Cartier, Ring Heteractis

Paris Collections, January 2022: The high jewelry market is on a high writes Olivier Dupon

A review with some of the artistic directors and CEOs explains why January presentations in Paris are now as successful as July ones

On the first floor of the hôtel particulier Baudard de Saint-James, Place Vendôme, Chaumet presented their collection, Déferlante. In the Salon des Perles, fitted with Napoleon III-style paneling, the nine pieces of the collection were displayed.

A capsule collection of nine pieces only

Could Déferlante be bought as a whole from the tiara to the watch? ‘We are careful not to add for the sake of adding. We strive to focus on what is essential, and it is why a limited number of pieces was set for Déferlante, which in turn could be looked at as a complete parure. One collector could certainly buy it as a whole; that said, we also know that high jewelry clients do not long favor total look.

Chaumet: seizing movement in time

Following the 2021 Torsade de Chaumet collection, the new collection is an all-white affair and a movement study. Much as the former was about evoking unraveling loops, Déferlante embraces the force of breaking waves. Asked why the concepts of movement have been prevalent in all their high jewelry collections, Mansvelt replied that ‘it is simply a historical characteristic of most creations of Maison Chaumet. For instance, one finds the idea of movement and of catching a moment in time in iconic pieces such as the Carnation Diadem, the Scottish knot, or the Colibri. It is all about being in motion, in the here and now, like taking a snapshot, and as a result, making our creations alive’

An all-white collection

With a monochrome approach – white diamonds and white gold – it is about mixing brilliant- and various step-cuts in cascading formation.

It took months of brainstorming between the creative studio and the atelier, and both teams had fun creating this sort of chaos, which is, in fact, a very controlled one. Each diamond is positioned according to its size, cut, and weight to replicate the inherent asymmetry of breaking waves,’ Mansvelt observed. ‘It also helps titillate one’s imagination – so much so that the technique and planning disappear and only beauty and emotion pertain in the end.’

The movement of waves

Sinuous lines made of white gold paved with round brilliant-cut diamonds form the outlines of waves. It is Chaumet’s signature technique of fil couteau. The Déferlante tiara with 1,600 brilliant- and step-cut diamonds, and the necklace, showcases the technique. The necklace has a pear-shaped diamond of 3.57 carats. The pear shape was Chaumet muse Joséphine de Beauharnais’s favorite cut.

The fil couteau technique, one of Chaumet’s signatures

Are there limits to how the goldsmiths can use the fil couteau technique? ‘There is no technical limit. Besides, we only use fil couteau when necessary to perfect the aesthetics of a piece. For example, in Déferlante, you can see that the fil couteau alternates with diamond-paved parts, which generates rhythm. Sometimes, this technique enables us to create a sense of levitation,’ Chaumet CEO shared, ‘as if the gemstones were floating in thin air. Naturally, the more fil couteau, the more the atelier has to pay attention to the solidity of the creation.

Of the two rings, one is transformable in two ways. The opened version with the central 6.05-carat emerald-cut F VVS1 diamond. The pared-down option by detaching the diamond-paved halo. 

Dior, Galons – Drawing from the world of couture 

Monochrome is to be found in Dior’s latest high jewelry collection. Although not all-white, the eighty-piece Galons Dior is a less colorful proposition than before. By paying homage to Mr. Dior, creative director Victoire de Castellane is celebrating the world of couture. It is seen through the prism of one item of haberdashery, the ribbon. As a component used to border haute couture garments, ribbons come in all shapes and sizes. That is precisely what the artistic director has demonstrated by associating varied gold chains or trimmings in a single piece. At play is the randomness that has been applied since the Dear Dior collection and recently in Gem Dior. 

Imagining ribbons made of gold

In one such make-believe ribbon, baguette-cut diamonds are positioned top to bottom in a domino succession. The diamonds are bezel-set in yellow gold. In another, little daisies, whose petals are marquise-cut diamonds, form a garland. 

‘Tennis bracelet type trimmings are made of round brilliant-cut diamonds or larger princess-cut interspersed with smaller princess-cut diamonds. They are also made of a jagged line of round diamonds. The profusion of motifs and the pairing of white rose and yellow golds is seen in one Galons Dior suite. A single pear-shaped diamond anchors the construction of the multi-strand necklace and bracelet. 

The art of lacquer

When a color pops in, it is due to central gemstones. Red for ruby, blue for sapphire, green for emerald, pink for spinel or sapphire, raspberry for rubellite, yellow for diamond or sapphire. The color density of the rubies, emeralds, and blue sapphires is enhanced by matching colored lacquer. It is applied to the claws that hold each of them. 

Galons Dior makes some room for de Castellane’s favorite types of jewelry: the choker necklace and the asymmetrical earrings. It also introduces pieces for men for the first time in Dior high jewelry, cufflinks, and a brooch.

Boucheron: Maharajah of Patiala – The most significant commission of high jewelry 

Louis Boucheron’s travel to India in winter 1926 to present his high jewelry creations to the maharajahs was successful. Two years later, in 1928, Bhupinder Singh of Patiala traveled to Paris. He was accompanied by forty of his servants and guards and several coffers of precious gemstones in tow. On August 2nd, the maharajah left the Ritz and headed to the Boucheron boutique. He presented 7,571 diamonds and 1,400 emeralds before Louis Boucheron, who later came up with 149 designs. To this day, this amounts to the most significant single order of high jewelry for the house of Boucheron. 

Addressing the new generation of high jewelry collectors

The maharaja of Patiala’s love for jewelry guided Choisne when she was devising The New Maharajahs collection. She pays homage to the historical importance of the commission. She imagined how the luxury of the 1920s could translate to today’s high jewelry collectors. Who are the ‘New Maharajahs’, according to Claire Choisne? ‘The New Maharajahs would be modern and live with their times. I couldn’t say whether they would be women or men. That’s why we chose to put both in our campaign,‘ Choisne said, ‘so it could be either one or the other. If he (or she) comes to Boucheron to place a special order, I would love it to be an even more personal and bespoke order with a strong styling aspect. In a nutshell, today’s Maharajahs want above all to express their style and their uniqueness.‘ 

The importance of scale and monochrome

For the re-interpretation, two key principles were set: scale (making the jewels wearable); and purity (opting for a monochrome palette of whites, bar emeralds).

For this collection, we chose to delve into this extraordinary moment of the History of Boucheron and to reinterpret this order with a new perspective.

The Maharajah of Patiala commissioned extravagant jewels, both in scale and in the exceptional amount of precious stones they displayed. At that time, high jewelry was a power statement. So my team and I have reinterpreted this order for today’s Maharajahs. To do so, we have changed a few elements,‘ Choisne explained, ‘among which we made the radical choice to use mainly white and transparency to modernize the collection, bring purity to it, and highlight the designs. That’s why we kept only one set with emeralds.‘ 

Revisiting Mughal jewelry tradition

The paring down exercise has been respectful to the idiosyncrasy of traditional Indian jewelry. It uses typical motifs (paisley, lotus flower) and stone carving (glyptography applied to rock crystal and mother-of-pearl). 

Five sets and fourteen creations compose the collection. They all revisite authentic Mughal jewels, as seen in the titles, each starting with ‘The New’. 

Modernizing the jewels of The Maharajah of Patiala

The only iteration with colored stones, the New Maharajah neckpiece, is the modern version of Singh of Patiala’s emerald necklace. It is brighter, thanks to many more white diamonds and rock crystals versus fewer emeralds (a total of nine Colombian stones for 38.74 carats). In addition, it is transformable, with the central medallion becoming a lavalière-type brooch when detached. A pair of large hoop earrings accompany the necklace. 

The New Padma, part mismatched earrings, part hair ornament, is composed of pearls and a carved mother of pearls. 

The New Sarpech and the New Churiyans twist the traditional Indian pieces of the same names. The former is the pin that attaches men’s turbans for the former. The latter is the multiple bangles worn by brides. Claire Choisne has created a mother-of-pearl bobbin to stack the ten diamond and pearl Churiyan bangles when unworn. 

Claire Choisne’s favorite piece

The New Maharani is composed of three necklaces in white – a transformable choker, a multi-strand bib, and a sautoir. They are replete with stone carving, pearl threading, pompoms, and lariat-type attachments. ‘This was the most challenging creation as I imagined the piece as a lace of diamonds and rock crystal. The challenge consisted of having a necklace that could move and adapt to the client’s body. The craftsmen had to find ways to hide the articulated system while having no space to do it. They were very ingenious to create only one clasp for this versatile necklace that you can also wear as a full necklace or as a choker. I think you can feel the Indian inspiration of the piece with the lotus pattern, but at the same time, you feel it’s a delicacy. It’s my favorite piece!

Chanel, 1932 – The bijoux de diamants collection

2022 marks the 90th anniversary of Chanel’s first-ever high jewelry collection, which was presented on November 18th, 1932. Known for her accessories, the designer collaborated with the French Diamond Syndicate (Union des diamantaires) to create diamond-set jewels. It was a way to revive the worn-out diamond industry. She drew from her signature inventions in couture and opted for the star motif. The forty-seven ‘bijoux de diamants’ heralded a change, with necklaces to wrap around one’s neck and the deconstruction of parures

The Allure Céleste necklace

A game changer at the time, which jewelry creative studio director Patrice Leguéreau honors with eighty pieces, the 1932 Collection. It will be unveiled in Shanghai this May. A sneak peeks in the form of the Allure Celeste necklace. It is a unique and transformable piece – it can be deconstructed into three brooches and a bracelet. It features Coco Chanel’s three favorite celestial symbols together for the first time: the moon, the sun, and the star. A 55.55-carat oval-cut sapphire symbolizes the moon. The sun radiates with an 8.05-carat pear-cut diamond, while the shooting star is composed of round-cut diamonds. It took 3,800 hours of work. It is the most complex neckpiece that the Chanel atelier has achieved to date.

Lampoon, Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton, Bravery II, Collier Mini Malle

De Beers, Atomic – The diamond prismatic essence

The first chapter of the Alchemist of Light collection by De Beers previews what will come later this year. Of forty-five pieces across two chapters, the first sixteen pieces, or two sets, were previewed this January. 

The Atomic set of seven pieces is a study of light on a molecular level through round shapes. The team says that white diamonds set in white gold ‘reflect the pristine clarity of a diamond’s prismatic makeup‘. At the center of the Atomic Collar Necklace is an 18.57-carat internally flawless diamond with a bombé profile. It is surrounded by 1,907 further diamonds, which orbit within two rings. 

Studying the atomic construction of a diamond

Hoop earrings and two rings complete the suite. One of the rings features an 11.03-carat round brilliant-cut diamond from the De Beers Natural Works of Art Collection. ‘When worn, the Atomic necklace appears to float on the collarbone, yet it features an exceptional 18.57-carat diamond at its center and an incredible total weight of diamonds of 71.48 carats. The fluidity and lightness of this necklace result from the articulated gold settings and the interconnecting diamonds that have been teased into fine horizontal and vertical lines,’ De Beers chief executive officer Céline Assimon shared. ‘We wanted to find a subtle balance between the diamonds and the ’empty space’ between them. We can say that it is thanks to the study of the atomic construction of the diamond – which inspired the collection – that we were able to reproduce and translate this geometric lightness.’

Micro-articulation provides movement

Color and angles are brought by Light Rays, the second set of nine pieces. Again, fancy color rough and polished diamonds in warm tones are highlighted by diamond-paved straight lines set over anodized titanium barbs. The latter are all micro-articulated to provide delicate movement, like light flickering. 

Using titanium for the first time

Collar Necklace is a 4.22-carat fancy brownish yellow radiant-cut diamond in the Light Rays. Metal rays support it in anodized titanium, black rhodium-plated gold, and articulated lines of white diamonds. It is the first time De Beers has featured titanium in any collection. ‘Titanium has allowed us to experiment with bolder designs and colors. Using it meant that these pieces could maintain lightness and fluidity, moving with the wearer. This set, in particular, shows a perfect balance between tradition and respect for the craft and appetite for risk and innovation,’ Assimon stressed, ‘not just in the new materials we used but also in the construction. The Alchemist of Light manifests the transformation we are crafting at De Beers.’ 

Pieces are transformable

Parts can be removed and attached to a stud earring for the Atomic Collar Necklace. The black rhodium-plated gold part of the collar neckpiece can be entirely taken out for the Light Rays set. The tassel of a pendant necklace can be detached and used as a handbag charm. The detachable Light Rays motif of a jacket ring offers a three-way transformation. It stars a 1.08-carat fancy vivid orange, yellow square emerald-cut diamond.

Cartier, Trompe l’oeil

Cartier concludes its Sixième Sens odyssey with a third final chapter. Since last July, Cartier has invited us to delve into the world of the senses. It is an effort to capture the sixth sense’s intuitive faculty. The idea has been to trigger a whirlwind of emotions by igniting all senses – including the sixth sense. There are thirty pieces. 

Gemstones are the starting point

At Cartier, technique and gemstones serve the design, no matter the cost. Half rubies for the Giravolta necklace tapered emeralds fit the interstices between diamonds in the Heteractis ring. ‘We can praise the stonecutters’ audacity as they strive to make the most of the gemstones by innovating in the way to cut them,‘ Cartier creative director Jacqueline Karachi observed. ‘It is the idea that everything starts with and from the chosen gemstone. For the Heteractis ring, we selected an elegant stone for its color and shape, one 7.89-carat sapphire from Ceylon. Here, the central stone radiates inside a diamond-paved structure, in which intense blue and deep green are paired (a signature contrast of Cartier). The designer and the lapidary worked together to achieve a brand-new cut for the emeralds to increase the piece’s three-dimensionalities. 

An unconventional Colombian emerald 

The Synesthésie necklace questions how to ‘combine volume and movement’ with a flurry of diamonds, emeralds and turquoise stones. The latter is cut to underline the pattern as if bright lacquer had been applied. The number of gems is essential – not least the detachable pendant holding a 35.47-carat Colombian emerald. The composition is supple. 

Jacqueline Karachi explains that this necklace started from the central Colombian emerald. The stone has an unusual volume of three facets, a large base, and step-cut forming beveled rectangles. ‘That dense and generous stone inspired a composition with subtle nuances in the manner of musical vibrations,‘ she said. ‘Beads coexist alongside geometric forms to challenge one’s perception all the while celebrating the main stone.‘ 

Drawing from the Maison’s heritage

The Bérénice shoulder piece that made a sensation at the 1925 Universal Exhibition has resurfaced as the Victorienne necklace. Wavelets of diamonds and black lacquer converge towards a sugarloaf emerald fitted with two rhombus diamonds. This neckpiece can be worn as a choker or across the chest thanks to attachments on both sides (symmetrical pendants). ‘Each creation is a challenge for our atelier. The focus on suppleness, modularity, and comfort is key to reaching perfection a little bit closer each time. Here,’ Karachi shared, ‘making sure each articulation was flexible was the difficulty so that the piece could be worn as a scarf or a necklace.

Chopard, Insofu – Exhibiting rare gemstones

For the second time since the Exceptional Stones presentation in January 2020, Chopard has decided to display rare gemstones. Some are un-set, others set in jewels. One 31.31-carat fancy dark gray-greenish yellow diamond cast as a ‘chameleon’ for its color-changing ability under heat. A toi et moi ring set with one 3.01-carat pear-shaped D-internally flawless type IIA diamond and one 4.10-carat pear-shaped fancy intense blue VS2 diamond. An unheated 21.04-carat cushion-shaped Ceylon sapphire set in another solitaire. A ring with one 10.88-carat fancy intense pink radiant-cut diamond. It is framed by two heart-shaped rubies, respectively 2.03 carats and 1.95 carats. 

A 6,225-carat rough emerald 

The recently acquired by-Chopard stone is a 6,225-carat rough emerald from the Kagem mine run by Gemfields in Zambia. Named ‘insofu’, which means elephant in Bemba, the stone will be the subject of a start-to-finish project. It will offer a clear traceable history from rough to high jewels, ‘from their place of origin to how they have been cut and designed to light up a more just and responsible world’, as Chopard’s co-president and artistic director Caroline Scheufele said. Since the launch of Sustainable Luxury in 2013, Chopard has pioneered Fairmined-certified gold and responsibly mined materials. In 2016, Chopard started to integrate responsible emeralds into their collection through a partnership with Gemfields. 

Cindy Chao, Lost wax and titanium

Mint gypsophila and pink roses served as the backdrop to Cindy Chao’s latest Black label and anniversary creations. Seven in total. A naturalistic scene to match nature-inspired designs. They are made using the lost wax technique and fashioned in anodized titanium, with or without gold. 

The value of tradition

Why is bridging the gap between past, present, and future importance to the Taiwanese artist? ‘A large part of my viewpoint as an artist was informed by my grandfather and father, both visionary creatives. My grandfather was an architect who created some of the most revered temples in the region, and my father was a prolific sculptor. Their craft taught me the value of tradition, and I bring that to my artistic practice by using Cire Perdue. For me, it is imperative to continue the great European traditions in jewelry making,‘ Cindy Chao explained, ‘so we can ensure the legacy lives on. Yet, at the same time, I’m a firm believer in progress. That coexistence creates a dichotomy between the new and the old, resulting in a superb finished work.’

Playing with contrasts

2022 Black Label Masterpiece II Fruit Earrings are an addition to the Four Seasons collection. They feature a ‘trilocular’ structure, whereby a gradient of diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, alexandrites and color-change garnets entirely covers each facet. Metal cannot be seen, since every single surface is paved. This includes the rims of each facet and the stem. The latter links the fancy quadrilateral pyramid-shaped diamonds on top to the color-matched emerald-cut fancy dark brown-yellow diamonds. Those hang freely in the cusp of the front folding facets. ‘Nature in itself is full of contrast and juxtaposition. I enjoy designing pieces that reflect the unique and often contradictory aspects I discover while exploring. With the 2022 Black Label Masterpiece II Fruit Earrings, I was very interested in articulating the relationship between the fluid undulations of the leaf and the strict lines of the emerald cut diamond,‘ Chao said.

The 15th-anniversary collection

The five pieces from the 15th-anniversary collection include the Dragonfly brooch. It is set with 1,400 marquise, cushion, oval and rose-cut diamonds, emeralds, tsavorites, grayish green sapphires, alexandrites, color-change garnets. The total weight of gemstones is 83.03 carats. 

The Feather Brooch’s titanium has been anodized to create a shade of purplish-red. It is set with 1,700 gemstones: white diamonds, yellow diamonds, rubies, orange sapphires, purple garnets, rhodolites, color-change sapphires. They are paved on the titanium shaft. At 25 grams, the brooch uses a thin titanium setting fixed under the girdle of the brooch. The metal structure is not apparent. 

The importance of Titanium

I use titanium in my works to allow me a larger canvas to tell a story without the weight of gold. However, it requires unparalleled experience from my craftsmen due to the difficulty of the metal,’ Chao shared. ‘It requires more time, which is both a challenge and a luxury today. By being unwavering in my vision, we take the necessary time and care to create the art jewels I have designed.’

Mirroring blue and brown colors in the Coral earrings. A 2.20-carat pear-shaped fancy brown-orange diamond and one 2.22-carat pear-shaped blue sapphire are set in contrasting light-activated resin. Pink conch pearls and yellow octahedron bead-shaped diamonds are in the Magnolia Earrings. A line of yellow gold is on the edges of the petals. 

A 32.11-carat cushion-shaped unheated cabochon sapphire from Burma and yellow stamens in the Sapphire Floral Brooch. The 18K gold stamens are painted with French lacquer.

Locks, studs and clasps – The trunk by Louis Vuitton

In Louis Vuitton’s Bravery collection part two, artistic director Francesca Amfitheatrof still celebrates the bicentenary of the founder’s birth. This time focuses on one of his most defining creations from 1854: the trunk. The four themes tackle various aspects of the luggage. Le Multipin honors the original lock mechanism made of brass. It turns it into the main feature of the eight pieces of the theme. O even becomes the functional fastening itself for the necklace and bracelet. It is set with a rare lagoon-blue tourmaline of 42.42 carats for the neckpiece. One hundred further colored gemstones dress the collar rendition. They range from pink and green tourmalines, yellow citrines, blue aquamarines, violet tanzanites, and more. They are grouped by color families and peppered with white diamonds for a touch of brightness. 

Using multi-colored gemstones 

In the Le Magnétisme necklace, a double row of pink, orange and yellow tourmalines frames the rectangular shape of the trunk. It is mirrored in the framing of the main stone – a 20.29-carat cushion-cut sapphire from Sri Lanka. The central gem is suspended from a baguette diamond-set V – symbolizing Vuitton and the shape of its trunks’ metal corners. On the double chain, diamonds that are interspersed between each tourmaline represent the metal studs. Three rings complete the theme (set with pink sapphire, red tourmaline, and a raspberry tourmaline). 

The patented Monogram star and flower cuts

The La Mini Malle story features the Monogram star- and flower-cut diamonds that Louis Vuitton patented in 2008. Mini Malle takes another look at the Petite Malle luggage. It was launched in 2014 in two neckpieces, a ring, and a high jewelry watch. It was the first to appear in any Louis Vuitton high jewelry collection. For the choker, diamond-paved links attach three Mini Malle designs. Each is set with a Monogram Star-cut diamond (one of which weighs 3.34 carats). It is framed by baguettes for the sides and round brilliant for the corner moldings. 

The choice of round cuts 

The four Cocktail Rings, which compose the last theme, are unconventional in the treatment of the central stones. There is a pink 1.30-carat Padparadscha sapphire from Madagascar and a 1.34-carat ruby from Mozambique. A 2.09-carat blue sapphire from Madagascar and a green 1.34-carat demantoid garnet. All have been brilliant cut. It is a costly exercise due to the loss of weight. These stones’ crystals do not easily lend themselves to a round shape. 

Olivier Dupon

The writer does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article.

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check and buy on Prototipo Store
item collections in limited edition
crafted according to our editorial search

Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore
Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only
natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
for more info, please email us at [email protected]