High Jewellery collection
THE PURSUIT of A DREAM
by Alexandra Mas
“I love everything that is above us: the heavens, the moon, I believe in the stars.”
Mademoiselle placed the foundation for Chanel Haute Joaillerie when encouraged by the London Diamond Corporation to create jewellery pieces. Under her innovative eye they became a flamboyant collection of more than fifty chef-d’oeuvres. “Bijoux de Diamants” was the expression of a deeply personal vocabulary combining magical symbols, her passion for celestial bodies, childhood mementos, and the delicate perfection of the Haute Couture with its ribbons, bows, feathers, the « flou » knowhow as well as the perfectly structured tailoring principles; an opportunity to explore revolutionary ideas, and pursue a quest for the sublime.
“I want the jewelry on a woman’s fingers to be like a ribbon. My ribbons are supple and detachable.”
Response from the Interview “Gabrielle Chanel nous parle” in L’Intransigeant of November 8, 1932
90 years later, the « 1932 » High Jewelry collection is a voyage. With its twisting spirals and endlessly circling shooting stars, we embark in a pursuit of the celestial bodies, the theme Patrice Leguéreau retained from the legendary original collection for its purity of the lines and for its freedom of movement. The initial will of liberty and anatomic truthfulness is revisited with mastery by the CHANEL Fine Jewellery Creation Studio, offering an osmotic relationship with the ever-changing rhythms of the body.
channel, first ever high jewellery collection , “bijoux de diamants” 1939, original display
1932 was a dark year, in full depression, yet Coco Chanel understood it demanded hope and renewal. Her visionary mind bet on the power of dreams and the vitality of beauty making thus, the first ever High Jewellery collection around a theme and in one presentation. The success was immediate, the extreme purity, the value itself impervious to the vicissitudes of time. No need to mention the Diamond Corporation’s shares skyrocket, and so did the entire industry. (industry that was not so happy as we could imagine today)
“If I have chosen diamonds, it is because they represent the greatest value in the smallest volume.”
Coco Chanel “Bijoux de Diamants” press kit, 1932
Symbolist, friend of the arts and of the artists, each detail of the presentation was well thought-out: the jewelry exhibited, November 7 to 19th, perfect for holiday gifts, in a mise-en-scene that had never been seen before. All tickets were donated to the Société de la Charité Maternelle de Paris, established in 1784 under the patronage of Marie-Antoinette, and the Assistance Privée à la Classe Moyenne (Private Assistance for the Middle Class), presided over at that time by Maurice Donnay of the Académie Française. For the occasion, she also had the brilliant idea of commissioning Draeger, one of the great printers of the century, to make a sumptuous press kit of five framed black and white photographs of the jewelry, by Robert Bresson, a future giant of French cinema. On November 5, a symbolic number for Gabrielle Chanel, the private view opened in her townhouse. The Hôtel Rohan-Montbazon would be thronged by the international press and high society. Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso, Gloria Swanson, José-Maria and Roussy Sert, Georges Auric, and the Ballets Russes ballerina Alice Nikitina, Louis Metman, and Georges Duthuit, curators at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and the Louvre, Mademoiselle was the beating heart of her era. Taking her inspiration from Surrealism, and from Paul Iribe’s designs Gabrielle Chanel freed her jewelry from the traditional mounting and from the usual vitrines. On marble pedestals scattered around the salons, stood glass cases flooded with a mysterious light. Inside them, wax mannequins, cleaned, made up and styled by Mademoiselle herself, as illustrated in the famous drawings by Christian Bérard. Their necks and hands were studded with precious stones, their scintillations multiplied by an infinity of artfully placed mirrors made them look alive and offered the visitor multiple angles to study the impressive pieces.
“My stars! How could anything be more becoming or more eternally modern?”
The “Comète Saphir” collection with: a necklace, a bracelet, two pairs of earrings, and a ring show the glow of the Milky Way in a shower of round-cut diamonds, chevrons, and sapphires of extreme purity.
“I wished to return to the essence of 1932 and to harmonize the message around three symbols: the comet, the moon, and the sun. Each heavenly body shines with its own light.”
Patrice Leguéreau, Director of the CHANEL Fine Jewelry Creation Studio
Fragments of the skies, opals enter the collection with the “Comète Opale” bracelet, ring, and brooch. Together with the round-cut diamonds and pearls that Mademoiselle loved so much, their hypnotic fire plunges deep into the immensity of the cosmos.
Blue sapphires, blue and yellow diamonds, opals, rubies, spinels, tanzanites find a colorful contemporary delightful place within the collection. The ‘Star’ is a comet, a CHANEL jewellery icon, the “Allure Céleste” necklace. An oval sapphire of a deep and intense blue and an exceptional weight of 55.55 carats and a Type IIa DFL 8.05 carat pear-shaped diamond shine among the round-cut diamonds. 34 pieces are dedicated to the Comet symbol, guidance and protector of feminine destiny, shooting stars and gateways to heavens.
“I wanted to cover women with constellations. With stars! Stars of all sizes.”
Other 18 pieces are dedicated to the Moon which was a crescent solitary presence on just one piece in the “Bijoux de Diamants”. The “1932” collection unveils a full moon, its light glowing in a shimmering halo. Naturally there is also the power of the sun, with all the graphic clarity of its rays. Always in motion, always surprising, sometimes low in the sky, sometimes at its zenith: 24 exceptional pieces reproduce its brilliance, for which Mademoiselle had such a passion.
The “Soleil Doré” set combines the éclat of yellow gold and white diamonds to create the illusion of a blazing sun moving through the skies. The plastron illuminates
the décolleté with a vibrant halo, enhanced by the brilliance of a 3,02-carat oval-shaped diamond. The sun shines on the bracelet set with an oval-shaped diamond,
earrings set with two oval-shaped diamonds and a ring that adorns the finger with a beating heart sun.
Composed of yellow and white gold set with round-cut diamonds, the “Lune Solaire” ring and earrings reveal new faces of the moon, from rising
to setting. The pendant earrings sparkle with the brilliance of a pair of 2,01-carat yellow pear-shaped diamonds.