In case you haven’t noticed, Paris couture week is in full swing right now and the fashion world is completely abuzz. Check out Vogue Singapore’s daily coverage right here. But jewellery lovers all know what this also means. That’s right, high jewellery season is upon us and we are once again completely bowled over by the sheer multitudes of exquisite gemstones emerging from the world’s best jewellery houses. In addition to these eye-wateringly beautiful gemstones, there is—more importantly—such an incredible wealth of creativity shown by the various jewellery designers and creative directors.
Journeying across the globe appears to be a popular theme in 2022 as Cartier, Tiffany & Co., Gucci, and Boucheron have given us their individual takes on what our amazing planet Earth has to offer. Meanwhile, other maisons search within themselves to reveal what makes them different and unique as a jeweller.
Exploring some of their favourite themes, Bulgari, Van Cleef & Arpels, Chaumet, Chanel, and Dior presented some truly novel ideas on familiar motifs. Finally, we have the houses that threw themselves into the mythical and fantastical worlds, as Graff and Louis Vuitton left no stones unturned in their quest to create pure jewellery magic.
As necklaces are often the highlight of every collection, jewellers often reserve their best stones for a necklace creation. So before you start deep-diving into the thick of everything this high jewellery season has to offer, check out the top highlights in Vogue Singapore’s 2022 high jewellery necklace edit.
Cartier Beautés du Monde
After several consecutive seasons of playing with various realities—[Sur]Naturel and Sixième Sens from 2020 and 2021 seriously pushed the creative boundaries—Cartier returns to more familiar ground this year. Beautés du Monde is its take on the beauty of our world, no matter where it may be found. It is a subtle nod to the Cartier brothers who travelled voraciously, and observed and drew inspiration from everything large and small, East to West, while always adding their own touch of art and savoir-faire.
The Apatura necklace reflects the chromatic palette of a butterfly’s wings. It features three Australian opals for a total weight of 22.08 carats, along with additional gemstones that match as closely as possible the natural fire of the opals. The pendant is detachable and may be worn as a brooch.
The Recif necklace takes inspiration from marine ecosystems on which our survival depends. Cartier used emeralds and sculpted coral beads to emulate the myriad networks of microorganisms, resulting in a chromatic contrast further enhanced by the twisting movement of the stones.
The Rituel necklace pays tribute to traditional Mesoamerican jewellery, composed of double rows of azure chalcedony beads sidling up to an iridescent constellation of rubies. The patterns alternate between diamond cones and faceted rubies that appear suspended in the air thanks to an invisible setting technique.
Van Cleef & Arpels Legend of Diamonds: 25 Mystery Set Jewels
This collection was a passionate century-long quest and a mission that took over four years to accomplish. With the objective to embark on a collection right from the beginning, the raw gemstone, Van Cleef & Arpels encountered an incredible rough diamond in 2018, named the Lesotho Legend. Weighing a whopping 910 carats, this stone was a perfect D colour and more rarely, of Type IIa origin, meaning it is exceptionally chemically pure.
Working with its time-honoured partners in gem-cutting and polishing industries, Van Cleef & Arpels managed to re-cut the rough into 67 diamonds of various shapes and sizes, all of impeccable quality. The largest of them, an oval diamond, weighs 79.35 carats. Every stone went into 25 different jewellery creations which make up the collection.
But believing that it needed to bring more to the table than just incredibly beautiful stones, the maison also incorporated elements that distinguished the jewellery as Van Cleef & Arpels creations. Most obviously, the use of its signature mystery setting in all the designs—a first for the maison. Eschewing the figurative themes of fairies and florals, Van Cleef & Arpels sought inspiration from the couture universe, creating jewellery that drape and flow as fluidly as the finest silk and lace. Ribbons that almost give at the slightest pull.
The star of the collection is undoubtedly the Atours Mystérieux necklace featuring the aforementioned 79.35-carat oval diamond nestling in swirls of ruby ribbons. Its beauty is highlighted by traditional mystery set rubies and individual mystery set rubies (these are slightly different techniques both invented at Van Cleef & Arpels.) The necklace ascends upwards in scallops of diamonds and more rubies, its design inspired by two iconic pieces from the maison’s history: the famous Collerette necklace from 1938 and a majestic diamond necklace made for Queen Nazli of Egypt in 1939.
Next, the Chevron Mystérieux necklace reveals a fresh blue on green aesthetic not often seen in Van Cleef & Arpels designs. Observe the elegant volumes on this piece inspired by 1950s crossover collars, as lines overlap at random and square-cut gems face off round facetted stones. The highlight here of course are those three majestic pear-cut diamonds, the largest of which measures 31 carats. This necklace can be worn in six different ways, and the pear-cut diamonds may be worn as a pendant with matching earrings.
Another collar-inspired piece, the Collerette Mystérieuse necklace combines a graphical aesthetic highlighting mystery set rubies and diamonds in neat rows, square-cut diamonds resembling tiny digital pixels appear to fall off thanks to the knife-edge setting method. Van Cleef & Arpels paired rubies with diamonds in this necklace—a colour combination it has been known to revisit—but this time added pink sapphires to soften the contrast between red and white. Two centre stones glitter at its heart, both emerald-cut diamonds, one over 51 carats and the other a 10.52-carat dazzler. The larger stone may be removed and worn on a ring, while another pendent individual mystery set with rubies takes its place.
Tiffany & Co. Blue Book 2022—Botanica
Flora and fauna provide the inspiration for Tiffany & Co.’s new Blue Book collection, Botanica, which is set to be released in three chapters: Spring, Summer and Fall. As with all Tiffany & Co. high jewellery collection, the jeweller presents an incredible bevy of astonishing gemstones of all colours, shapes, and sizes. But this year it brings something else to the fore: enamel painting. Headlining the collection are three brooches combining gold and jewellery crafting savoir-faire with elements of traditional enamelling.
Meanwhile the collection’s major highlight was the showstopping Dandelion necklace that drew inspiration from Tiffany & Co.’s long heritage: a hair ornament with bejewelled dandelion seeds designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany in the early 20th century. Modelled by Gal Gadot in the jeweller’s first high jewellery campaign ever, the Dandelion necklace features diamonds only, with its pendant focusing on rose cut stones. Wearable over five different ways, it evokes an almost unbelievable sense of lightness, as if those pretty little florets would blow away with the next gust of wind.
Like dandelions, thistles are not a common choice when it comes to floral-themed jewellery. But in Botanica, Tiffany & Co. shows how all flowers great and wild can come to inspire great works of high jewellery design. The Thistle necklace evokes a sense of fun and joy through a cluster of three pendants, one South Sea pearl over 58 carats and two adorable pompoms inverse set with blue sapphires recalling the thistle’s spikes.
And of course it wouldn’t be a Tiffany & Co. high jewellery collection without Jean Schlumberger designs weighing in. The Hedges and Row necklace remains one of the designer’s best loved signatures, and this time it was brought to life with stunning yellow beryls set against azure blue turquoises.
Gucci Hortus Deliciarum 2022
In the third high jewellery collection conceived and created by Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele, the Italian fashion house has taken great strides in solidifying its identity as a jeweller, taking off into such creative headspaces as few other legacy houses dared to tread. Hortus Deliciarum, or Garden of Delights, explores design elements close to the heart of Gucci and uses precious gemstones to elicit those bold, bright, vivid emotions one gets from its fashion encounters. In other words, this is not a collection for the meek.
This time, Michele takes us on an imaginary Grand Tour that covers a myriad cultural locations and criss-crosses through different time lines from the mid-nineteeth century to the 1970s. It’s a memory of memories if you will, a peek at the creative director’s numerous artistic influences, fascinations, and obsessions. He begins in Rome, the city of his childhood and one of the richest cultural destinations in the world. Crafting magnificent pieces using not only precious stones and metals but also historically precious artifacts such as cameos of micro-mosaic, a Roman tradition, Michele smashes through the high jewellery glass ceiling without even trying.
After Rome, we sojourn through magnificent India, dallying with a kaleidoscopic array of red stones including rubellites, imperial topazes, yellow beryls, tourmalines and garnets. But what will catch the true jewellery collector’s eye—and it has—is the collection’s stopover in the 1970s, arguably Michele’s favourite decade. Jewellery worn as amulets protecting ideas, visions, and stories culminate in what has to be the talisman to end all talismans.
The highlight of the collection, spoken for long before it was even fully completed, is a pendant necklace featuring one hexagon portrait-cut Colombian emerald with breath-taking inclusions what sweep across like clouds, or waves crashing within the stone. Held in place by six red enamel claws styled like those of a mythical creature, this necklace is as remarkable for the beauty of its centre stone as for the dynamic spirit of the jeweller who crafted it.
The couturier in Dior constantly inspires its high jewellery creations. First it was an obsession with lace in Dior Dior Dior (2018). Then came textile dye in Tie & Dior (2019) and more recently braids in Galons Dior (2022). Dior Print materialises one of Victoire de Castellane’s greatest wishes, which was to draw prints on jewellery. The collection comprises 137 pieces that would not look out of place on an haute couture gown, as de Castellane brings two dimensional fabric prints and turned them into three dimensional jewellery.
One of the most stunning creations of the collection, and certainly among the most memorable this high jewellery season, is a necklace crafted with interlacing of multicoloured bejewelled ribbons made in three types of gold. To create its articulated links, Dior’s master jewellers borrowed a specialised savoir-faire from the world of watchmaking, while the mashup of printed motifs brimming with multi-colored gems remains nothing less than spectacular.
Louis Vuitton Spirit
Bringing together all of the maison’s favourite concepts, Louis Vuitton Spirit expresses through jewellery the power of liberty, strength, the notion of infinity, ideas of destiny and of soaring to new heights. Spanning 125 pieces, this high jewellery collection is Louis Vuitton’s largest ever, and it sees liberal use of triangle shapes and Vuitton Vs to create a high-impact visual language. The pieces each derive from one of five universes: Liberty, Grace, Fantasy, Radiance, and Destiny.
In the Grace necklace, two phoenix wings unfold around the neck, providing a powerful metaphor for one’s capacity for renewal, soaring off to discover new lands and reach new heights. Its double V architecture combines custom-cut baguette diamonds with a twisted metal torque of round diamonds in an elegant curvilinear aesthetic, which culminates in a breath-taking 65.26-carat tsavorite from East Africa. Detachable as a single pendant, it radiates a rich glowing green that’s rare even among the world’s top stones.
The Liberty necklace revisits one of Francesca Amfitheatrof’s favourite styles, the bib necklace. Imbued with strength and power from the Damier graphical aesthetic, this armour-like jewellery piece comprises square and triangular cut diamonds along with superimposed hinge motifs—a design element taken from the Louis Vuitton iconic trunks. Colombian emeralds, a Sri Lankan sapphire, and a shimmering 2.60-carat D VVS1 Monogram Flower cut diamond are the crowning jewels of this stunning piece.
Similarly, the Radiance necklace is less necklace and more neck armour made to be a second skin of gold and platinum. Conjuring up some serious Mother of Dragons vibes, it awakens the untamed and mysterious nature dormant inside us, urging the fire to erupt. Layers of mirror-polished gold scales line up perfectly as it tapers according to the contours of the body. At its heart, a 10.99-carat mandarin garnet symbolises the burning flame of all our hearts’ desires.
A throwback to Gabrielle Chanel’s inaugural high jewellery collection, Bijoux de Diamants, Chanel turns the spotlight to some of the Mademoiselle’s favourite themes, comets. Indeed, one of her absolute greatest dreams had been to cover a woman’s skin and hair with showers of meteorites, glowing crescent moons, and flaming suns.
Studded with an abundance of celestial bodies, the maison’s new collection’s star piece is this Allure Celeste necklace featuring a stunning 55.55 carat oval sapphire, under which dangles an 8.05 carat Type IIa D flawless pear cut diamond. Supple and detachable, the removable halos may be worn as brooches, and that central row of diamonds turns into a delicate tennis bracelet. So many ways to wear it, yet there’s not a single clasp to be seen. Mademoiselle Chanel would definitely approve.
Bulgari Eden, The Garden of Wonders
For its 2022 high jewellery collection, Italian jeweller Bulgari explored deep into the heart of the Garden of Eden. Comprising over 140 masterpieces, this is the first time Bulgari has dedicated more than 30 individual creations to the emerald—undoubtedly one of its all-time favourite stones. Meanwhile, nature is interpreted rather than emulated here, so Bulgari brings a ton of imagination that was expertly brought to life by its incredible jewellery-making savoir-faire.
Highlight number one: the Emerald Glory necklace that is unparalleled in its use of emeralds with such magnificence. It can be work not just as a necklace but also a tiara, featuring a detachable choker lined with 11 pear-shaped Colombian emeralds and a cascade of diamonds totalling over 220 carats.
Next, the Tribute to Paris necklace celebrates the artistic bond between Paris and Rome. Requiring over 2,000 hours to handcraft, it features an exquisite 35.53-carat oval-shaped Colombian emerald surrounded by inlays of emeralds and diamonds evoking the silhouette of the Eiffel Tower.
Boucheron Carte Blanche—Ailleurs
Innovation and creativity at Boucheron have always been placed at the service of emotion, and as such the French maison often takes high jewellery to the most off-piste terrains where state-of-the-art technology meets time-honoured high art. In the 2022 Ailleurs collection, creative director Claire Choisne ventures into places formerly unexplored in search of new ways to interact with flora and fauna. Ailleurs means elsewhere in French, and true to name, the pieces transport you to such far-flung places they might actually put all that pent-up wanderlust on the ebb.
Silence and softness characterise the Galet Diamant necklace, composed of natural pebbles of varying sizes set with pear-shaped diamonds and pavé diamonds, all subtly interconnected with white gold. Emit a faint shimmery glow, the pebbles have been carefully hollowed out till they reach egg shell-thinness, in order to reduce the weight of the stones. As if that isn’t tedious enough, Boucheron drills tiny holes in the pebbles to set the diamonds and attach the gold. All in all, a fantastic effort by the creation team, and a small gamble on the part of Choisne, that reeled in maximum dividends for Boucheron.
Redolent of warm desert dunes with wind-sculpted curves, the Rotin Diamant necklace debuts natural rattan fibre for the first time in high jewellery history. Like how Frédéric Boucheron was the first to pair rock crystal with diamonds in his time, Choisne upholds that spirit by marrying precious gold and diamonds with materials you’d never expect. Rattan was selected for this exceptional neck piece, and it presented a whole litany of challenges for the Boucheron creation team because rattan is a soft material, while jewellers are used to working with hard materials. Here, natural rattan goes through a humidifying process before drying on a brass frame, with golden rods inserted, in order for it to memorise the final desired shape.
Delving deep into the heart of the earth, the Bois Brûlé Diamant necklace gets its mellow dark-brown-almost-black colour tone from three thousand-year-old Marsh Oak wood that’s been burnished using a traditional Japanese technique. Known as chou sugi ban, it bestows an extraordinary resilience in the material along with a velvety smooth texture. Brilliant pavé diamonds bring a fierce juxtaposition to the necklace that culminates in an edgy knot bringing softness and fluidity to the core aesthetic.
Harnessing the fantastical beauty of one of the greatest gatherings of gemstones ever seen in a high jewellery collection, Graffabulous showcased more than 80 jewellery pieces all one of a kind as they reveal the full spectrum of rarity at Graff.
If, like Graff, yellow diamonds are your kryptonite, then the Graffabulous—Legend of the Mermaids parure will draw your eye immediately to its magnificent necklace with cascading white and fancy vivid yellow diamonds.
Meanwhile, another necklace with a 109-carat unheated cushion cut Sri Lankan sapphire scintillates among lines of brilliant and pear cut white diamonds like the most precious treasure rising from the sea.
Chaumet Ondes et Merveilles
Inasmuch as Chaumet has always paid consistent tribute to and drawn inspiration from water in all its multifarious forms, its latest high jewellery collection is the maison’s first one entirely dedicated to the sea. From the caresses of oceanic waves to treasures of the underwater world, and even boats that criss-cross the seven seas, Ondes et Merveilles captures water through interplays of volumes, heights, and diamond cuts. A total of 69 high jewellery creations voyage to all four corners of the world, translated by stones that bring all the nuances of the seas.
The À Fleur d’Eau necklace evokes lapping waves with a clever combination of round diamonds in undulating gold links set aside marquise diamonds over several layers, each link seemingly independent of others. Fully articulated, these links lead the eye towards a 7.18-carat pear-shaped diamond centre stone which is detachable and wearable as a single diamond drop pendant.
The Escales necklace illustrates the art of colour which is central to Chaumet’s jewellery making style. On this short necklace, a row of scintillating spinels remind one of dazzling coastlines buffeted by waves of blue sapphires and Paraiba tourmalines.
This thalassic theme continues in the Comètes des Mers necklace crafted with a melange of natural pearls in varying hues and sizes, commingling with round diamond lines, culminating in an intricate sea star centrepiece crowned with a glorious padparadscha sapphire as a final flourish.