Necklaces are the pinnacle of high jewellery collections. The largest of the jewels, the very best of the best is lavished on necklaces as it is here that the designers, gem sourcing team and master jewellers come together to create the masterpieces of each high jewellery collection.
This summer’s high jewellery collections revealed some awe-inspiring creations in a range of styles to suit the changing tastes of a new generation of jewellery connoisseurs. From our recent travels, we have chosen thirteen necklaces that stood out for being both original and memorable and utterly gorgeous.
One of the most impressive and innovative high jewellery collections of summer 2022 is Boucheron’s Carte Blanche Ailleurs (above). Pushing the boundaries of design and materials, Boucheron leads the pack in making high jewellery relevant and exciting, which is exactly what this art is all about. The more goose bumps the better. Hard to choose just one stand-out piece from this pioneering yet aching beautiful collection but the Galet Diamant takes the prize for its genius use of unexpected materials. The Galet Diamant necklace is crafted from hollowed-out pebbles and set with diamonds in this otherworldly necklace that dares to juxtapose the humble beach pebble with the mighty diamond.
Bulgari’s Mediterranean Reverie (above) has to be included in this line up as the necklace is one of the most valuable jewels ever created by the Roman jeweller, and that’s saying something. A magnificent sea-blue 107.15-carat cushion-cut Sri Lankan sapphire is suspended from a platinum chain entirely set with baguette-cut sapphires and hundreds of diamonds. This dazzling jewel captures the drama of diamond drops of water splashed into the air above a sapphire pool.
Pierre Hardy, creative director at Hermès attempts the impossible by giving substance to the elusive by capturing shadows. Gemstones are surrounded by soft forms, amplifying, highlighting and even protecting, playing tricks on the eye as do the lengthening shadows of the day. The brown diamond Collier Fouet Ombré (above) has its very own blue sapphire shadow, adding an intriguing twist to one of Hardy’s best-known necklace designs. Very Hermès with a healthy dollop of irreverence.
Pomellato’s third high jewellery collection called A Walk in Nature, from sunrise to darkness, features a handful of powerful necklaces including The Velvet Tie Chain (above) that captures the moment of transition from light to shadows in dramatic monochromatic jewels. This wrap-around necklace is a sophisticated interpretation of Art Deco jewellery with two flexible gold mesh chains that loop around the neck from which provocatively dangle two jet pendants adorned with diamond-set roundels and garnet cabochons.
Ninety years on from Gabrielle’s daring and only high jewellery collection called Bijoux de Diamants launched at the height of the Great Depression, Chanel takes the celestial motifs of the original jewels as seen in the dramatic Allure Céleste diamond and sapphire necklace (above), one of the highlights of this opulent collection. Like her couture, Gabrielle Chanel wanted the jewels to be comfortable to wear as well as elegant so she did away with clasps and even managed to make the jewellery was transformable. The idea was that each jewel should slip on the body with the ease of little black dress. The diamonds were on loan to her from the London Diamond Corporation (LDC) that was looking to add sparkle to the lacklustre jewellery market and unfortunately most of the pieces were dismantled after the exhibition and the diamonds returned to the LDC. But the memory of them lives on this homage to the daring of Mademoiselle Chanel, the first woman to ever design a high jewellery collection.
Read more about the original 1932 Bijoux de Diamants collection here.
Van Cleef & Arpels celebrates its famous savior-faire with twenty five Mystery Set jewels featuring exquisite diamonds and luscious colour gemstones. The Atours Mystérieux necklace (above) is a tour de force both for the quality of the stones as well as the craftsmanship. The central 79.53-carat diamond is surrounded by Traditional and Individual Mystery Set rubies, two variants of the house speciality of setting stones with no metal visible. Like many of Van Cleef & Arpel’s jewels, it is transformable and the central diamond can be replaced with a Mystery Set ruby piece.
As its name suggests, the Graffabulous jewels are stunning. The yellow and white pear-shape diamond necklace (above) features a 22-carat detachable yellow diamond drop along with 73.15 carats of yellow diamonds 74.52 carats of white diamonds. It is one of 50 jewels the London house displayed in their Parisian boutique that hosted a dizzying display of 3,600 carats of diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires.
Gucci presents a third chapter of its Hortus Deliciarum high jewellery (above), once again under the design of Creative Director Alessandro Michele. Opulent, maximalist and saturated with colour, the theme is an imaginary Grand Tour, a journey through time around the world. Starting in the mid-1800’s and culminating in the 1970’s this quirky and eclectic collection features a wide array of styles from antique micro mosaic plaques to a groovy emerald chain necklace which is our favourite.
Victoire de Castellane at Dior shook up the world of high jewellery over twenty years ago with her neon bright, quirky irreverent take on these most precious of creations. This year’s Dior Print collection (above) follows the thread of previous themes that are linked to the world of couture as she recreates abstract interpretations of fabric prints in gemstones. The emerald necklace mimics a tie-dye colour graduation as white diamonds melt into green ones and then transition seamlessly into emeralds for a lush colour-crush effect that has despite its tumbling form has its own informal harmony.
The Alchemist of Light collection is a complete change of direction for De Beers with design at the forefront of each creation. The collection includes striking and daring designs such as the stand-out Optical Wonder diamond necklace (above). Céline Assimon, CEO of De Beers Jewellers says: ‘The Alchemist of Light High Jewellery collection represents the most creatively and technically ambitious collection we have ever conceived and crafted. It incorporates exceptional diamonds in white and fancy colours, including some specially selected from our Natural Works of Art collection. Our design studio, collaborating with our specialist craftspeople, has created individual pieces that are truly wearable works of art.’ The Optical Wonder necklace is inspired by the Op Art of the French-Hungarian artist Victor Vasarely. Black aluminium ‘beads’ create a strong geometry and mesmerising sculptural shapes with graphic diamond pave stripes running through the beads. A vibrant 3-carat fancy intense yellow diamond sits at its centre.
Each year Chopard unveils its Red Carpet high jewellery at the Cannes Film Festival where celebrities wear the jewels to the nightly screenings and parties, each step of the way captured by paparazzi from around the world. The "Peace and Love" pendant (above) is a light-hearted yet highly valuable necklace decorated with flowers created from sapphires, amethysts, tsavorites, garnets and diamonds. The intense colours are achieved with almost 600 carats of gemstones, notably peridots, tsavorites and apatites and testament to the confidence with which Chopard designs highly valuable jewels that are made to be enjoyed and worn with a smile.
Chaumet, the Place Vendôme jeweller has been inspired by water in its myriad forms since the 18th century but this is the first time that it has dedicated an entire high jewellery collection to the sea. The Fleur d’Eau diamond necklace (above) is a shimmering spectacle that evokes the swell and rhythm of the waves with marquise cut diamonds tumbling down the décolleté in a lilting wave pattern. Totally articulated it drapes softly on the skin and the 7.18-carat diamond can be detached and the necklace can also be transformed into two brooches.
Piaget captures the magic of the longest day of the year in the Solstice collection. Intensely saturated gemstones, light as air mounts and movement bring to life the joy of a never-ending night. All the jewels are made in the house’s Geneva ateliers including the Precious Adornment necklace with a 9.2 carat Zambian emerald (above) or the Flamboyant Night Fall necklace features a pear-shape detachable 15-carat Sri Lankan sapphire pendant suspended from a highly flexible diamond collar.