Haute Couture jewelry, from detachable mania to meteorites
Every picture tells a story; and every precious piece of jewelry does too. Few more so than the jewelry seen during the Haute Joaillerie, or Haute Couture jewelry, season which took place during the famous French haute couture week last week in Paris. Several days of inventive jewelry display that is always an inspirational and emotional affair. A revolutionary moment, where the world’s greatest supplier of diamonds, De Beers, announced plans to begin trading in synthetic diamonds.
It was a hyper busy few days in Paris, from Chaumet’s opening party in the Centre Pompidou, where Naomi Campbell wore tribal hoop Ronde de Pierres earrings, to the brand’s subsequent exhibition; presentations by the likes of Christian Dior and Chanel (parallel to their haute couture shows) and the discovery of burgeoning talents like Anna Hu of Taiwan. Literally scores of jewelry brands and designers presented a huge quantity of fabulous pieces, where the fruit of creative minds and the hundred hours of skilful craftsmanship were put on well-illuminated display.
Here we look at three key trends, where changing customers’ tastes and the desire of personalization were the main components shaping the jewelry sector.
The use of one big color stone always enhances the beauty of most jewelry, creating a central focus. This year many jewelry maison used key color stones in their collections.
"Trésors d’ Afrique” by Parisian luxury jewelry maison Chaumet stands out from other houses. After the success of their previous series, "Promenades Impérials" (inspired by Russia) and "Chant du Printemps" (influenced by Japan) this season’s "Trésors d’ Afrique" (inspired by African nature and featuring a collaboration with Kenyan artist Evans Mbugua) completed the trilogy of "Les mondes de Chaumet", presented inside Chaumet’s luxe space on Place Vendome, the grand square that is the center of the high jewelry world.
Beautiful vibrant color stones were carefully placed in this collection: a cascade royale necklace is adorned with an intense green Muzo emerald, carved onyx and marquise-cut diamonds. While the one-of-a-kind necklace used a unique technique called "fils couteau", for which Chaumet is known.
Asian jewelry artist Anna Hu also used color stone in her 10 sets of new creations. For her "Delphinium" bracelet, Hu used a dark blue color star sapphire with colored sapphire briolette alongside a diamond briolette.
It is always an add-on advantage to have multiple options in a single piece of jewelry. So, nowadays most of the high jewelry maisons propose it. But DeBeers has gone a step further with its artisanal Diamond Legends collection, featuring four diamond necklaces, each with detachable options.
Vulcan is one of the necklaces, which has multiple options; the outer two outer detachable lines of the necklace made of multiple rough shapes and color diamonds.
Another necklace, Celestia, offers bezel-set round diamonds -- a design demonstrating super-flexibility, which allows the stones to lay smoothly on any neck shape. It also has a detachable option.
Along with the collection, DeBeers displayed the historic Eureka diamond, which is recognized as the first diamond discovered in South Africa. A truly historic stone, seeing as its discovery in 1866 sparked the great Kimberly Gold Rush.
Many luxury jewelry brands are exploring new materials to answer the evolving demands of customers. Like Lorenz Bäumer, who is known for cutting-edge designs and experiments. He presented his Meteorite collection where meteorite was the integral feature.
Titanium is one of the metals which is used by many jewelry brands. Lorenz Bäumer used titanium in a collection called Reflects. By using electrolysis, the designer discovered vibrant colors in titanium which he used as reflective base surrounded by high-polished white gold as an additional reflector.
Geneva-based artistic jewelry brand, Suzanne Syz Art Jewels, used titanium as the main material for her one-of-a-kind jewelry.
Finally, as mentioned above, DeBeers announced it will start selling synthetic diamonds later this year in the US, an earthquake in the industry. Only time will tell to what extent it will impact the diamond market, but certainly, the sector is set to evolve rapidly this year.
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