By Maria Doulton in London
Raphaele Canot has launched her eponymous jewellery brand with two small diamond collections. And when I say small, I mean really small as both the Set Free and the Skinny Deco jewels are all very petite and dainty, much like Canot herself.
One look at the collection, which is exclusive to Dover Street Market, the hippest retailer in London's Mayfair, and it is clear that Canot is having fun with diamonds and making them young, sexy and fresh.
"I wanted to break free from the traditional approach to diamond jewellery so I decided to pierce the diamonds," explains Canot of the Set Free collection. "Piercing a diamond is like slashing an haute couture gown. I don't want people to see the setting and create the effect of a piece of light strung on a thread of gold."
By piercing brilliant-cut diamonds, Canot allows the stone to float as free as a beam of sunshine, bereft of claws or metal anchors, suspended only by a small hook. Canot is wearing the Set Free earrings and they are constantly jiggling, throwing off flashes of light with the slightest move. "Set like this you don't need a big diamond to create a big effect," explains Canot. The Set Free rings are simple gold bands embellished with a diamond dangling over the finger. Canot is wearing two, one stacked on top of the other.
On her wrist are three of her Skinny Deco bracelets, which she wears as informally as friendship bands. For these bracelets, Canot has taken instantly recognisable Art Deco jewellery motifs, such as the geometric links of a necklace, and put them on a slender gold chain. In one glance you recognise the shape but at the same time are surprised by a flash of colour. Each bracelet has a filet of red, blue or white enamel, which Canot likens to a woman wearing make-up or nail polish. The classic eternity ring is revamped with a dash of bright red enamel on its edge.
These jewels may be new but Canot has worked in jewellery design for the past 18 years at both Cartier and De Beers, where she was in charge of design and responsible for ground-breaking collections such as Talisman, an approach that took rough diamonds mainstream. "I wanted to break the rules," says Canot of the Set Free collection. "The brilliant cut is a symbol of the 'forever' nature of diamonds, but in the name of style it is time to set it free and show it in a new light."