By Maria Doulton
“Once I came up with the right approach, the design flowed very naturally,” says design director Rebecca Hawkins of the new ballet-inspired Pas de Deux collection of Boodles jewellery. Inspired by and created in close association with the Royal Ballet, the resulting collection of diamond jewellery - more than 30 pieces - flows with the liquid beauty of dance.
“I loved spectacular, grand productions such as Sleeping Beauty,” explains Hawkins of her long-time love of dance. “But what really inspired me were the contemporary pieces, when the performance is very pared down and it’s just the dancers in their costumes on stage. There is a purity there that I’m still especially attracted to. The experience of watching the combinations they make and the shapes they form is beautiful.”
Far from the cliché of tutus and sugar-sweet jewellery box ballerinas, this unflinchingly modern high jewellery collection picks up on the abstract shapes formed by the dancers’ bodies when performing a pas de deux. Extended limbs, strength and the intertwining of bodies is what Hawkins focussed on. “I wanted to give the impression of elongation, of bridge and of muscular tension,” explains Hawkins of her refreshing approach.
Jeannetta Laurence, associate director of the Royal Ballet, may as well have been talking about jewels when she described the perfect dance partnership: “As well as the physical aspects being in proportion, you need a harmonious mental approach, seamless empathy and a shared charisma.”
The new Boodles jewellery collection captures the grace of ballet - the moment of perfect balance created between two dancers that, in a beat, reconstructs to form a new shape. In the most dramatic of the necklaces, a line of single marquise diamonds rhythmically glide into a sweeping embrace, which culminates in a knife-edge crescendo. Gracious golden arches of a grand jeté give way to the arresting opposition of the tension of four perfect diamonds set point to point. Slender arms embrace kite-shaped diamonds; a prima ballerina viewed from the gods, throwing out flashes of light as she pirouettes across the stage.
Diamonds were the preferred stone with which Hawkins chose to convey the power, balance and purity of a perfectly synchronised duet. The polished, high-energy perfection of a dance is, after all, akin to the jeweller turning a rough diamond into the harmonious whole of a finished precious stone.
Hawkins was particularly drawn to the unusual kite-shaped diamond, as well as the elegantly elongated marquise, and the brilliant force of the scintillating Ashoka. This, of course, meant headaches for the diamond sourcing team as these cuts are notorious for the high amount of wastage of the rough. But, like in ballet, the greater the sacrifice, the more brilliant the result.
The Pas de Deux Inspired by The Royal Ballet high jewellery collection is all about the power of a partnership, be it between two dancers, or a jeweller and a ballet company. Drawing strength from each other, diamonds and dancers create a new story that speaks straight to our hearts - a moment of choreographed perfection captured forever in diamonds.