopard
For the past 13 years, Chopard has debuted its high jewellery collection at the Cannes Film Festival (of which it is an official sponsor), but this year, the Red Carpet collection was presented via email. Caroline Scheufele, the brand’s co-president and artistic director, chose the ever-popular theme of nature for the 2020 collection comprising 73 handcrafted jewels. There are rings fashioned into swans, polar bears, and seals, a watch shaped like an owl, and plenty of florals and leaves. The Gingko earrings are showstoppers, but all in the collection is red carpet worthy.
Van Cleef & Arpels
Van Cleef & Arpels looked to the past and reimagined three iconic pieces (choosing to push the presentation of its full high jewellery collection to next year). The Merveille d’émeraudes necklace with its five emerald drops is a reworking of the 1929 design once owned by Princess Faiza of Egypt; the Rubis en scène bracelet is an updated version of Marlene Dietrich’s Jarretière bracelet, sported on the set of Hitchcock’s Stage Fright; and a pair of earrings, Tendresse étincelante, are inspired by a pair Aristotle Onassis gave Jacqueline Kennedy on their wedding.
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