Plus, Chaumet’s new exhibition dedicated to the beauty of nature at the Beaux-Arts de Paris is a must-see

It’s day 3 of the high jewellery presentations in Paris and the maisons are all out to impress. My day started out with a private tour of the new Chaumet exhibition—Végétal – L’École de la Beauté—at Les Beaux‑Arts de Paris, before heading to Place Vendôme to get a closer look at Van Cleef & Arpels’ breathtaking high jewellery collection, and ending off at La Gaîté Lyrique for Hermès’ exuberant presentation/performance showcasing its Les jeux de l'ombre high jewellery collection.

In case you missed it: High Jewellery Highlights: Chaumet Dives Under the Waves and Buccellati Brings Out Treasures From the Past

Admiring the beauty of nature in Chaumet’s new exhibition

The connection between man and nature runs deep, and Chaumet is exploring the intertwined relationship between the two in a fabulous new exhibition at Les Beaux‑Arts de Paris titled Végétal – L’École de la Beauté. For the uninitiated, the title roughly translates to “the school of beauty”, and it was put together by celebrated botanist Marc Jeanson (more on him here), who created a magnificent exploration of nature’s impact on fashion, furniture, and jewellery, of course. Walking through the exhibition, which spans two floors, my guide and I drifted between some truly sparkling examples of man’s ingenuity and craftsmanship, among them tiaras and diadems that took inspiration from a sheaf of wheat or a sprig of oak (acorns and all), art deco bracelets with ginkgo leaf motifs, and more.

The profusion of flora and fauna in jewellery was complemented by some breathtaking pieces from the worlds of art, fashion and furniture. Of particular note was a special room featuring a wall length Dutch tapestry filled with lifelike flowers, insects and animals (my guide told me that almost every species of flower in the exhibition could be spotted in the tapestry), which faced a marvellous table of Italian origin that featured flowers and insects inlaid with semiprecious stones. In a word: stunning. The exhibition runs till September 4 and is not to be missed for jewellery lovers and aesthetes. Book your tickets here.

Van Cleef & Arpels takes our breath away with the Legend of Diamonds collection

Following the exhibition on the Left Bank, I crossed the Seine and cut through the grounds of the Louvre to make my way to Van Cleef & Arpels’ high jewellery presentation at the Place Vendôme. Taking over a quaint hotel at a corner of the fabled square, the French maison presented its latest creations: 25 eye-wateringly beautiful creations celebrating their pioneering Mystery setting, and more importantly, its Lesotho Legend diamond, which took pride of place, having been cut into 67 unique diamonds for the collection.

The Legend of Diamonds jewels, as they have been dubbed by the house, comprise of necklaces, rings, bracelets and brooches whose form takes inspiration from haute couture—a curling ribbon here, a fabulous collar there—and have been fashioned from the gemological mainstays of haute joaillerie—sapphires, rubies and emeralds. The brilliance of the Lesotho Legend diamonds shone through the pieces with a fiery magic, nonetheless. My particular favourite was the Atours Mystérieux necklace, which features a hefty 79.35 carat diamond.

Don’t miss: A Closer Look at the Van Cleef & Arpels Florae Exhibition in Paris

Other diamond creations created by the house to complement the Legend of Diamonds collection were brought forth with a touch of the art deco about them. Others referenced the house’s importance in pop culture: Jaqueline Kennedy’s famous Haricot clips have been reimagined as a brooch, while Elizabeth Taylor’s earrings have been updated for the modern era. 

And what’s a Van Cleef & Arpels collection without a reference or two to its house motifs? Whimsical fairies adorn brooches, while the house's admiration of ballet also found its way into the collection as a pair of earrings.

Hermès presents a playful collection of high jewellery

Then, it was a mad dash across town to reach La Gaîté Lyrique, the venue of Hermès’ new high jewellery collection. Ushered into the lavish surrounds of a holding room, I spotted the house’s creative director of fine jewellery Pierre Hardy making his rounds, stopping to speak with guests with a sly smile when prompted about the collection to be unveiled. And what a reveal! Starting off with a whispered word performance, the actors on stage worked the scene up to an exuberant crescendo of song and dance. Later, we found it was masterminded by Lina Lapelyté, whose work has been shown at the Venice Biennale of Art. Words that were repeated throughout the moving performance included: coordination, liberation, formation and foundation, as the actors danced on and off stage, then behind floor-length, colour-gradiated curtains where their shadows formed majestic shapes.

In case you missed it: Rock and Roll, High Jewellery and Hermès: Pierre Hardy Explains His Irreverent New Collection

But back to the jewellery. As you may have guessed, the collection was a play on light and shadow, and was titled Les jeux de l'ombre. Hardy was fascinated by the way light made interesting shadows after being cast on objects, and he brought the concept to life in this new collection, taking the maison’s iconic motifs such as the Chaine d’ancre and, pardon the pun, casting them in a new light. He told us later that the pieces had been 3D modelled and shone with a light at different angles, before their shadows were correspondingly sketched, and then translated into the actual pieces. Precious stones in the collection included diamonds (white and brown), pink and green tourmalines, yellow chrysoberyls, green beryl, and their matching shadows were fashioned from black spinels and a range of blue sapphires (even a midnight blue version that exuded inky glamour).

The highlight for me was a tongue-in-cheek reference to the house’s equestrian roots: a necklace in the form of a whip, curled just so around the neck to look as if placed there nonchalantly. It’s the irreverent approach that Hardy takes with his creations that make them such a delight to behold, but it’s the infinite wearability that makes them such hits in the world of high jewellery.

As the glittering week goes on, stay tuned for all our updates right here, and head over to our Instagram Stories to get a first look with us from the presentations in Paris.


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