High jewellery may be out of reach for most of us, but that does not mean we can’t appreciate the drama, the craftsmanship and the level of creativity that jewellery Maisons have poured into these one-of-a-kind designs. And no where are these qualities more apparent than in the lavish necklace designs. Ahead, our appreciation post for some of the most beautiful pieces from the recent 2022 high jewellery season.
Boucheron’s annual Carte Blanche high jewellery collection, which debuted in 2020, introduces the Ailleurs High Jewellery Collection for the 2022 season. In Ailleurs (meaning “elsewhere” in French), creative director Claire Choisne transforms a world of nature into five elements: sand, leaf, earth, pebble and volcano. Each element meets the careful craftsmanship of the Maison, inspired by desert, tropical, and mountainous landscapes, where diamond cuts are combined with raw materials of seashell, rattan, and mother-of-pearl.
In Choisne’s first exploration of the elements, sand is embodied through this diamond and rattan necklace that sits on the neck like a collar. Drawing from the movement of sand in the desert, natural rattan fibre is dried on a brass frame and moulded into curvaceous lines, inserted with a golden rod to maintain the final shape. The necklace’s beige rattan bodice is supplemented with accompanying strings of diamonds that loop under and over the frame. A two carat cushion cut diamond sits in the middle as the centrepiece.
In 1932, Gabrielle Chanel created her only high jewellery collection, known as Bijoux de Diamants at her home on 31 Rue Cambon. To commemorate 90 years since its conception, Patrice Leguereau, director of the Chanel Fine Jewellery Creation Studio, dreamt up the 1932 High Jewellery Collection. Constellations glitter in diamonds dotted with blue sapphires and tanzanite in three separate jewellery sets within the collection – titled, The Comet, The Sun, and The Moon. Thirteen out of the 77 ‘heavenly body’ creations (as Leguereau describes it) are transformable and flexible, able to be manipulated and wrapped however the wearer chooses.
It was Chanel herself who said: “I wanted to cover women with constellations. With stars! Stars of all sizes.” The Allure Celeste Necklace is the collection’s signature piece, a creation of round-cut diamonds which culminates in a 55.55-carat blue sapphire stone, decorated with an 8.05-carat pear-shaped diamond as its celestial centrepiece. Its diamond collar snakes down into a long chain necklace, with four detachable pieces in designs of the moon, sun rays and stars that can be worn as brooches and a bracelet. With each detachable piece, the necklace can be transformed to be worn long or short.
Dynamics meets diamonds in the latest high jewellery collection by jewellery house Chaumet. Ondes et Merveilles de Chaumet plays with elements of water, with oceanic motifs and pieces mimicking movements of the sea. And Paraiba tourmaline, emeralds, Australian opals reflect sheens of blue, turquoise and green, resembling warm waters of the Gulf Stream. The collection marks the first time the French jeweller has a dedicated high jewellery line to water. But keeping to tradition, Chaumet incorporates its legacy of creating jewels for the French monarchy into its latest creations – motions of the ocean are translated into diamond head jewels and tiaras.
The Fleur d’Eau necklace is the personification of water dressed in diamonds. Wavy rows of marquise diamonds are set in several overlapping layers that resemble the currents of the ocean. Each row grows thinner and thinner, forming a V-shaped necklace with a 7.18-carat pear-shaped teardrop diamond anchoring its bottom. Designed as a necklace, the diamond can be removed and the piece turned into a head jewel. The remaining structure can also be divided into two brooches.
The 75th Annual Cannes Film Festival saw celebrities out in all their glitz and glamour, necklines gleaming with jewels and arms adorned with high jewellery collections. As an official partner of the famed film festival, Chopard’s 2022 high jewellery collection, named “Chopard Loves Cinema,” is inspired by the arts of the silver screen. Artistic Director of Chopard, Caroline Scheufele created a collection spanning the history of the cinema, with pieces resembling symbols from beloved Disney animations to pioneering films in strings of pearls, aquamarines, and diamonds in every colour of the rainbow.
The collection opens with a piece attributed to the beginnings of cinema as we know it today. Charlie Chaplin’s City of Lights, one of the first sound films, often hailed as one of the greatest films of all time, serves as the basis of “Chopard Loves Cinema.” Floral motifs feature heavily in the collection, in an homage to the film’s central plot. A total of 652.11 carats of pink sapphire beads are assembled in a choker-style necklace, with alternating rows of diamonds. At the side of its collar sits a detachable flower brooch, set with brilliant-cut pink sapphires, tsavorites and diamonds.
Creative director of Dior Jewellery, Victoire de Castellane wished to “draw prints on jewellery.” With this came the iconic Dior Print high jewellery collection, now interpreted into 137 colourful creations. The House’s history in haute couture serves as the foundation for the Fall 2022 collection – the jewels are designed in tie-dye colour gradations, styled in classic fabric patterning, like geometric motifs, checks and stripes. Images of the sewing room are evoked through ribbon-like shapes, used in earrings, necklaces, and rings.
Out of the 137 pieces in the Dior Print collection, Castellane marries floral prints and stripe fabric motifs in a signature necklace consisting of interlacing multi-coloured ribbons of diamonds and precious gemstones. Each strip calls to mind a varying fabric patterning, arranged using diamonds as its blank canvas and accompanying rubies, spessartite garnets, rhodolite, and red spinels for colour. Its interlocking ribbon links were the result of a specialised savoir-faire from watchmaking. Master jewellers crafted together interchanging threads of white, yellow and rose gold strips in a high jewellery version of couture.
In the third chapter of Hortus Delicarium (meaning ‘garden of lights’ in Latin), the high jewellery collection designed by Gucci Creative Director Alessandro Michele, the Grand Tour jewellery collection explores five themes travelling through time, beginning from the mid-19th century to the ’70s. In line with the House’s maximalist fashion and Italian roots, depictions of Roman landscapes and purposely uneven colourful precious gemstones appear on statement necklaces.
The first stop in the Grand Tour is an ode to Italy from the 18th century onwards. As a central location for European aristocrats of the time, Italy’s grandeur and architecture appear in elements of the high jewellery collection. A recurring pattern in this collection is Michele’s use of micro-mosaic pieces, made between 1850 and 1870, depicting the Colosseum, the Pantheon as it was in the 19th century, the Roman Forum, and other historical feats of architecture. Surrounding the miniature landscape featured in this necklace are a multitude of colourful gems such as yellow beryls, pink spinels, and peridots.
The 125-piece Louis Vuitton Spirit is the latest collection from the Maison’s artistic director for watches and jewellery, Francesca Amfirtheatro. In a modern retelling of mythological creatures and love letter to femininity, Amfirtheatro splits the collection into five themes: Liberty, Grace, Fantasy, Radiance and Destiny. Throughout the collection, the Louis Vuitton V is subtly woven into Sri Lankan sapphires, Colombian emeralds, and flawless diamonds, totalling over 40,000 hours to make, and marks the Maison’s largest high jewellery collection yet.
Like the construction of the Great Pyramids, individually mounted gold and platinum triangles create this opulent platinum and yellow gold choker, simulating scales made from precious metals. Each pyramid tip is adorned with diamonds, increasing in clusters at the bottom scales of the necklace. At the centre, a mandarin orange 10.99-carat garnet rests upon the Louis Vuitton diamond-set ‘V.’
Tiffany & Co’s latest Blue Book collection celebrates flora and fauna in Blue Book 2022: Botanica. The jeweller reaches back into its historic creations inspired by flowers. Main muses for Botanica are master jeweller Jean Schlumberger, along with artist and designer, Louis Comfort Tiffany’s dandelion seed hair ornament, designed in the early 20th Century. Jewellery and sculptor, G. Paulding Farnham’s collection of orchid brooches, which he created for Tiffany at the 1889 Paris Exposition Universelle, sees a comeback in diamond versions.
Continuing on the legacy of the original Tiffany dynasty, Louis Comfort Tiffany’s dandelion-seed style hair ornament is reimagined into a dandelion-inspired necklace. The most versatile of the Botanica high jewellery collection, baguette cut diamonds are set within a choker, with two interchangeable pendants, one of which is a dandelion design in diamonds. The set is complete with a long diamond chain that either pendant can be worn on.
This year gave birth to Van Cleef & Arpels’ most audacious collection. The discovery of the Lesotho Diamond, the fifth largest diamond to ever be discovered, weighing a whopping 910 carats, was bought by the jewellery house and used as the heart of the Legend of Diamonds, a 25 Mystery Set Collection. Van Cleef & Arpels worked alongside expert gemologists and the High Jewellery Workshops to combine rubies, sapphires, and emeralds with each cut of diamond to make the Mystery Set. To highlight the raw beauty of this historic diamond, the metal on the pieces is concealed to showcase the vibrant colours of the stones.
Although split into 25 sets, the heaviest stone in the collection is a 79.35-carat diamond which serves as the pride and joy of the Atours Mysterieux necklace. This diamond is cut into 57 facet oval-cut to heighten its reflection and brilliance, set above rubies. The alternating diamond and ruby swirls along the collar of the necklace are inspired by two iconic Van Cleef & Arpels designs: the Collerette necklace from 1938 and a diamond necklace created for Queen Nazli of Egypt in 1939. The centrepiece diamond can be taken out and worn on a simple chain.