Timed to coincide with Haute Couture Week, Haute Joaillerie Week in Paris is one of the most important times of year for the top international jewellers. Just like the fashion houses – which, every July, send their finest haute couture creations down the catwalks – the most respected Maisons launch collections of high jewellery in the French capital that they have spent all year, and often much longer, creating.
The esteemed Giampiero Bodino took over a suite at the freshly renovated Ritz Hotel on Place Vendôme to showcase his latest jewels, while Piaget debuted its new Sunny Side of Life collection at the glamorous Potocki Mansion. And if the surrounds weren’t sumptuous enough, Chaumet put on a catwalk show of its own in the serene, sculpture-filled setting of the Musée Bourdelle.
Of the hundreds of new jewels we saw in Paris, we have chosen our top five. Sit back and enjoy the show, which, in true haute joaillerie style, includes some super-sized jewels set with rare gems, all united by exceptional creativity.
Maison Giampiero Bodino
It was love at first sight with the Rosa dei Venti necklace, with its 38.08ct mandarin garnet shooting an arrow straight to my heart. The luscious orange smoulder of the conker-sized garnet, around which are clustered blood red spinels and hot pink and sassy purple sapphires, injects high-power voltage into a necklace with echoes of Renaissance court jewels. This is the magic of Giampiero Bodino, who takes historical references and injects them with new life and joyous beauty.
The Offrandes d’été necklace from La Nature de Chaumet perfectly captures a late summer moment, when the sun-swelled ears of wheat are ripe with seed. Though a much-used symbol in jewellery, and particularly so this year, this Chaumet diamond necklace is so fresh you can almost smell the sweet hay.
Mellerio dits Meller
The biggest surprise at Paris Fashion Week this year came from Mellerio. This revered and ancient house, a bastion of French jewellery, presented a collection of outstandingly bright and delectable cocktail rings.
Mrs Mellerio, recently appointed Creative Director and wife of the owner, presented her first collection, which promises a bright future for this historic maison. The peacock feather ring does more than just look wonderful: the central part of the ring, detaches to be worn as a pendant or brooch.
Bold and brave, Louis Vuitton’s Blossom high jewellery collection shows just how the famous four petal symbol, first seen on Vuitton’s trunks in the 1890s, can be a potent motif in jewellery.
Add to this Vuitton’s obsession with rare stones and the result is dramatic, as seen in this necklace, which features a luminous 43ct vanadium beryl – I bet you have never seen one of those before – with the milky softness of lavender chalcedony. I could definitely take on the world wearing this necklace.
With its adorably catchy name, Piaget’s new high jewellery collection, Sunny Side of Life, was like a shot of tequila for the senses. Divided into three themes – sunlight, lush nature and poolside – the joyful colour palette of tropical blues and yellows, rich greens, hot pinks and turquoise brought a smile to my face. However, it was Piaget’s flamboyant use of feathers that really took my breath away.
A collaboration with Nelly Saunier, a master in the decorative art of feather marquetry, the spray of plumage on this beautiful cuff is accompanied by a sunshine-bright yellow sapphire, rays of baguette-cut spessartite garnets and marquise-cut pink sapphires and spinels.