It’s been about 5,000 years since garden cultivation of roses began. And in that time, the flower has become so widely used to represent love, passion and beauty that it borders on banality. That of course hasn’t stopped jewellers from using the motif—nor should it—but in a market saturated with innumerable stunning interpretations of the rose, it can be hard to stand out.
Which is why it’s remarkable that the Piaget Rose does. The collection celebrating the queen of flowers is less than a decade old but is already one of Piaget’s most emblematic. And it’s all thanks to one man’s love affair with the rose.
In the watch and jewellery world, Yves Piaget is the president of the Swiss maison that carries his family name. But in floriculture circles, Yves is a devoted rose enthusiast. Growing up in the hilly suburbs of La Cote-aux-Fees in Switzerland meant having the luxury of being frequently sur-rounded by wild flowers, and his favourite was actually the eglantine, or sweet briar.
His interest blossomed into inspirations for Piaget’s jewellery collections since the 1960s, and it eventually also led him to become a member of the jury for the Geneva International Competition of New Roses in 1976. Yves then had the Piaget workshops craft the trophy—a golden rose—for the competition’s winner. The prize-winning variety at the 1982 competition, a peony-like bloom with 80 petals and an exquisite perfume bred by rose growers Meilland International, was even named after him and is still known as the “Yves Piaget rose”.
While roses were a common enough motif in Piaget’s stable, it wasn’t until 2012, on the 30th anniversary of the flower, that the official Piaget Rose jewellery collection was launched with 14 resplendent creations.
“For the house of Piaget, the rose is a talisman,” shares Piaget managing director Petronille de Parseval. “Every element is made individually and then assembled so as to give this gold or diamond flower the volume and sparkle of a real rose.”
And with the collection came a renewed vigour with which to support associated beneficiaries. Piaget contributed to the restoration of Josephine Bonaparte’s rose gardens at Chateau de Malmaison, which involved replanting 750 old rose species, and has also been the presenting sponsor of the annual Rose Garden Dinner Dance at the New York Botanical Garden. In 2013, the company launched a worldwide campaign to celebrate “Piaget Rose Day” on June 13th, which included a social media competition and a private concert by Melody Gardot in a secret location near the Place Vendome. “La Vie en Rose” was performed, but of course.
As enticing as the idea of a Piaget-made Yves Piaget rose perfume sounds, the brand will continue to focus only on watches and jewellery. “The rose is not an easy flower to recreate,” says de Parseval. “It takes true artisans with a wealth of experience to produce the voluptuous, sculpted Rose, the open-worked Rose Ajourée, the lacework Rose Dentelle and our newest design, the Petal Rose.”
Petal Rose is indeed a trendier, slightly abstract interpretation that will appeal to the woman who tires of the standard rosy fare. The Piaget Rose sautoirs, with opened-worked petals set with diamonds on a fine white or rose gold chain, will add an ethereal delicacy to any outfit.
The earrings, using only the outline of the flower, are the collection’s most modern pieces yet. If it’s maximum glamour you’re after, the Piaget Rose Necklace will capture the light with a total of 170 brilliant-cut diamonds and six marquise-cut diamonds, with four gold chains cascading from the glittering pendant.
Looking at this year’s collection, it’s clear that Piaget’s unique rose will continue to grow wild and in unexpected ways, breathing new life into a pervasive symbol.