PARIS — For many jewelers, not all roads lead to Paris this week.
Instead, some opted for a change of scenery to introduce post-Covid collections, several of which were bigger, bolder and featured even more important gems than in pre-lockdown times.
“It’s like a high jewelry coming out party as societies start to reopen,” Paul Zimnisky, a prominent diamond analyst, said in an email from New York.
Citing a significant accumulation of wealth (particularly among the already rich) during the pandemic, a search for safe havens amid record global inflation, and a backdrop of geopolitical uncertainty not seen since the Cold War, Zimnisky said, “it is like all the stars they are aligning for the high jewelry market”.
Last month, Cartier unveiled its Récif, or reef necklace, with fluted coral balls and emeralds wound around a diamond rope, part of a 90-jewel collection called Beautés du Monde, in Madrid. The event, which spanned 19 days, saw well-heeled guests mingling with celebrities including Golshifteh Farahani, Vanessa Kirby and K-Pop star Jisoo at a gala at the 18th-century Liria Palace, or singing along to musical performances. Live from Black Eyed. Peas or Rita Ora.
He was not the only traditional jeweler who chose to reveal a destination.
For Van Cleef & Arpels, the avant-garde Palais Bulles, a sprawling Riviera complex once used by Pierre Cardin as a vacation home, was the backdrop for the debut last month of its La Perlée fine jewelry collection. But the house also used the occasion to show Perles d’Été, a collection of 12 unique high jewels inspired by the Mediterranean, using turquoise and other ornamental stones combined with diamonds or sapphires.
Jewelry brands attached to major fashion houses offered luxury experiences reminiscent of the lavish cruise and resort shows held annually in exotic locations around the world.
Having traveled to Prague, Capri and Monaco for previous high jewelery presentations, Louis Vuitton this year invited its guests to Marrakech, where Francesca Amfitheatrof, its creative director of jewelery and watches, exhibited Spirit, its fourth collection for the house. At the Dar el Bacha Confluences Museum in the Medina, the brand displayed 80 of the 120 planned jewels, a “first chapter” that is already the house’s largest jewelery collection to date. The company said it would file the rest later this year.
Its most important piece, the brand said, is an articulated openwork choker with a 10.28-carat emerald-cut ruby from Mozambique. The necklace consists of three rows of converging V-shapes in taille-sur-oeuvre (custom-cut) gold set with diamonds in the house’s signature Monogram flower and star cuts and triangular cuts, interspersed with eight pear-cut rubies.
Comes with a complementary ring set with a 2.16 carat emerald cut diamond; both jewels are designed so that the center stones can be interchanged between the two. In the same group, a pair of flexible diamond vine earrings wind from the lobe to the top of the ear and are fastened with a ruby clip.
Meanwhile, Dior displayed some 300 jewels during a five-day event in Taormina, Sicily. Around a third were from Dior Print, a high jewelery collection designed by Victoire de Castellane and inspired by haute couture embellishments and motifs such as checks and flowers. It is also the house’s largest jewelry collection to date.
The Dior Print collection was shown in a catwalk show and subsequently on models arranged in living tableaus in the terraced gardens of the Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo. But Ms. de Castellane also orchestrated a new cross-pollination between the house’s jewelery and fashion businesses by incorporating couture looks specially designed by Maria Grazia Chiuri, Dior’s creative director of women’s collections. Customers could order clothes and buy jewelry on the spot.
The third chapter of Gucci’s Hortus Deliciarum collection from the company’s creative director, Alessandro Michele, was also shown last month at Villa Albani in Rome. Described in the designer’s notes as a “memory of memories,” the 200-piece collection features a maximalist mix of influences stretching from the Grand Tours of the 19th century to the 1970s. A micro-mosaic of the Basilica of Saint Peter, for example, is set in the middle of a necklace of stars in diamonds and blue and yellow sapphires.
But how can such luxurious events be profitable?
“The biggest brands have everything to gain by scaling fixed costs to compete. The bigger the event, the better. Furthermore, it is real-world events that seem to generate the biggest buzz on social media,” Luca Solca, a luxury analyst at research firm Sanford C. Bernstein, wrote in an email.
“What you want to do, as a big brand, is spend so much that less and less brands can follow you. The point is to make money from the business as a whole, while casting huge shadows on brands that can’t afford to stay in the game,” he said.
Still, other Place Vendôme jewelers are keen to show they have game.
Bulgari presented its Eden collection, The Garden of Wonders, at its Place Vendôme flagship in early June. Although more than 30 jewels focused on emeralds, an exuberant necklace called Flowers of Eden, set with tourmalines, carnelians, amethysts, emeralds, diamonds and mother-of-pearl, perfectly summed up the trend of the season to use ornamental stones, fine and precious, all In followed.
Of the houses that had gone on tour, only Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels said they would make presentations during the current haute couture week in Paris.
At Van Cleef & Arpels, the 910-carat Lesotho Legend rough diamond produced 67 diamonds, now on display in the 25-piece Legends of Diamonds collection. Traditional and individual mystery setting techniques in which the metal setting becomes invisible to the eye were used to craft Atours Mystérieux, a transformable ruby and diamond necklace inspired by pieces from her archive: the 1938 Collerette necklace and a similar design created for Queen. Nazli from Egypt the following year.
The jewel features an oval cut diamond weighing over 79 carats, nestled in a spiral of rubies and diamonds. It can be removed and replaced with a mystery setting item in rubies and diamonds; Both pieces can also be worn separately on a chain.
Around 40 pieces from the first chapter of Cartier’s Beautés du Monde collection will go on display at the Ritz Paris on Wednesday. Among them is the Artios necklace, a neo-Art Deco style with 16 Colombian emeralds totaling 41.34 carats mounted on an openwork diamond chain in a variety of cuts with onyx accents.
In May, Chanel reopened its flagship store on Place Vendôme following a multimillion-dollar renovation by Peter Marino that more than doubled its floor space. And while the house will welcome clients to its grand salon overlooking the square for private events, this week it presents its latest collection, called 1932, at the Grand Palais Éphémère, in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.
Marking the 90th anniversary of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel’s first foray into high jewelry, the 77-piece collection repeats celestial themes in chapters called Comet, Moon and Sun. They all converge, however, in the Allure Celeste necklace. , anchored by a 55.55-carat oval sapphire set in a diamond crescent moon. Detachable diamond kites and halos can be worn separately as a bracelet or as three styles of brooches. The house said the piece could be worn 20 different ways.
But in a season that generally seems very much “more is more”, some houses, including Hermès, Boucheron, Chaumet, De Beers and Pomellato, focused on playing unexpected contrasts, for example, mixing humble materials with precious materials, or develop innovative techniques.
With Les Jeux de l’ombre, a 53-piece collection for Hermès, Pierre Hardy did both, using rough diamonds, crystals, spessartites, aquamarines, tsavorites, and mother-of-pearl marquetry in Couleurs du Jour, a necklace inspired by the windows. glass in the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris. He also devised an invisible mechanism that allows the piece to open and close; can also be worn from back to front.
“In general, the jewels are presented all at once. This necklace, on the other hand, is like a little theater of light and shadow,” Hardy said during an interview.
In the same spirit, a ring with twin discs, in rose gold, diamonds, black jade and chalcedony, has a hidden pivot under a central moonstone, allowing it to be worn on one finger or expanded into a two-finger ring. “Like an eclipse,” Hardy said.
For her Carte Blanche collection this year, called Ailleurs, Boucheron artistic director Claire Choisne said imaginary journeys inspired her to draw on the feathers, flowers and shells used in different cultures around the world, revisiting, for example, the bird of paradise as a set of head jewelry. with amethysts, orange and yellow sapphires, pink and violet stones and orange lacquer on titanium.
Elsewhere, Ms. Choisne used hand-stitched flattened wicker woven with gold thread as a frame for a sculptural front-closure necklace called Rotin Diamant. The piece has a two-carat center diamond and is set with 2,370 smaller diamonds weighing nearly 95 carats. Mother-of-pearl was also the basis for a striking bib necklace printed with tattoo-like helical shells; the bib can be detached from a twist-knotted choker in Japanese burnt wood partially set in pavé diamonds.
Lately, De Beers has been experimenting with anodized titanium and aluminum and diamond pavé as flakes for its white and fancy diamonds. A seven-piece set called Optical Wonder pays homage to the work of Victor Vasarely, leader of the Op Art movement, in black and white or pink, as in a ring set with an elegant hot pink diamond from the house’s Natural Works of Art. collection.
Chaumet continues to explore the theme of waves and the sea, now with an expanded palette of colors and stones. Grey, mauve and olive pearls, diamonds and sapphires in a riot of colors are mixed in the Comètes des Mers necklace. Various sizes of spinel run along the top edge of the Escales necklace, whose diamond band is set with gradient blue Paraiba sapphires and tourmalines.
However, this season may belong to diamonds, as traditional jewelers like Graff and newcomers like Messika, as well as independent designers like Cindy Chao and Anna Hu, introduce their biggest and brightest stones yet. .
Mr. Zimnisky, the diamond analyst, said the industry had seen “a remarkable increase in sales of rare diamonds, including the highest quality fancy colored diamonds priced in excess of $1 million.”
“These exceptional diamonds are important to the larger natural diamond industry, as the big stones sell the small stones,” he said.