Haute-couture shows may garner the lion’s share of the spotlight in Paris during the first week of July each year, but it’s arguable that the presentations happening behind closed doors offer just as many thrills in handcraft, heritage and star power.
Debuts of high jewelry, the one-of-a-kind designs that represent the pinnacle of a house’s handcraft and its ability to source singular stones, tend to be hushed affairs, taking place in darkened salons around the city (the shadowy spaces all the better for putting sparkling diamonds under literal spotlights). But with all of Paris returning to its pre-pandemic joie de vivre, high-jewelry presentations from houses including Chanel and Dior—as well as Place Vendôme heritage houses like Boucheron and Chaumet—indeed felt a bit more high-wattage and theatrical. And as the latest designs prove, one-of-a-kind jewels are anything but staid these days.
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Creative director Claire Choisne continues to push the boundaries of what high jewelry means with her designs for Boucheron, which has occupied a boutique on Place Vendôme since 1893. This season, Choisne conceptualized designs meant to feel a bit otherworldly while also employing nature, quite literally. As part of an “Earth Woman” series, Choisne created this brooch, dubbed “Bois Diamant,” or Diamond Wood, in which flower petals were scanned so each detail could then be rendered in rosewood. The petals were then set in an openwork gold structure, which was topped with diamond-embellished pistils crafted in titanium. Price upon request; boucheron.com
Many luxury houses are navigating ideas of sustainability as that word continues to dominate fashion and jewelry conversations, and Buccellati indeed leaned in on this concept with its high-jewelry offerings, dubbed the Vintage Collection and featuring pieces from its archives. A grouping designed to highlight iconic Buccellati elements, the collection includes this cuff bracelet, crafted in 18-karat white and yellow gold and showcasing a 74.25-carat aquamarine, surrounded by 98 brilliant-cut diamonds totaling 1.32 carats. Price upon request; buccellati.com
Stones in compelling cuts and colors are key to Cartier’s Beautés du Monde high-jewelry collection, which indeed strives to showcase the “beauty of the world” via its designs. Within Beautés du Monde, a capsule collection of seven rings puts an emphasis on rare stones in settings meant to convey the design pillars inherent in Cartier’s DNA. This Yasifan ring highlights a 28.43-carat cabochon-cut Paraiba-type tourmaline, set in 18-karat white gold and surrounded by cabochon-cut rubies and brilliant-cut diamonds. Price upon request; cartier.com
In November 1932, Coco Chanel introduced to the public a collection of diamond high jewelry, many inspired by the stars in the sky: “I wanted to cover women in constellations,” she famously said at the time. Ninety years later, the house is paying tribute to Chanel’s game-changing collection, which effectively viewed jewelry through an haute-couture lens. More than 70 pieces, all calling back to the sun, moon and stars themes Chanel favored, were put on display at the Grand Palais Éphémère, a temporary exhibition space near the Eiffel Tower, erected for events while the historic Grand Palais readies itself for the 2024 Olympic in Paris. Chanel transformed Éphémère into a museum-like setting for its reveal of the 1932 Collection, which included this Comète Saphir necklace, highlighting a cushion-cut sapphire totaling 6.56 carats surrounded by white diamonds and sapphires set in 18-karat white gold. Price upon request; chanel.com
Like Boucheron, Chaumet is a stalwart of Place Vendôme, having set up its workshops and boutique there in 1907 (the house was founded more than a century before, prior to becoming Napoleon I’s official jeweler in 1802). The latest Chaumet high-jewelry collection is Ondes et Merveilles, or “Waves and Wonders,” a rumination on nature, especially the effect of light and movement on water. This “Escales” ring features a pear-shaped Paraiba tourmaline framed by diamonds and spinels, and it’s no accident that the framing evokes thoughts of a tiara, a signature Chaumet piece. Price upon request; chaumet.com
At the Cannes Film Festival in May, Chopard debuted its latest high-jewelry collection, aptly titled “Chopard Loves Cinema,” a 75-piece homage to the festival’s 75th anniversary. While many designs were co-president and artistic director Caroline Scheufele’s tribute to iconic films, several pieces are quite simply stunning high jewels without a movie at the heart of their inspiration. These earrings fall into that category, a beautifully symmetrical showcase of fancy-cut pink sapphires totaling 10.71 carats and white diamonds totaling 7.28 carats, set in Fairmined-certified 18-karat white and rose gold, the latter used for a delicate engraving that tops the design. Price upon request; chopard.com
华 王/Cindy Chao
In a suite at the Ritz Paris, representatives for Taiwan-based high-jewelry designer Cindy Chao offered a curated selection of her latest pieces, each conveying the artful fluidity and modernity of her aesthetic. Chao’s Morning Seine Bangle is a perfect example, its 50.53-carat cornflower-blue Sri Lanka sapphire in a sugarloaf cut surrounded by yellow and white diamonds, sapphires and rhodolites, all set in 18-karat yellow, white and rose gold. Price upon request; cindychao.com
It was a big week for the Yurman family in Paris: David and Sybil Yurman were joined by son Evan, the brand’s chief design director, for the opening of their new boutique on Rue Saint-Honoré, also celebrated with a splashy private dinner at the Louvre. The latest high-jewelry pieces likewise made their debut, including this Stax Baguette Ring, featuring white diamonds surrounding a 12.73-carat pink sapphire, set in 18-karat white gold. Price upon request; davidyurman.com
Graphic statements integral to optical art form the heart of the latest chapter of De Beers’ Alchemist of Light high-jewelry collection, presented in a suite at the Hôtel de Crillon. Decidedly modern and geometric in look and inspiration, this wide-ranging collection includes these “Optical Wonder” drop earrings, crafted of yellow round brilliant diamonds set in concentric shapes within teardrops of black aluminum, topped by inverted teardrops that showcase a 1.26-carat pear-shaped fancy deep greenish-yellow diamond and a 1.12-carat pear-shaped fancy deep yellowish green diamond—and connecting the top and bottom teardrops are green rough diamonds set in 18-karat yellow gold. Price upon request; debeers.com
The house that Christian built originally released its latest high-jewelry collection in early June at a high-profile event in Sicily, but in a last-minute and undeniably wise decision, the Dior team decided to host a re-see of the 137-piece collection—dubbed “Dior Print”—at the house’s lushly refurbished headquarters and adjacent flagship on Avenue Montaigne. The salon showcasing the new jewels now offers an oversized picture window that looks onto multiple floors of Peter Marino’s spectacular flagship design. If it sounds like Dior Print had to compete with the allure of the new flagship, that’s a bit true, but this colorful collection, which evokes thoughts of bits of haute-couture ribbon and fabric on a design table, can more than hold its own in the ultra-talented hands of designer Victoire de Castellane. This brooch indeed resembles an undulating ribbon, crafted in round brilliant sapphires, emeralds and diamonds set in 18-karat white gold. Price upon request; dior.com
Incredible stones are key to any Graff high-jewelry presentation, but sometimes this London-based house truly creates a wow moment. That’s the case with this necklace, crafted of more than 180 carats of yellow and white diamonds, including a 22.08-carat pear-shaped yellow diamond drop that’s accented with pear-shaped white diamonds and is also detachable. White and yellow gold are employed for the diamond settings, the latter used to enhance the yellow diamonds. Price upon request; graff.com
Valerie Messika was inspired by the seductive influences of Egypt with her latest high-jewelry collection, christened “Beyond the Light.” Amid designs that embrace asymmetry and exceptional stones, the stunner of the collection is Akh-Ba-Ka necklace, a design that puts one in mind of a phoenix rising and also boasts a terrific backstory. Messika took a rough diamond totaling 110 carats and conceptualized a design crafted from 15 stones all realized from that same rough, including a 33-carat cushion-cut diamond that’s unquestionably the star of the piece. “I wanted to challenge myself by using the family of 15 diamonds in the same set,” Messika explained during her presentation at the Hôtel de Crillon. Price upon request; messika.com
The many shades of the night sky during the winter solstice inspired Piaget’s latest high jewelry collection, presented in the house’s Rue de la Paix boutique. From the glimmer of pink at dusk to the inky blue of midnight, Piaget’s Solstice explores the play of light and color that take place during the longest night of the year. This Flamboyant Nightfall ring features a 7.89-carat cushion-cut Madagascar sapphire set in 18-karat white gold and surrounded by pear, marquise and brilliant-cut diamonds—the design’s center portion that includes the sapphire, meanwhile, can be removed so it can be worn as a solitaire ring. Price upon request; piaget.com
Creative director Vincenzo Castaldo was inspired by the hues that occur from sunrise to sunset in his latest La Gioia di Pomellato high-jewelry collection. “A Walk in Nature” explores not only how colors change with each passing hour, but also how light is reflected in the myriad elements that surround us. This Light Blue Reef Riviere necklace immediately inspires thoughts of the sun on a sparkling pool with its grouping of five baroque aquamarines, wonderfully tactile stones that total more than 150 carats, each wrapped in ropes of diamond pavé and offset with a diamond-accented chain of 18-karat white gold. Price upon request; pomellato.com
Prabal Gurung was on hand at the Ritz Paris for the debut of his latest collection for Tasaki Atelier, the Japanese pearl house’s designation for its high-jewelry collections. From waterfalls to pearl oysters or a rainbow after a storm, Gurung likewise looked to nature for influences to create his one-of-a-kind pieces, collectively known as Tasaki Atelier 5. Among the considerable strengths Gurung brings to his designs is his ability to mix elements of color and asymmetry with the beauty of pearls to create pieces that feel anything but traditional. This single earring blends Akoya and South Sea pearls with diamonds, fire opals, Paraiba tourmalines, yellow sapphires and other stones, all set in 18-karat white gold to create a flowing, romantic design that sits beautifully on the right ear. Price upon request; tasaki-global.com
Van Cleef & Arpels
Clara Gaudillere/Van Cleef & Arpels
Fans of Van Cleef & Arpels know that one of the house’s most seductive signatures is its mystery-set jewels, the lush look of stones artfully placed so the metal beneath all but disappears. Among the “Legend of Diamonds” 2022 high-jewelry collection was a tribute to this beloved design element, seen in a grouping dubbed “25 Mystery-Set Jewels.” Several designs employed the mystery-set technique to create pieces inspired by ribbons, richly rendered in rubies, sapphires or emeralds accented with diamonds, but among the stars of the collection was this “Chevron Mysterieux” necklace, which blends mystery settings in emeralds, sapphires and diamonds with the allure of transformable jewels. This necklace can be worn six ways, starting with the center pendant, which features a 31.24-carat pear-shaped diamond and detaches to be worn on its own chain, as well as the pendants featuring pear-shaped diamonds that flank the center—they can be detached and worn as earrings on a separate pair of mystery-set studs. Price upon request; vancleefarpels.com
Click here to see all the photos of the Best Jewelry of 2022.
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