In this past year, extreme anxiety and mind-numbing ennui more or less punctuated our lives. Every day rolled out like the one before, an endless cycle of waking up, watching the news and then wondering what to do. The jewellery world, however, was a little different. Periodically lit up with fascinating creations, high jewellery Maisons refused to give in to the sheer disappointment that was 2020. Right from the outset, jewellery collections launched by the Place Vendome Haute Joaillerie houses were defiant, bold, exquisite and dramatic, transporting jewellery lovers into as yet undiscovered worlds of wonder and beauty.
While most high jewellery collections launched in 2020 were outstanding, it would be wrong to say that I did not have a few favourites. Let’s start with Bulgari’s Baroko High Jewellery Collection. Opulence and colour are the two defining features of this collection. While each of the fifty or so one-of-a-kind high jewellery pieces were exquisite in their own way, there is one necklace that stole my heart. The Cabochon Exuberance necklace is a sumptuous offering of coloured gemstones, classic design and mesmerizing craftsmanship. Tanzanites, aquamarines, tourmalines and one rubellite, each cabochon gem perfectly smooth and exceptionally clear, as if lit from within. There is a certain sensuality to this necklace which I feel stems from the gems themselves There is also a richness which comes from more than just the gems-it is the design, the craftsmanship and ever-present spirit of Rome which makes this piece truly unforgettable.
Chopard thrilled jewellery lovers everywhere with its Red Carpet 2020 Collection. Inspired by Nature, this collection is a confection of jewels that are both symbolic and feature Fair-mined certified, ethical gems, highlighting the Maison’s emphasis on sustainable luxury. Exceptionally vibrant Columbian emeralds and sparkling white diamonds are featured in a suite of necklace and earrings designed which is my personal as garlands of flowers, what better way to celebrate Nature than through high jewellery pieces fashioned as flora? Looking beyond the exceptional gems, I was entranced by the skill and talent of the artisans of the Maison, whose painstaking dedication to beauty and precision, crafted such an outstanding suite.
When thinking of high jewellery spectacle, Dolce & Gabbana are never far from our thoughts. This past year, their Alta Gioielleria high jewellery collection made just the right kind of drama. The high jewellery collection is a wonderful presentation of Italian design and craftsmanship as well as lapidary skills. One particular suite of a necklace and matching earrings and a ring really spoke to me. Inspired by pink flowers, there was a delicately tactile feel to it which is difficult to capture in words. Gold and enamel flowers, set with “Lagoon” tourmalines, pink sapphires and diamonds, the suite is a reproduction of native Italian flowers, a graceful homage to Nature. Gorgeous gemstones and impeccable jewels, the Alta Gioielleria high jewellery collection was created to slay!
Louis Vuitton also created their own brand of magic with their Stellar Times high jewellery collection. Boldly going where no one has gone before, their Stellar Times collection featured seven galactic themes, each more fantastic than the other. However their Soleils necklace, a jewelled nod to our very own star, the Sun, really warmed my heart. Featuring yellow sapphires, spessartite and diamonds, the four tired necklaces was crafted in a tile pattern of diamonds and coloured gems, like a pixelated jewelled mosaic evoking the warm and life-giving energy of the sun. In a year that was shaped by sadness and disappointments, this one necklace was a bright, uplifting and sunny spark of joy!
Finally, Messika Paris gave us something wonderful with their Voltige—or aerobatics- high jewellery collection. Asymmetrical designs and floating gemstones, the collection was created with the trials of 2020 in mind, as a way of bringing lightness and joy to the jewellery world. An exploration of the versatility of the diamond, the jewelled creations of this collection are daring and breathtaking, like a polished performance of a gymnast. Nevertheless, it was the Trapézistes diamond earring that made my heart beat a little faster. A single earring with sharp lines and intertwining geometric shapes set with white diamonds, this piece has been designed to thrill and delight like a trapeze act, all the while showcasing precision and high craftsmanship. For me, it was simply love at first sight!
In a year that did everything to break our spirit, high jewellery and savior faire created a small haven of beauty and delight. That colour, design, craftsmanship and innovation endured, undeterred and with flair, says something about the ability of high jewellery art to endure, even in the bleakest of times.