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Baselworld 2014: jewellery preview

With just a week to go until Baselworld opens its doors, enjoy a preview of some of the magnificent jewels that will be vying for our attention.

18 March 2014

By Claire Roberts in London

The main exhibition space at Baselworld is devoted to brands such as Chopard, Bulgari and Harry Winston with a strong international presence, but it is quite possible to get lost in the smaller halls. Which is all part of the fun at this annual extravaganza of watches and jewellery in Switzerland.

There is always plenty to amaze while browsing the independent brands in the jewellery-only halls. Anyone passing Sutra's stand will be stopped in their tracks when they spot the Paraiba tourmaline jewels that this colourful brand will be launching at the fair. The show-stopping earrings alone are set with 39 carats of blue-green Paraibas the colour of a tropical sea.

I am looking forward to meeting Swiss jeweller Shawish's bespoke Octopus bracelet, which is fitted with an innovative light system that illuminates the gemstones from beneath. Time will tell how the technology works, but this glowing creature of the deep, with a perfect pink pearl decorating its head and marquise diamonds for eyes, is destined to be a talking point.

Greek jeweller Nikos Koulis has added some deliciously spiky new designs to his Spectrum collection, contrasting colour and texture with baguette-cut emeralds and turquoise cabochons in one particularly dangerous-looking ring. And Hong Kong-based designer Wendy Yue will be unveiling a whole new colony of colourful airborne critters, including an elaborate butterfly whose gem-set wings drape all the way round the neck.

Back in the main hall, Stephen Webster will be bringing a generous dose of humour to the proceedings with a new collection of one-off pieces that celebrates the best of British history, culture and design. His magnificent Magnipheasant suite capture the bird's iridescent plumage in red garnets, pink tourmalines, amethysts, blue topaz, peridots, citrines and black diamonds and will be joined by other jewels with quintessentially British themes, including thorns and - unbelievably - baked pilchards. 




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