Original Pathé footage of Gabrielle Chanel's 1932 Bijoux de Diamants exhibition

An old Pathé newsreel covering Gabrielle Chanel's 1932 Bijoux de Diamants jewellery exhibition is a unique insight into the ephemeral yet seminal event.

Chanel-Collier-Comete-15-carats

30 January 2013

Fortunately for Chanel, an old Pathé newsreel has come to light covering the short-lived 1932 Bijoux de Diamants exhibition. The flickering black-and-white footage, with carefully scripted commentary in French, shows just how respected Mademoiselle Chanel was. Her exhibition of highly precious diamond jewels in a time when world economies were reeling from the Great Crash of 1930 caught the public's imagination. How could she be so audacious in such hard times?

There is the genius of Chanel, who, undaunted by hugely valuable diamonds, played with them with the ease she employed in her couture creations. 'Chanel brings diamonds back into vogue by marrying art and apparent casualness,' says the commentator, who is keen to point out that the wax mannequins wearing the jewels have real hair, untortured by perms. It is also clear that the world is in awe of Mademoiselle Chanel, who plays so lightly with such hefty carats. 'Only a woman can scatter precious stones so gracefully through the hair, with jewels cascading like gossamer ribbon,' remarks the commentator.

The footage shows us how Chanel draped diamonds across the forehead of the pretty wax mannequins and created rings that magically appear to float above the hand. An open necklace in the shape of a comet caresses the body. Watching the film - this glimpse into the past - enlightens the viewer to the fact that, in Gabrielle Chanel's hands, diamonds became flattering and beautiful, not cold status symbols or denominators of class. As if in defiance of her humble origins, Chanel took the ultimate symbol of wealth and made it her own.

Editor's Pick

The Jewellery Editor is for sale

Help us make the future bright

Since founding The Jewellery Editor in 2010, we have grown our digital magazine to be the number one global source of information and inspiration for fine jewellery and luxury watches.

3,500 articles, 150 videos with over 5 million views and a reach of over 2 million per month on social media later, we have offered unparalleled and highly respected coverage of our sector. However, despite our editorial success, we are financially struggling as an independent publisher.

Entirely funded, owned and run by Christine and Maria in London, we are now looking to sell The Jewellery Editor so that it can continue to grow. As e-commerce becomes a priority in our industry, we believe there is huge potential for engaging editorial content and are seeking a buyer who shares our values and passion so that under their guidance we can give a bright future to the platform and help us grow our business to the next stage.

If you are interested to discuss the above, please contact [email protected]

Alternatively, if you are willing to help, you can donate so that in the meantime, we can continue to publish more interesting content.

Terms and conditions

READ MORE

RECOMMENDED

MOST POPULAR

We use our own and third party cookies to improve your experience and our services. If you continue, we consider that you accept their use. You can get more information on your website at cookies policy.