This year’s been gloomy, but jewels are shining as bright as ever. We weigh in on this year’s most spectacular collections to find out how and why high jewellery remains the most aspirational of luxury goods.
Read on to see what high jewellery collections caught our attention this year.
Graff shines the spotlight on exceptional diamonds and coloured stones this year with the release of new high-jewellery creations in the Threads Collection. Vibrant yellow diamonds, sapphires and emeralds adorn the new suites of jewellery, including necklaces, drop earrings and bracelets – beautifully orchestrated designs that criss-cross white diamonds with coloured jewels seemingly set at random angles for a wonderfully graphic collection.
Since partnering with the Cannes Film Festival in 1998, Chopard has released its annual Red Carpet Collection during the event, marrying its dreamiest and most beautiful jewellery pieces with the glitz and glamour of the world of movie-making. This year, 74 creations were unveiled, themed around a fabulous haven of fantasy. Artistic director Caroline Scheufele was inspired by the idea of Paradise, an imaginary world brimming with dreams and optimism, and filled with lush nature like a bountiful Garden of Eden, or a fantastical Avatar-like world.
For Scheufele, the Red Carpet Collection is where she gets free reign to her creativity, where her works that honour flora, fauna and the finest gemstones come together with the fantasy of movies. Here, model and muse Bella Hadid is shown wearing the 2021 Red Carpet Collection earrings in ethical Fairmined-certified 18K white and yellow gold, set with two heart-shaped yellow diamonds totalling 20.74 carats, as well as yellow and white diamonds in various cuts.
Bvlgari set the stage for what to expect in 2021 with the release of the Barocko high-jewellery collection back in January. The collection was bold and brave, telegraphing a message of hope and optimism through its use of vibrant colours, extraordinary light effects and shapes and designs that were meant to spread joy and positivity around the world. Rome is always at the centre of every Bvlgari creation and, as the name of the collection indicates, the city’s Baroque artistic and architectural heritage underlies every dramatic piece in the collection.
When it comes to pushing the boundaries of high-jewellery making, one maison in particular comes to mind – Boucheron. The latest Carte Blanche Holographique collection, designed by creative director Claire Choisne, is yet again a testament to the brand’s ongoing pursuit to bring luxury jewellery to the new era, marrying tech, space materials and avant-garde techniques to create jewellery that’s truly out of this world. For this collection, Boucheron has found a way to make jewels holographic and truly mesmerising.
The garden theme runs strong at the House of Gucci. The second high-jewellery collection, designed by creative director Alessandro Michele, is named Hortus Deliciarum (Latin for “garden of delights”), and comprises of more than 130 pieces that celebrate the beauty of the natural world, star-crossed skyscapes and breathtaking sunsets. The pieces bring together Michele’s whimsical sensibilities with equal touches of opulence and eclecticism – aside from flora, magical beasts are also thrown in the mix, including this very Gucci-appropriate lion-head figurine.
Chanel has always fiercely stuck by its codes and signature motifs and so, with the brand celebrating the centenary of its signature No. 5 perfume, there was no doubt its high-jewellery department would also pull out all the stops to celebrate this significant milestone. And how brilliantly it’s done so. From jewellery pieces that feature the shape of the flask and stopper, to inspiration taken from the fragrance’s notes and, literally, the number 5, this is a collection both long-time Chanel fans and jewellery connoisseurs can both admire and covet.
Louis Vuitton just celebrated its 200th anniversary this year, though its high-jewellery department is still relatively new. But under the helm of Francesca Amfitheatrof, formerly of Tiffany, the house’s first high-jewellery collection, Bravery, is not to be underestimated. The collection is redolent of strong warrior women and female empowerment, with star motifs, medallions and the monogram flower recalling the brand’s powerful heritage.
Another brand that’s extremely well versed in the art of taking motifs across its different categories, deconstructing them and turning them into new covetable objects is Hermès. Creative director of Hermès jewellery, Pierre Hardy, takes the Kelly bag and its functional components – the side straps, the elemental turnlock clasp, the plate and four studs – and turns it into a precious diamond-studded Kelly Gavroche necklace in the latest Kellymorphose collection.
Van Cleef & Arpels
Van Cleef & Arpels turns to the cosmos for inspiration for its latest high-jewellery collection, Sous les étoiles (“heavenly dreams”), renewing one of the maison’s historic sources of inspiration to bring us 150 beautiful jewellery pieces that put together a striking picture of our mysterious universe. From the dance of the planets to celestial figures and shooting stars, the collection explores the most beautiful celestial phenomena, both real and imaginary.
Jewellery is as much about our emotions as it’s about rarity and preciousness. To that sentiment, Cartier is tapping into our senses – the sixth sense in particular – to express a new soulfulness with its Sixième Sens high-jewellery collection. Familiar motifs are pixelated to jar with our senses; the panther’s coat, part of Cartier’s bestiary since 1914, becomes beautifully contemporary in polished onyx, white, yellow and orange diamonds and golden topazes.
Another maison playing with our emotions is Fred, which reinvents the necklace of ruby and diamond hearts worn by Julia Roberts in the movie Pretty Woman, and turns it into a full-blown high-jewellery collection that exists as a modern interpretation of love’s many facets.