Last week saw the return of Haute Couture in Paris, and alongside the show-stopping gowns parading down the catwalks, historic jewellery houses displayed an abundance of craftsmanship, beauty and elegance in their haute joaillerie presentations. From Boucheron’s magnificent archive-inspired collection to Chaumet’s diamond-adorned creations, there was more than a touch of decadence to the latest high jewellery collections. Here are the stand-out pieces you need to know about.
High Jewellery from Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week 2022
The Alchemist of Light
De Beers’ theme was the power of light, presented over two strands. Atomique celebrated diamonds in all their graphic glory – the hero piece an astonishing collar necklace, where a mesh of 1,907 diamonds culminates in a 18.57-carat diamond, creating De Beers’ most expensive gem presented at couture yet.
Light Rays, meanwhile, envisioned a sun rising above peaks in a dark, shadowy sky, executed via coloured titanium, white diamonds and dramatic black rhodium-plated gold. The pieces were cool and unexpected – think mismatched, articulated earrings and an orange yellow, square-emerald diamond jacket ring that draped over fingers – and all heralding a fresh, new chapter for De Beers.
The January collections at Boucheron always draw from the archives, and this year the historic Maison travelled back to August 1928, when the larger-than-life Maharajah of Patiala arrived in Paris with 40 servants and chests full of jewels, placing a gargantuan order of 149 designs from Louis Boucheron. Creative director Claire Choisne’s reimagining of this historic order is less about power and status than sensuality and reflection, all masterfully executed. Cue a magnificent, multilayered New Maharani Nacre suite that’s cast in a monochrome palette of white gold, diamonds, pearls, mother-of-pearls and rock crystal, while the lace-like Majestic Lotus choker is set with a 4.08-carat cushion cut diamond.
Cartier may have merely added pieces to its latest high jewellery collection, but the new creations really felt like a cementing of Cartier codes – namely geometry and transformability, but also paying homage to the beloved house mascots, from the panther to the snake. The latter finds figurative form in the Synesthésie necklace, where a 35.47-carat Columbian emerald hangs from a scaled mesh of emeralds, turquoise and diamonds. Another show-stopper is the ultra-graphic Victorienne necklace, a combination of starkly contrasting black lacquer and diamonds – the piece can also be transformed into a statement-making shoulder jewel.
Movement and vitality pulsed through Chaumet’s last collection of jewels – a theme that now extends to this latest presentation, which was inspired by the surging tides of the seas. Headlining the eight-piece capsule collection is a glorious, wave-like tiara, crafted from delicate white gold bands sparkling with 1,600 brilliant and step-cut diamonds, set in different directions for added movement. Meanwhile, the asymmetrical burst of diamonds emanating from a 6.05-carat diamond ring evokes a splash, captured in an instant, as another medley of stones – in various cuts, topped by a 3.57-carat pear-shaped diamond – spill from a sparkling three-strand necklace.
Chanel isn’t unveiling its high jewellery collection until May, but the house still made its presence felt: this jaw-dropping Allure Celeste necklace offers a hint of things to come for its much-anticipated 1932 collection, which celebrates 90 years of Bijoux de Diamants, Coco Chanel’s first and only ever high jewellery collection. Expect an ode to the celestial symbols and numbers so beloved by Chanel, as encapsulated in this enormous oval-cut sapphire that evokes the moon, its custom-cut 55.55 carats parlaying her favourite number. Comet and sun motifs further radiate from the design, all of which can be transformed into brooches.
The Taiwanese designer looked to nature – namely fruit, foliage and feathers – in the exquisite, 3D-like jewels that see Chao now develop her sculptural signature with innovative new materials, whether manipulating titanium or exploring light-activated resin. Two emerald-cut, dark brown-yellow diamonds in a pair of Fruit earrings are enveloped in a pave of diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, alexandrites and colour-changing garnets; meanwhile, a pair of white and yellow diamond Foliage earrings channeled January’s wintry mood.
Exceptional, rare stones are de rigueur for couture but David Morris – who opted to show in its London flagship – infused its designs with new-age coloured titanium, which gave its gems a truly colour-saturated feel (not to mention ultra lightness). Cue a pair of Evergreen earrings with 27 carats of emeralds that exude an almost neon quality when set in green titanium, further offset by white diamonds. Elsewhere, a Tetras bangle delivers modern geometry thanks to layered chevrons of turquoise and diamonds, which meet in a stunning 10-carat Madagascan blue sapphire.
Delicate braids and couture ribbon were the muses behind this ultra-feminine, 81-piece collection, where diamond-set strands entwined centre stones and looped their way around dainty chokers and bracelets. There was a touch of the #neckmess craze for layering here, but in super precious, unexpected style, as necklaces and cuffs were fashioned from diamond-set strands in various cuts – one necklace mixed nine different varieties, the florets contrasting zig-zags, offsetting baguettes. Men’s brooches and cufflinks also debuted for the first time in Dior high jewellery, adding another twist to the collection.
Bravery Chapter II
The French fashion house continued its celebration of Mr Louis Vuitton’s life in this second installment of Bravery, which turned to the iconic LV trunk for inspiration. Distinct brand motifs were reiterated in the likes of the lock-inspired Le Multiplin, and headlined by a triple-strand necklace set with a rainbow of 100 coloured stones totalling over 100 carats, topped with a 42.42-carat lagoon blue tourmaline. Meanwhile, a diamond-set, chain-style necklace embodies all the sophisticated architecture of the Louis Vuitton trunk, topped with three custom diamonds cut in the house star monogram (one of which weighs 3.34 carats alone).