In the wake of big anniversary celebrations at heritage houses like Boucheron, De Beers, and Cartier, this year marks yet more milestones in the world of high jewelry, with Buccellati fêting its 100th birthday and Piaget its 145th.
Even so, all eyes were on the newcomer to the Place Vendôme: Gucci stepped into the arena with (what else?) a spirited mash-up of styles and stones. Elsewhere, Louis Vuitton staged a comeback of sorts, and a scattering of indies held small but strong showings. The major takeaways: desert-inspired colors, a lashing of humble minerals not ordinarily associated with high jewelry, and a renaissance for the pear cut. Here, some of the season’s major statements.
The house’s first-ever high jewelry collection is called Hortus Deliciarum—a Garden of Delights—after a 12th-century illuminated manuscript. Still, the 200-piece showing was above all an of-this-moment salute to magpie maximalism, neatly reprising Alessandro Michele’s signatures in stones assembled in a riot of flora, fauna, and classic symbols of love like Cupid’s arrow.
Cartier staged a mash-up of its own, pairing diamonds and emeralds with rutilated quartz, sapphires, opals, pink diamonds, and morganite. Here: the Magnitude necklace with 107-plus carats of Mozambique ruby beads mixed with cabochon rubies, watercolor tourmalines, turquoise amazonites, onyx, and diamonds.
The first house to set up on the Place Vendôme used its perch in its newly revamped flagship to offer a collection called Paris As Seen From #26. Several pieces saluted the shape of the Place itself, including the Duo ring with two emerald-cut beryls weighing over 31 carats each, diamond pavé, and black lacquer.
Reconnecting with nature and tapping into its mystery was an oft-cited inspiration on the runway. A sculptor by training, the indie designer Ana Khouri weighed in on the “interconnectedness of things” with these responsibly sourced, fair-trade diamond and pear-cut emerald creeper earrings: “My work is a way for me to communicate harmony, knowing my place in the world and being present to that,” she said.
A collection called Portraits of Nature was the largest De Beers has shown to date, and it centered on a play of color and texture. As its name suggests, the Knysna Chameleon necklace is a shade-shifter: The double row of tonal rough diamonds around the white baguette diamond necklace can be removed, as can the tassel with a five-carat pear-cut diamond drop.
Charlotte Dauphin de la Rochefoucauld is celebrating her house’s fifth anniversary by revisiting the classics, venturing into emeralds, and keeping it personal. “I was thinking about pieces that have many lives, that you pass from one generation to the next,” she told Vogue about the collection she presented in her family’s hôtel particulier. Though generally at home with rigorous lines, the designer paired those with diamond parabolas on the earrings shown exclusively here.
The Italian house celebrated its centenary with new takes on house signatures including the Gotico cuff—a tribute to the rosettes found in Gothic cathedrals, in white and yellow gold with 249 diamonds—and the Cnosso pendant, a labyrinthine motif with, at its center, a diamond in the newly developed “Buccellati cut,” which, like the modern round brilliant diamond, has 57 facets.
The contemporary fine jewelry brand Messika presented a sophomore outing called Born to be Wild—an anything-but-tame lineup primarily in white and yellow diamonds. One statement maker: the Fire Diamonds ear cuff with eight fancy yellow cushion-cut diamonds.
Finally, after two seasons of suspense, Louis Vuitton revealed the first high jewelry collection by Francesca Amfitheatrof, its new artistic director for jewelry and watches. The Riders of the Knights collection looked to medieval times, mining its heraldry, characters, and codes for modern-day “armor.”
A classical cellist turned jewelry designer, Anna Hu unveiled a collection called Silk Road Music, which features a transformable necklace with a whopping 100-carat fancy yellow diamond, one of the largest diamonds in the world. Her Rachmaninov bracelet, shown here, features diamonds, sapphires, tourmalines, garnets, tsavorites, spinel, and ruby in some 20 iterations—for a total of 1,361 stones in all.
For its 145th anniversary, Piaget presented the desert-inspired Golden Oasis collection headlined by the Golden Hour necklace, which is set with a 6.63-carat fancy vivid yellow diamond surrounded by 102 marquise-cut yellow and white diamonds and a further 139 brilliant-cut diamonds.
Van Cleef & Arpels
Benjamin Millepied’s contemporary adaptation of Romeo and Juliet was the cue for a jewelry collection that, in addition to the figurative pieces for which the house is renowned, nods to other influences, Picasso among them. The Lovers’ Path bracelet is anchored by three very rare Colombian emeralds, and the Kiss on the Balcony earrings star rubies and diamonds, plus removable pendants.