Flowers on jewellery design are like florals for spring. To borrow a famous line: “Groundbreaking”. So it speaks a lot when we actually sit up and take notice of the latest fine jewellery line that Chanel just launched this month, based on the maison’s emblematic flower, the camellia.
The collection ($3,300-$13,550) of rings, earrings, necklaces and brooch comprises two distinct lines. On one end is the yellow-gold Petales de Camelia pieces which boast the largest ever adaptation of the camellia motif in Chanel’s fine bijoux repertoire.
Despite its proportions, the pieces feel modern and light, not overtly feminine and hefty. A large reason for this boils down to the graphic latticework of the petals which gives the jewellery a more youthful appearance. The ergonomics of the pieces also mean they are perfectly curved and sit comfortably on your fingers, earlobes and decolletage — even an open ring design slips effortlessly between your fingers.
On the other hand, is the Extrait de Camelia, a series of 18K pink gold pieces that sport the tiniest incarnation of the floral motif in Chanel’s fine jewellery history. Perfect as an everyday jewellery choice, the discreet pieces here include both classic pendant and ring designs and slightly casual styles like a clip that can be worn on the lobes or along the edges of the ears.
Topping both lines? A single piece of diamond in the centre of the flower for some restraint.
The practical designs of the Camelia pieces this year echo the same pragmatic reason why Coco Chanel has a soft spot for the flower. Word has it that Mademoiselle Chanel enjoyed wearing the bloom because the flower’s scentless profile meant that it would never clash with her iconic No. 5 fragrance.
That aside, the camellia still had a deep personal connection to the designer. She was enthralled by the flower after discovering the heroine in Alexandre Dumas’ La Dame aux Camelias always had on a white camellia to signify her purity. And after her beau Boy Capel presented her with her first bouquet of camellias, Coco Chanel was smitten by it and began pinning silk renditions of the flower on her hair and clothes.
A closer look at the pieces