By Maria Doulton
The summer months inevitably bring to mind thoughts of the beach and the deep blue shimmering sea beyond. So much so, this season the call of the ocean has encouraged more than one jeweller to present sea-inspired high jewellery collections. In fact, three of the big Maisons, Louis Vuitton, Van Cleef & Arpels and Tiffany have all coincided in making the deep a muse for their latest jewels. And the results are as refreshingly different as diving into the deep blue yonder.
The Louis Vuitton jewellery collection, entitled Acte V The Escape, is indeed all about the perfect escape, which almost inevitably involves water and, in particular, the sea. Each set of jewels is named after a famous resort or hotel from the golden age of travel, with names such as Excelsior and Capri, which echo the glamour of a bygone era. The high jewellery collection is predominantly blue, white and green thanks to sea-blue opals, milky pearls and rare stones such as minty tourmalines or African emeralds.
The impressive black opal at the centre of the Capri ring is like a crystallised slice of the Tyrrhenian Sea and, in particular, the famous Blue Grotto. Diamonds splash around the opal like sunshine on waves. The clean lines of the Excelsior earrings take us back to the 1930s and the symmetry and simplicity of the Art Deco era. And diamonds frame a triangle of glossy ocean-blue enamel, conjuring up the wake of a motorboat.
This year, the famous Blue Book from Tiffany & Co. is called The Art of the Sea and each and every jewel captures the beauty and allure of the ocean in myriad ways. From the undulating currents to the writhing shapes of its dwellers, the sea is very much in evidence in this year’s statement jewels. “Our Blue Book jewellery honours the sea as the ultimate source of life and beauty,” says Tiffany design director Francesca Amfitheatrof.
A creamy South Sea pearl and a 23.03ct tanzanite sit atop Tiffany jewellery rings, which mimic the rhythm of the waves or the wiggling forms of sea creatures. Look inside the ring and the gold back has been cut to replicate fish scales. The thrilling colours and fascinating diversity of a tropical coral reef are captured in two cuff bracelets. Miniature orange fish carved from spessartite garnet flit in and out of strands of seaweed and bubbles, at the centre of which glows a 21.04ct aquamarine. A magnificent 32.05ct rubelite crowns a lattice of diamonds that sit on a sea of pink sapphires, and the symmetry of fish scales is immortalised in a paving of blue sapphires that fade into diamonds to form a supremely elegant bracelet.
Van Cleef & Arpels dives into the Seven Seas with a charming array of unique jewellery pieces that explore the serenity of the world’s oceans and its spectacular inhabitants, as well as the drama and power of the waves. In true style, this Van Cleef & Arpels jewellery collection would not be complete without heart-meltingly cute little creatures. My favourites are the writhing Arabian Sea Starfish brooches, resplendent in pink sapphires and diamonds. And, from the Black Sea, the striking monochromatic Nageur fish, with flowing fins decorated with black spinels and diamonds. Mystery-setting, another Van Cleef & Arpels trademark, is deployed in the Vagues Mystérieuses clip to create swirling coils of sapphire waves crested with diamonds, sapphires and Paraìba tourmalines.
So, if you feel the summer is slipping away, drink in the beauty of these aquatic jewels that are here to stay, year in, year out.