For most of us, January is all about abstinence and good behaviour. For the fashion and jewellery industries, however, it’s an altogether more glamorous month. The end of January brings with it the first major (and most fantastical) fashion week of the year – Couture – and with it a glimpse of some truly show-stopping new high jewellery collections. And, as if that weren’t enough glitz and glamour to sustain the style set for a year, the whole affair is repeated again in June. After all, there’s no better way to showcase sparkling diamonds, rubies and sapphires than in the dazzling Parisian sun.
Distinct from fine jewellery, which is the bread-and-butter of most of the houses featured below, ‘high jewellery’ is what happens when brands deploy their big guns. Think the largest, most jaw-dropping stones, the finest craftsmanship and, accordingly, the loftiest price points. Got a few hundred thousand to drop on a pair of earrings? Step right this way. Allow us to present the most incredible new high jewellery collections of 2023…
Van Cleef & Arpels Le Grand Tour
One of the most original and innovative high jewellery collections of 2023, Van Cleef & Arpels takes its customers on that most classic of journeys: the Grand Tour. A popular pastime in the 18th and 19th centuries, the Grand Tour would see young aristocrats take in the sights, sounds and histories of Europe in an effort to broaden their minds before returning home to begin the responsibilities of work and family life. Paris and the cities of Italy were required stops but many participants extended their tours for two or three years, taking in destinations across Germany, Switzerland, the Alps, Austria and beyond.
As such, Van Cleef & Arpels has looked to some of Europe’s most romantic cities – Naples, Venice, London, Paris, Rome, Florence and Baden-Baden, to inform its latest high jewellery collection. In particular, pieces draw on the art and architecture these travellers would have admired in each location: the works of the Grand Siècle artists in Paris, the recently revealed relics of Herculaneum and Pompeii, the porcelain of Wedgwood and the seashell cameos of Torre del Greco which became popular souvenirs for travellers on the Grand Tour. Inspired.
Tiffany Out of the Blue
The first Tiffany Blue Book high jewellery collection to be designed by new chief artistic officer of jewellery and high jewellery, Nathalie Verdeille, Out of the Blue takes designs by legendary jeweller Jean Schlumberger and reimagines them for a modern audience. Famously fascinated with sea creatures, famous Schlumberger motifs, including shells, sea urchins, jellyfish and coral, provide the structure for the collection, with a dazzling array of designs presented under each theme. Among the highlights? A transformable shell pendant featuring a detachable diamond brooch starring a black opal weighing in at over 21 carats.
Pomellato Ode to Milan
In celebration of his 20th anniversary as the creative director of Pomellato, Vincenzo Castaldo has created a high jewellery collection that does what it says on the tin: offers an ode to Milan. Drawing inspiration from the many facets of this ever-evolving city, be that its modern skyscrapers, its medieval architecture, its reputation for theatrical creativity or its history as a seat of power in the Lombardy region, subtle nods towards city icons such as La Scala, Castello Sforzesco, the gothic Duomo and the colourful facades of Gio Ponti's building are in evidence throughout. We won't spoil the fun by telling you which is which...
Building on a story first told by Yves Piaget in his 1969 '21st Century Collection', Metaphoria is a 52-piece strong collection divided into two chapters: Azureia and Beautanica. Interpreting the forms, colours and intricacies of nature through fine stones and precious metals, the rushing water of mountain rivers come to life in diamonds, sapphires, aquamarines and rock crystals, while Akoya pearls, diamonds and aquamarines frost the neckline on the exquisite Aqua Summa necklace and Piaget's goldsmithing mastery is put front and centre in the organic forms of the sand-inspired Essentia chain. Also not to be missed: the Alata earring and ear cuff set which halos the ear in a spray of white gold, diamond and mother-of-pearl leaves.
A celebration of the ever-captivating yellow diamond, Graff's Sunrise collection has been created as an ode to one of the greatest and most coveted stones on the planet – and the house has managed to get its hands on a lot of them. Among the pieces, for example, is a necklace in which the central stone takes the form of an extremely rare 30-carat Fancy Intense Yellow pear-cut diamond (around which Graff has added another 138 carats of yellow and white diamonds for good measure).
“Yellow diamonds bring so much joy," says Graff design director Anne-Eva Geffroy. "It is an honour to be inspired by stones that radiate such beauty. The yellow diamonds we work with are exceptional in quality, cut and quantity. Very few jewellers have the luxury of such a wide range of colour.” We couldn't agree more.
Dior Les Jardins de la Couture
For her second high jewellery collection of 2023, Dior Joaillerie's Victoire de Castellane looked to the gardens in which her predecessor, Christian Dior, found endless inspiration for his fashion collections. One of the largest high jewellery collections of the year, made up of a huge 170 pieces, flowers and foliage come together in an array of pieces that run the gamut from playful and childlike to feminine and sophisticated in a visually arresting representation of the gardens at Granville, Milly-la-Forêt and La Colle Noire that were so close to Dior's heart.
De Beers Metamorphosis Chapter 2
The second part of the Metamorphosis high jewellery collection first introduced by De Beers in January 2023 (more on that below), Chapter Two builds on the original's Prelude set – in which an ear cuff was strung with four chrysalises – to present four subsequent butterflies, each spearheading a subset of jewels representing a different season.
Spring, inspired by the southern African King Protea flower, is bright with the colours of rose gold, white diamonds and a show-stopping 2.78-carat Fancy Intense Pinkish Purple diamond while Summer depicts the spirals of ammonite fossils in earthy yellow gold, white diamonds and an astonishing 7.61-carat Fancy vivid Yellow cushion-cut diamond. Autumn's golden hues find form in waves of Grand Feu enamel and diamonds while the icy depths of winter are given a magisterial presence in the angular forms of a truly spectacular multi-layered tiara.
For summer 2023, Italian house Bulgari applied its gem-setting know-how to a series of seriously extravagant watches and jewellery all inspired by the flora and fauna of the Mediterranean Sea. Among the standout pieces are two unique secret watches fashioned in the form of underwater gardens. The Giardino Marino Piccolo riffs on the colours of Southern Italy with aquatic-hued sapphires, tourmalines, emeralds, topaz and peridot, while the Giardino Marino Grande (pictured above) takes its cues from the flamboyant colours of a coral reef. Taking more than 3,900 hours to complete, it features over 4,800 precious stones, alongside a rubellite starfish and diamond and tourmaline seashell which can detached and worn as earrings.
Bucherer Inner Fire
A capsule collection comprised of just eight carefully considered pieces, Bucherer's Inner Fire is an ode to the spirit and magnetism of the modern woman. Designed by Hollie Bonneville Barden and rendered entirely in white diamonds and white gold, the collection is also a showcase of Bucherer's diamond-cutting expertise, highlighting a huge array of classical and contemporary cuts across the range. The star of the show is the Inner Fire collier (pictured above) which suspends an enormous pear-cut diamond between two fluid strands of exquisite stones.
Let’s kick things off with something truly stellar: a whopping, 50-carat D Flawless diamond. The oval-cut stone, which measures 30mm x 20mm, was unveiled unset by Laurence Graff in 2022, with its final form now revealed during Paris Couture Week. Set into a necklace featuring design elements from the house’s Tribal collection, the final piece boasts more than 264 diamonds totalling more than 150 carats. There’s no word on price but, should you leave with change from £25 million, you’re probably doing well.
Elsewhere, Graff used the occasion of Couture Week to display a series of colourful jewels set with a series of world-class stones. Not to be missed is a pair of white diamond earrings, each featuring a Fancy yellow diamond weighing over 20 carats, and a white-gold-and-diamond ring showcasing an emerald-cut unheated Ceylon sapphire clocking in at 30.73 carats.
De Beers Metamorphosis
Inspired by Mother Nature – and the 'process of change and evolution that remains her only constant' – the first chapter of De Beers’ new Metamorphosis high jewellery collection, Prelude, plays with four repeating motifs representing the four seasons. Warmed by the earthier tones of rose gold, yellow gold and brown and yellow diamonds, the collection is a masterful display of goldsmithing and gem setting, with each motif highlighting a different skill, including fil couteau (knife-edge setting), serti neige (snow setting) and perlage (gold beading).
Among the more contemporary pieces is a stunning ear cuff that arcs gracefully along the outer edge of the ear with each of the four motifs suspended from a series of graduated round-cut diamonds. At the end of each strand is a titanium chrysalis, all of which can be removed and worn as part of a charm bracelet. Not quite enough diamond for you? You’ll also find the four motifs hugging a 3.06 carat D-flawless solitaire diamond on a true gobstopper of a ring.
Marking 10 years since its Dear Dior collection, and five years since Dior Dior Dior, the Dior maison once again returns with a high jewellery collection that pays homage to its iconic founder and the extraordinary savoir-faire that goes into each of its couture collections. With Dearest Dior, artistic director Victoire de Castellane has turned her attention to an haute couture staple – lace – reinterpreting it in a series of pieces imbued with the lightness and intricacy of their inspiration.
Across the collection, fine metalwork sees mounts disappear, leaving rubies, sapphires, pearls and tourmalines to appear as if floating (and thus benefiting from an unrivalled abundance of natural light). Elsewhere, mesh sheets duplicate the delicacy of lace and, just like the original, drape and adapt to the curves of the body while providing the strength needed to suspend some serious stones.
Chaumet Liens Inséparables
Rather than introducing an entirely new collection, for 2023 Chaumet has added a new line to its famed Liens range. Introduced in 1977 to celebrate the human bonds often commemorated with jewellery, the collection has included both high and fine jewellery iterations, with each one featuring a signature intertwining lines motif.
With Liens Inséparables, Chaumet builds on this history with sensuous, romantic pieces underpinned by undulating or articulated designs which allow them to be worn as close to the skin as possible. Among the highlights are four necklaces – two long, two short – picked out in white gold, diamonds and, on two, sapphires. Appearing as if a ribbon of jewels has been gracefully draped around the neck, elegant white diamonds of up to two carats provide the perfect punctuation point.