Arguably the most important platform for the world’s watch and jewellery industry, the annual Baselworld show is a hotbed of jewellery trends for the coming year.
While each of the 1,500 or so brands has its own distinctive handwriting, some unifying threads always run through the array of luxury jewellery on display. Jewels with a sense of movement are both fun to wear and beautiful to look at, while the attention to technical detail behind these playful baubles never fails to amaze.
It is hard to believe that it is four decades since the innovative Chopard Happy Diamonds collection was first launched. One of its most memorable jewellery designs, the diamonds that spin freely under a sapphire glass crystal was the brainchild of co-president Caroline Scheufele. The new addition to the Chopard jewellery collection, entitled Happy Dreams, is inspired by fluffy clouds and features white diamonds dancing freely on top of shimmering mother-of-pearl circles. The moving diamonds are larger than before, while the new prong setting reflects the light in a way that gives them an unprecedented sparkle.
Jewellery Theatre also unveiled a colourful spinning ring set with blue and pink sapphires and spinels as part of its intricately crafted Lace collection. Director Alexandra Ushamirskaya says: “Our new collection was a result of several months of research into the history of lace. After visiting the small town of Le Puy-en-Velay in France, our designer became fascinated with the traditional ‘bobbin lace’ technique where a lot of braiding and twisting takes place in order to create the delicate web-like patterns. The movement we have created in this spinning Lace ring is a nod to this exquisite lace-making process, which these highly skilled artisans have truly mastered to perfection.”
Colour still prevails in the world of high jewellery, but last year’s blue tones have been usurped by green, which was the dominant hue in many jewellery collections this year. Emeralds are the undisputed king of the gemstones, and velvety Colombian emeralds are universally considered to be a cut above the rest. Baselworld 2016 saw the much-anticipated launch of Muzo Emerald as a branded supplier of ethically sourced and traceable Colombian emeralds.
At Italian jeweller Alessio Boschi, a vivid green Zambian emerald commanded centre stage in the architecturally inspired Palace Frieze ring.
The stunning emerald ring is part of the Historica Collection, which features jewels inspired by the architecture and decorative structures from different historical and artistic eras. This particular ring takes its cue from the Maharajah Palace of Jodhpur, India’s last great palace that was completed in 1943.
Garrard chose to update its Tudor Rose jewellery collection with a blast of colour, courtesy of a trio of green gemstones - peridots, tsavorites and tourmalines - surrounded by diamond pavé petals. The first Garrard collection by head of design Sara Prentice, Tudor Rose was launched in 2013 and the floral theme is inspired by the heraldic symbol of Great Britain.
The revival of the 90s choker was one of the biggest jewellery trends on the Spring/Summer 2016 catwalks, but at Baselworld, some jewellers took the idea one step further with elaborate collar necklaces that envelope the whole neck in precious metals and gemstones. The Rare Touch collection by New York-based Jacob & Co includes a regal choker that sheathes the neck in finely crafted gold mesh set with round-cut white diamonds. The diamond-encrusted fastenings at the back mean that an elegant chignon is the perfect hairstyle to complement this magnificent jewel.
YOKO London has also created a red-carpet-worthy collar necklace as part of its Masterpiece collection, which is set with more than 60 South Sea pearls ranging in size from 9-14mm, as well as round-cut white diamonds.
These are just three of the jewellery trends that caught our eye at this year’s Baselworld extravaganza. Over the coming weeks we will be bringing you more exclusive insights on the latest launches and innovations in the world of luxury jewellery and watches.
Chopard Happy Dreams pendant with a mother-of-pearl background, and both prong-set and mobile diamonds (£21,070).