During Paris Couture Week and Paris Fashion Week Spring Summer 2022, at the illustrious Place Vendôme, the most famous high jewelry maisons of Paris unveiled their newest creations. For the past 15 years, these presentations (which also take place during July) have remained a special part of the official Paris haute couture calendar. And this season, despite COVID-19 restrictions, the vast majority of the major jewelry houses still partook in the event.
Upon first observation, it was clear: the natural diamond still reigns supreme. Many maisons chose to highlight the stone by embodying the idea of ‘vive la flamboyance’ through unique maximalist styles that showed off rare craftsmanship and bold design; still, reverie and wonder defined other collections. (It’s worth noting that although jewelry powerhouse Van Cleef & Arpels did not show anything new, they were still eager to participate in Couture via an exhibition in its heritage gallery.)
Below, a look at the very best pieces from the most famous maisons.
High Jewelry Highlights from SS 2022 Paris Couture Week and i
To celebrate Chanel high jewelry’s 80th anniversary, the French maison unveiled a new opus of the diamond jewelry collection, N ° 5, dedicated to the famous perfume of the same name. Imagined by Patrice Leguéreau, Director of Creation Joaillerie at Chanel, this “chapter three” once again brings together two worlds: the world of 1921, when “Coco” revolutionized the world of perfumery with a modern fragrance contained in an uncluttered bottle; and the world of 1932, when Mademoiselle overturned the codes of French haute joaillerie.
The panache of his new creations is expressed by an anthology of white diamonds and a myriad of settings mobilized to represent the flowers—jasmine, May rose and ylang-ylang—used in the composition of the perfume.
Connoisseurs will be delighted to discover this capsule collection, named Deferlante, is an extension of the maison’s previous high jewelry collection, which was inspired by the style of Napoleon and Josephine’s jewels (tiara to the transformable jewels). Here also, the movement of water is quite literally reflected in ethereal compositions including the three-row diamond necklace, with diamonds spilling down as if carried off by the current. Another piece features a pear-shaped 3.57 carat diamond (Joséphine’s favorite cut) that has a centered point and perfectly placed shoulder stones, which imbue the piece with an articulated elegance. The use of fils couteaux and the virtuosity of a reduced three claws setting undeniably reinforces the delicacy of these creations.
Boucheron traditionally presents a collection in January that honors the major themes from his legacy. Claire Choisne, Director of Creations, continued this tradition, bringing back a legendary chapter in Boucheron’s history: The Maharaja of Patiala’s visit to Paris in 1928. Escorted by Sikh guards who carried six iron chests containing diamonds, rubies, emeralds and pearls by the thousands, Bhupindar Singh was welcomed by Louis, Frédéric Boucheron’s son and together they created the largest special order in the history of Place Vendôme.
“This commission seemed like a fairytale, it is the stuff of dreams,” says Claire Choisne. “In our archives, we have kept the original designs from which I got my inspiration for this collection. I wanted to transpose these designs into the 21st century, and to reinvent them for today’s Maharanis and Maharajahs.”
Among the many masterpieces of the collection is the ornamental volutes of the New Sparpech, a “turban ornament” which can be a hair jewel or a brooch. The piece is a contemporary interpretation of the aigrettes, in which the curls are highlighted by rose cut diamonds. It is set with a rose cut diamond of 1.27 carats, and a rose cut diamond of 0.68 carats, paved with diamonds in white gold.
The New Maharani crystal necklace also offers an extraordinary harmony of transparency and brightness thanks to the use of the traditional glyptic technique. Celebrating the lotus flower motif (which has much symbolism in ancestral India) this necklace, which can be worn as a ribbon or a choker, plays with the downstrokes and the upstrokes of white gold to draw a diamond lace on the skin, with a 4.08 carat cushion diamond shining at its center.
“We have chiseled the proportions of this piece from its empty parts and have associated diamonds to it, to give even more lightness to the final result,” specifies Claire Choisne. The result is both majestic and contemporary.
Christophe Bourrié, head of the prestigious high jewelry department of Piaget, emphasizes the unique status of the Swiss house in its latest collection. “We like to be a ‘niche’ brand. It is a luxury that allows us to work with the best quality of stones imaginable,” he explains. “Our collections are between 80 and 120 pieces. This reasonable size offers the possibility of finding the rarest and sought-after gems.”
The result of this requirement can be seen in the “Extraordinary Light” high jewelry collection. This week in Paris, the maison will present the third and last opus of this collection.
Piaget has had their own gemological laboratory for five years, allowing the house to rework and integrate stones in ways that increase their added value.
The maison presented the second part of its “Bravery” collection (the first was presented last summer in Monaco), in homage to the bicentenary of Louis Vuitton’s birth. The collection celebrates the art of travel, featuring flawless diamonds and specific cuts with few facets. “With this second part, we celebrate the invention of the trunk with all the identity elements that constitute it,” says Francesca Amfitheatrof, Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton Jewelry and Watchmaking. “It is a new Louis Vuitton signature that we are introducing into high jewelry.”
The “Mini Malle” theme is seen through the white gold and diamonds in the same geometric shape of the “Petite Malle” trunk created by the Maison in 2014. The choker is fashioned with tight links and is composed of three Mini Malles decorated with LV Monogram Star diamonds, one of which weighs 3.34 carats. A signet ring features an inlay of baguette and brilliant cut diamonds where a 1.55 carat LV Monogram Star diamond shines.
Cartier’s high jewelry presentation for Paris Couture Week 2022 was the third act of the Sixième Sens collection, which was unveiled last summer on the shores of Lake Como. Thirty unique pieces with astounding fluidity and deceptive details showed the Maison’s immense creative skill.
Exceptional stones in the collection include a 2.07 carat fancy vivid blue diamond in a rhombus cut that is as rare as it is bewitching. This ocean-colored diamond dialogues notably with a remarkable 8.45 carat D IF pear-shaped diamond and an exquisite 1.59 carat E IF emerald cut diamond at the heart of a necklace transformable to a brooch.