Morning. Place Vendôme. At the Chopard boutique on the corner of Rue Saint-Honoré, journalists and potential buyers of high jewelery novelties line up. After careful screening, one by one, guests are allowed into the boutique through double transparent bulletproof doors.
On the second floor, the protagonist of Carolina Scheufele's new collection The Garden of Kalahari, the 342-carat The Queen of Kalahari diamond, awaits us. It was found a year ago in Botswana at the Karowe mine. True, we did not see it intact: it was decided to cut the huge diamond into 23 large diamonds (five of them with a total weight of more than 20 carats). The result is a unique six-piece set (a transformable necklace, earrings, a cuff bracelet, two rings, a secret watch) and a 55-minute documentary by Alexis Weller about the creation of the collection. “This is a special stone - it has an incomparable energy and emotional charge! He could not just remain our trophy, so we decided to come up with a destination for him worthy of his status,”said Caroline Scheufele. The most expensive set in the history of the jewelry house will be sold as a set: Carolina is sure that parts of such a rare stone should never be sent to different owners. According to rumors, on the day of the presentation, a battle for these jewelry had already begun between two clients.
The queen of kalahari
Diamonds were in the spotlight on the other side of the Place Vendome, closer to the rue de la Pee. Boucheron creative director Claire Chuan presented the mini-collection Lierre de Paris, consisting of a set of four pieces: a necklace, a watch with a secret, a bracelet and a ring made of white gold in the shape of ivy leaves and richly covered with diamonds. In the new Insolence collection, Chaumet also focuses on colorless diamonds, but this time in combination with white and rose gold. Louis Vuitton has updated the Blossom collection: unlike the summer version, the winter version is based on pale gems surrounded by colorless diamonds. And exclusively diamond sets. Even Victoire de Castellane, the creative director of the Dior jewelry line, whose work cannot be imagined without colored stones, surrounded his favorite opals with colorless diamonds.
Jewelry lovers are always looking forward to the January high jewelery collections. Compared to summer ones, they are more compact, which means that jewelers can experiment more boldly. Why, instead of playing with colored stones, large jewelry houses decided to rely on a colorless diamond - the most classic gem, which, with the light hand of the heroine Marilyn Monroe, was called “the best friend of girls” back in the 1950s?
“Diamond is the common denominator of jewelry” is the phrase I first heard from Nikola Bulgari,”explains Marion Feisel, jewelry columnist for American InStyle, author of Diamonds: a Century of Spectacular Jewels and founder of The Adventurine. “It's hard to disagree with him, because, in fact, diamonds are in every piece of high jewelery art, even when there are colored gemstones in the center.”
Until 1889, when the treasures of the French crown were put up for auction, diamonds (like other gemstones) were only available to royalty. From that moment on, it is customary to count the modern history of jewelry that anyone who had the means to buy could buy. Diamonds, emeralds, rubies and sapphires have become available to the general public. But why exactly do diamonds cause such awe?
“There have always been more legends about diamonds than about any other gemstone,” continues Marion. - Diamond jewelry was at its peak during the Edwardian era (1900–1910 - Ed.).Then the jewelers returned to them in the late 1920s: after the stock market crash of 1929, which marked the beginning of the Great Depression, evening dresses in black and white came into fashion, and all eminent jewelers focused their efforts on Art Deco jewelry made exclusively of white diamonds that fit perfectly with classic outfits. So diamonds became fashionable, and never went out of it again. In my opinion, the craze for white diamond jewelry in the new season is a sure sign that jewelers are now looking for new meanings, because a colorless diamond is like a clear palette for an artist."
But can this approach - a return to colorless diamonds, the timeless classics - be called an anti-crisis measure? Do jewelers themselves feel the state of the world economy today? “Firstly, the crisis in the global economy is really evident, and jewelers admit it: today they often have to work at a loss,” explains the current situation in the high jewelry market, jewelry consultant Alexander Falkovich. “For big brands like Dior and Chanel, it’s not so scary, because they can get compensation from other assets, but many small players go broke. Secondly, the buyers themselves have begun to better understand what they are investing in - all information is publicly available on the Internet. They understand that they can purchase jewelry and stones directly from jewelers, bypassing brands, because any brand in the price of a product includes its own costs associated with renting premises, salaries of employees and others. Plus the markup on stones: do not forget that if the prices for diamonds are strictly regulated according to the Rappoport scale, the markup on a colored stone is much more difficult to track, often without the help of professionals it is simply impossible to figure it out. Discreet buyers also pay attention to the secondary market: they are well aware that with the possible sale of the brand's jewelry, only the cost of the stone will return to them”.
Margo Raffaelli, founder of the independent resource on jewelry margoraffaelli.com and author of the book “Jewelry. The art of choosing the best ":" I had a feeling of crisis in the past seasons, but now it is more than obvious. But any crisis is a reason to test yourself for creativity. For example, I really liked Victoire's approach this year. Take your favorite opals and put them in the center of high jewelery jewelry! This is the best anti-crisis solution: opals visually create an expensive effect, and they are much cheaper than more expensive colored stones of the same size. And it is simply impossible to imagine Victoire without color”.
“I chose a diamond because, even a small one, it is of great value,” Coco Chanel said about choosing the main gemstone of her only jewelry collection from 1932. All jewelry was made of colorless diamonds - Mademoiselle preferred the classics. Now such a classic is a good tradition: in Chanel's high jewelery collections there are always sets with only colorless diamonds. The new Coco avant Chanel collection is no exception. Here, each set is named after the women who surrounded Chanel at the beginning of her journey (until 1920, when she became famous throughout Paris) - Emilienne, Maud, Marthe, Lucienne, Jeanne, Zina, Suzanne, Antoinette. And as you might guess, the white gold set with colorless diamonds was named Gabrielle Chanel.
Six more trends in high jewelery winter collections
COLORLESS DIAMONDS AND COLORED GOLD
“Diamonds look good in any setting. If platinum and white gold give them a touch of formality, then rose gold is the best way to emphasize the brilliance of a transparent diamond,”explains Marion Feisel. In the new season, this choice was made by Chaumet and Dior.
“And quite by chance your bracelet will tell you the time” - this is how its creator Victoire de Castellane says about eight watches from the new Dior et d'Opales collection.Jewelry bracelets with a secret in the new season could be found at Boucheron, Chopard and Chanel.
BOWS AND LACE
The bow is a favorite motif of high jewelery pieces, recalling their connection to haute couture. Chaumet has minimalist, elegant bows with diamond pavé and rose gold "coarse ropes" weave, while Chanel has laconic jewelry ribbons and lace pavé reminiscent of Coco's early days when she adorned her hats.
Victoire de Castellane loves color. Therefore, in the new collection, her favorite opal is surrounded not only by colorless diamonds, but also by red rubies, yellow, purple and pink sapphires, green emeralds and pale blue Paraiba tourmalines.
Antique medallion earrings are jewelry created to be passed down from generation to generation. In the new season, these earrings resemble orders and medals in shape.
“In winter, there is always less color in the collections,” explains the abundance of pale stones in the new collections of Margot Raffaelli. Lavender spinel, blue beryl and pale pink padparadscha sapphires enhance the brilliance of the diamonds.