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Go High or Go Home: The Masterful Jewellery Collections

A look at the high jewellery collections that dazzled, stunned and inspired us this past year.

By Charlie Co
February 17, 2022

Launching high jewellery collections is as much an opportunity for brands to be able to offer its most discerning clients with something extra-special and exclusive, as it is a means for them to showcase their jewellery making and gemstone-sourcing capabilities, as well push the bounds of design—something they wouldn’t normally do with their already established fine jewellery collections.  

It’s through these truly incredible collections that jewellery maisons bring out the big guns, so to speak. Here, it’s about going big, if not at all, and as such the creation and completion of these masterful collections take years, with everything from concept building, gemstones acquisition, modelling, and actual creation and finishing are carried out with painstaking thought and care.  

In this roundup, we look back at 10 jaw-dropping high jewellery collections that were launched in 2021. 

  

BULGARI'S BAROCKO

Villa Aurelia | Photo: BULGARI

Italian luxury brand Bulgari at the start of 2021 launched of its masterfully crafted Barocko high jewellery collection, which was inspired by Bulgari’s home city, Rome. Its homage to Rome was represented through vivacious colours and bold designs, celebrating the Eternal city’s distinctly Baroque extravagance; a collection Bulgari’s Creative Director Lucia Silvestri says was apt, as “now, more than ever, we need to rediscover a sense of wonder in the world.”  

The concept of the collection is very much rooted in the Baroque artistic movement of the 1600s, inspired by the great artists of the time such as Bernini, Caravaggio, and Borromini. The pieces are composed of gemstones of remarkable colours and cuts, with balance and perfect proportions taken into consideration, whilst the jewels’ overall aesthetic is as much about strength as it is creativity, innovativeness as it is about timelessness. While indeed there are numerous incredible gemstones that flank this collection, the ones featured in one of its headliners, the Green Dream necklace, is worthy of a special mention, flaunting five exceptional Colombian emeralds, all vividly coloured and remarkably vibrant weighing a total of 128 carats. 

 

DE BEERS' REFLECTION OF NATURE

Photo: De Beers

De Beers’ Reflections of Nature High Jewellery Collection not only showcases some of the most incredible diamonds in the world, but also sheds light on one of the brand’s most noble sustainability-driven causes, the De Beers Diamond Route, a series of rich and diverse sites that spans 200,000 hectares of land across southern Africa, dedicated to the conservation of natural resources, habitats, and wildlife.  

Each set from the collection pays tribute to the site from which the diamonds are mined, including Okavango, Motlatse, Namib, Landers, and Ellesmere. These minerally rich and certainly stunning areas—from the lush oasis that is the Okavango Delta, to the pristine wilderness of Ellesmere Island—set the scene for this stunningly crafted collection. One notable set is the Namib Wonder, whose diamonds are mined from Namib, the oldest desert on Earth and home to some of the world’s largest sand dunes with its distinctive ochre and red sands glow in the intense heat.

 

TIFFANY & CO.'S JEAN SCHLUMBERGER COLLECTION

Photo: Tiffany & Co.

Last year, Tiffany & Co wowed with a collection that draws inspiration from the masterpieces and style of its very own legendary designer, the inimitable Jean Schlumberger, whose whimsical and innovative approach to design has made him a legend. His jewels featured imaginative compositions and provocative colour combinations, making them highly sought-after in New York’s high society in the 1950s, counting Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, and Jacqueline Kennedy among his most loyal patrons. 

His tenure at Tiffany & Co marked what is believed to be his most creative phase, during which the most brilliant of his pieces were created. His goal was always to hone-in on the purity, grace, and vivacity of nature, inspired by flowers, ocean life and birds—all of which are still are very big part of the brand’s jewellery suite today. 

 

LOUIS VUITTON'S BRAVERY 

Photo: Louis Vuitton

To celebrate the 200th birthday of the founder of Louis Vuitton last year, Francesca Amfitheatrof, the brand’s Artistic Director for Watches and Jewellery created Bravery, a collection that paid tribute to Vuitton’s courage. As the story goes, Louis Vuitton left his home in the Jura area when he was barely a teenager to try his luck in Paris, and it would be an incredible journey—on foot at that— across France that inspired him to create trunks for travellers, which eventually set the benchmark for modern luxury. 

Bravery comprises of 90 jewels, featuring rare quality of the gemstones, including sapphires, emeralds, rubies, and diamonds, which took the team three years and numerous trips around the globe to gather. It would be an incredible undertaking that resulted in, among other remarkable stones, over 110 LV Monogram-cut diamonds—Louis Vuitton’s signature diamonds—and a dazzling reincarnation of the Monogram flower. Indeed, it’s a fitting tribute to the fearless young man that built one of the most successful and respected luxury brands in the world.  

 

CHOPARD'S RED CARPET "PARADISE" COLLECTION 

Photo: Chopard

The revelation of Chopard’s Red Carpet collection every year is one that many in the industry, and not to mention the Hollywood A-listers who grace the Cannes Festival carpet, look forward to. A collection that’s traditionally debuted ahead of the festival, the collection is as much Chopard’s awe-inspiring demonstration of its superior jewellery-making skills, as it is a representation of the maison’s Artistic Director and Co-President Caroline Scheufele’s lifelong passion for the world of cinema.  

Following the theme of Paradise, this year’s suite celebrates nature in its unspoiled, vivacious, and unrelenting form. Among the highlights is a piece that pays tribute to man's best friend: the dog. The piece is entirely paved with white and coloured diamonds, set in ethically mined gold. This exceptional piece features over 9,000 precious stones and required some 1,200 hours of work.  

 

CHANEL'S COLLECTION N°5

Photo: Chanel

The famed 2.55 quilted purse notwithstanding, Chanel’s N°5 perfume—and its unmistakeable geometric bottle—is another important icon of the French brand. And to mark the 100th year of the famed perfume, the maison came up with the Collection N°5. From the graphically designed bottle to the sillage, the collection with its 123 jewels expressed the different facets of the N°5 perfume. 

According to the Director of the Chanel Fine Jewellery Creation Studio, Patrice Leguéreau, the collection hopes to unite the geometric and graphic codes of Coco Chanel’s beloved perfume, and the high jewellery series called ‘Bijoux de Diamants’ which she launched with much fanfare in 1932. Like the fragrance and jewels that came before, the collection brings the elusively intangible to life with graphic design codes and a playful wearability, interpreting scented pleasures in diamonds and precious materials, embracing the body much like a generous whiff of perfume would. 

 

HARRY WINSTON'S MARVELOUS CREATIONS

Photo: Harry Winston

The “King of Diamonds” Harry Winston looks to Mother Nature as inspiration for its latest high jewellery collection that’s quite simply spectacular in all manner of petalled, winged, finned, feathered, and scaled creatures. Named Marvelous Creations, the collection features a cornucopia of coloured gemstones and diamonds. In this, well, marvelous universe, flowers are crafted in star sapphires, rubies, and a cat’s eye chrysoberyl; a blue python crafted in blue sapphires and diamonds slithers ever gracefully around the neck and wrist; and an ethereal butterfly takes flight, glistening in a suite of Paraiba tourmalines, purple and blue sapphires, aquamarines, and diamonds. Nature has never looked so dazzling. 

 

SIXIEME SENS PAR CARTIER

Photo: Cartier

Cartier once again defies convention with its latest high jewellery collection called Sixième Sens, or sixth sense. With this new creation, Cartier pulls us into a realm where our senses are stimulated and awakened—our sixth sense included. The French maison would often say that truly extraordinary jewellery is “an expression of art with the power to move like no other,” and indeed, the Sixième Sens collection meets this gold standard, with its concept drawn from a desire to explore the irresistible emotionality of jewellery.  

The jewels in this collection are not short of extraordinary stones, enchantment, or energy. Case in point: the Imperio necklace, a stunning piece with graphic motifs and contrasting colours. Chromatic combinations have always been a part of the maison’s stylistic repertoire—a style that accentuates the effect of perspective. It all combines to confuse the gaze that converges on the central stone: an exceptional 23.55-carat Colombian emerald with a perfectly homogeneous green colour with bluish undertones. A transformative piece, it can be worn in almost thirty different ways. 

 

TORSADE DE CHAUMET 

Photo: Chaumet

Architecture has often been a source of inspiration for jewellery brands and designers, drawn by compelling structures, dramatic lighting, and perfect—and imperfect—proportions. Last year, Chaumet’s historic Hôtel particulier at 12 Place Vendôme underwent an extensive renovation, and the house took this opportunity to create an architecture-inspired high jewellery collection. As one of the first jewellers to set foot on this prestigious Parisian square in 1812, Chaumet paid tribute to the site, focusing specifically on the Place Vendôme’s sweeping frieze that twirls around its towering Column. Enter Torsade (twist in French) de Chaumet high jewellery collection, where dazzling featuring diamonds and coloured gemstones are executed in sensuous twirls, resulting in pieces that are fluid yet bold, classic but avant-garde.  

 

FRED'S PRETTY WOMAN

Photo: Fred

Who can ever forget that “Pretty Woman” scene where Julia Roberts in that bright red dress looking down at a spectacular ruby and diamond hearts necklace the dashing Richard Gere presents to her as she lets out her infectious signature laugh? Interesting trivia, that now iconic jewellery piece was in fact made by Parisian jeweller Fred, and last year, the brand drew inspiration from the necklace to create the aptly named Pretty Woman collection. 

Following the aesthetic ‘the heart within a heart’, the designs while unapologetically romantic is also contemporary and versatile.  The collection is comprised of 23 pieces set with diamonds and rubellite, a stone believed to be able to connect with the heart’s chakra, with shades that shift from magenta pink to purplish red, while their glint is forever changing with the light or the wearer’s movements. Now who wouldn’t feel pretty in that? 

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