Biennale des Antiquaires Jewellery Special

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Stroll to the Grand Palais in Paris and the Biennale de Antiquaires in Paris is in full swing. Under the soaring glass arches of the steel and glass construction from the turn of the century, 100 elite antiquarians, art dealers and of course, jewellers will be showing their most precious wares. Now in it's 25th edition the Biennale des Antiquaires has become one of, if not the most important coming together of high jewellery: exquisite one-off creations that show off both the mastery of the jeweller and the rarest and most beautiful of gems. Jewellery is not new to the Biennale des Antiquaires but this is the first year for Vuitton, a newcomer to the world of haute joaillerie and Piaget, better known for its jewellery watches. Vuitton, that only began making high jewellery last year presents two collections: L'Ame des Voyages and La Malle aux Tresors, all designed by the increasingly high profile jewellery Lorenz Baümer. Fleeting moments of connection with different cultures are the inspiration for extravagant creations such as the necklace above. I was lucky enough to see the collections earlier this summer and what most stood out was from all seven collections was the variety and amount of unusual stones creating new effects and unexpected colour combinations. Take Van Cleef & Arpel's Maximus elephant brooch (above) from the Jules Verne themed 'Les Voyages Extraordinaires' collection, here the centre stone is not the classic diamond or emerald but a sizeable Imperial Topaz found only in one mine in Brazil and named for the Portuguese monarch's visit to the South American country. Cartier has found inspiration in birds, water and feathers to create a soflty hued topiary of exquisite bejewelled birds such as the ring in which a diamond encrusted bird curls around an unusual coloured yellow sapphire. Harry Winston, normally can be relied on for an all-white extravaganza of diamonds. But not this year. Playing with a wider spectrum of stones and colours are surprises like this mandarine garnet necklace. I am not sure that 'mandarin garnets are a girl's best friend' has the same ring to it as Monroe's original cooing but a necklace like this shows that diamonds are not the only stones to steal the limelight. Dior maverick jewellery designer Victoire de Castellane will be presenting a very feminine collection of rose jewellery called Précieuse Rose collection (above) that burst with colour. Look out for Victoire at the Biennale with her trademark Cleopatra hair style and huge smile. Chanel bring back the past with a collection of diamond jewellery based on Gabrielle Chanel's beloved feathers. Inspired by the Bijoux en Diamants collection of 1932, the subtly of design and mastery of workmanship as  Gabrielle  herself would have insisted on. Piaget is taking a light-hearted and festive approach with the cocktail inspired rings such as the Cosmopolitan Inspiration below. And not yet seen, but apparently there will be 'eclair' rings and other sweet jewellery treats chez Piaget.

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