Pointillist painters Henri-Edmond Cross and Paul Signac rendered the sky’s changing colours with small but bold touches of orange, mauve, pink, blue and yellow. For its latest high jewellery collection, Chaumet similarly evokes the sky’s many moods – from bright, sunny days to thunderous heavens with stormy clouds or a night sky lit by stars – as well as the birds that soar across the skies, using a rich treasure trove of gemstones.
Its collection theme, Les Ciels de Chaumet (Chaumet’s Skies), allows the maison to explore different types of colour palettes and express movement with its signature articulated fil-couteau (or knife-edge) setting, a technique in which the stones are mounted on extremely fine gold wire, giving each piece a distinctive lightness while showcasing the gems.
The delicate technique works especially well on rippling cascades of diamonds that depict shooting stars or Japanese-inspired dancing cranes using onyx and diamonds on their large wings, holding a particularly intense “golden yellow” pear-shaped sapphire (12.78ct) in an elegant brooch or a vivid pink sapphire and cornflower blue sapphire in a pair of earrings.
The maison’s naturalistic vocabulary truly shines with designs such as a necklace featuring three swallows in green tsavorite garnets spreading their wings in an interesting asymmetry that makes the piece very contemporary, as well as the interpretation of a fiery sun with its yellow diamond rays seemingly suspended in the air thanks to the fil-couteau technique.
Of particular note is the Soleil Glorieux tiara with a 2.51ct cushion-cut fancy intense yellow IF diamond proudly standing above 21 cabochon-cut rock crystals shaped like cloud bubbles that have been left slightly brut, giving them a frosted effect.
Elsewhere, orange topazes, pink morganites, mandarin garnets and yellow chrysoberyls express a fiery sun, while white diamonds dominate night skies. Sketches of crescent moon aigrette from Chaumet’s archives, some of them created by Joseph Chaumet, circa 1900 – are referenced in the Étoiles Étoiles light-as-air tiara with twinkling diamonds set in white gold.
While many of the pieces are abstract by nature, the jeweller still manages to clearly express a comet’s twinkling trail in the sky through the elegant movement of a diamond necklace dotted with a gradient of tourmalines that starts with purple and pink on one side and finishes on the other side with the incandescent blues of six Australian black opals (including one weighing an exceptional 28.11ct).
Particularly successful is the transformable Lueurs d’Orage necklace, which represents the changing sky as a storm brews, as yellow sapphires segue into purple, and baguette-cut onyx fleshes out lightning bolts. The exceptional 37.68ct, pear-shape Imperial topaz at its centre is detachable and can be worn separately as a significant pendant on a long diamond chain.
The Ciels de Chaumet collection also includes several jewellery watches, among them the Jumping Hour Creative Complication watches with dials adorned with colourful mother-of-pearl marquetry picturing a burst motif – lightning flashes in the sky, in geometric abstraction. In three limited edition flying tourbillon watches – two from the Soleil de Feu theme and one Soleil de Minute model – sapphires, spinels, mandarin garnets and diamonds dance seemingly in orbit above a grand feu enamel colour gradation created by renowned Swiss enameller Anita Porchet.