hile the eyes of the fashion world may be on the runways of Paris Couture Week, over on the Place Vendôme, collections of a different but equally stunning nature are being unveiled. The traditional home of high jewellery – the term reserved for the most exquisite, innovative and, inevitably, expensive jewellery collections released each year – the Place Vendôme is also the address of choice for the select few houses capable of crafting creations worthy of the title.
Featuring the finest craftsmanship and most flawless stones, and with almost every piece a unique design, these are jewels destined for truly VVIP customers – with many snapped up within days of being released (despite price tags that can reach six figures). Our round-up of 2022’s most spectacular high jewellery collections may be the closest you’ll ever come to seeing them but, trust us, they’re worth the scroll.
Building on the success of 2021’s Torsade de Chaumet high jewellery collection – a range imbued with life and movement thanks to ribbons of diamonds twisted around coloured gemstones – Déferlante offers fluidity inspired by another source: water. Taking its cues from the Wavescroll tiara, which was designed by founder Joseph Chaumet circa 1900, among the highlights of the eight-piece collection is the Déferlante tiara, which features 1,600 brilliant and step-cut diamonds with an intricate design based on an archival drawing of a fountain.
Elsewhere, a 6.05 carat diamond is framed by a spray of stones on a ring which upends notions of the traditional solitaire, while a magnificent necklace features three rows of intertwining diamonds from which are suspended emerald, square and pear-cut diamonds forming the most decadent dewdrops.
Boucheron Histoire de Style: New Maharajahs
Just as the couture collections often hark back to the signature silhouettes and fabrics of a fashion house, so too do designers delve into the history of jewellery maisons – and Boucheron’s latest collection is inspired by one of the most memorable moments of them all. In 1928 Bhupindar Sing, the Maharajah of Patiala, visited Paris, bringing with him 40 staff and taking over 35 suites at the Ritz. A famous fan of all things sparkly, jewellers waited with bated breath to see which Place Vendôme boutique he would favour before he stepped into the Boucheron atelier and placed the largest order in the square’s history: 149 custom pieces to be exact.
With New Maharajahs, Boucheron creative director Claire Choisne pays homage to this remarkable moment – and the resulting designs – to create intricate, lavish pieces centred around diamonds, emeralds and pearls. “In our archives, we have kept the 149 original designs from which I got my inspiration for this collection,” says Choisne. “I wanted to transpose these designs into the 21st century, and to reinvent them for today’s Maharanis and Maharajahs.” Stand out pieces include the New Maharani Nacre necklace: a transformable piece in which 5,178 Japanese pearls cascade from a diamond necklace which can be worn long, or as a short necklace and two-bracelet set.
One of the most expansive of the Spring 2022 high jewellery collections, Galons Dior features 81 original pieces designed by artistic director Victoire de Castellane and inspired by Christian Dior and his mastery of couture. Indeed even the name 'Galons' is taken from the world of high dressmaking, referring to the pretty decorative ribbons found on many couture pieces and, in turn, the care and attention to detail that goes into each piece.
Across the Galons collection white diamonds are punctuated by rubies, sapphires and emeralds in a series of delicate, intricate designs that utilise the span of stone cuts to create asymmetric pieces that juxtapose contemporary geometric patterns with romantic florals and traditional, fluid lines. For the first time in Dior Joaillerie's history, the Galons high jewellery collection also includes a range of brooches and cufflinks for men, reflecting the ongoing jewellery partnership between de Castellane and menswear designer Kim Jones (see more below).
De Beers The Alchemist of Light
A great jeweller knows that sourcing a good stone is only half the battle. To reveal the true beauty of a diamond it must be cut in such a way as to allow the light to highlight its depth and clarity – and it is this expertise that De Beers celebrates with its latest high jewellery collection. “Our new The Alchemist of Light High Jewellery collection represents the pinnacle of diamond expertise and artistry,” explains Céline Assimon, CEO of De Beers Jewellers. “These daring designs push creative and technical boundaries, inspired by the exceptional diamonds that De Beers is able to source, cut and polish to the most exacting standards. A sublime fusion of art and science, precision and imagination, tradition and modernity.”
Created as two chapters, with the second to be unveiled during Paris Couture Week in July, the first edition is comprised of the Atomique and Light Rays sets. The former is dedicated to the purity of white diamonds, pressing them into the service of geometric patterns and abstract designs, with a draw-dropping 18.57 carat flawless round diamond providing the centrepiece of a necklace, ring and earring set. Light Rays, meanwhile, boasts nine pieces incorporating diamonds and coloured stones inspired by the hues of sunshine breaking through dark clouds.
Chanel 1932 Allure Celeste
This year will see Chanel mark the 90th anniversary of its Bijoux de Diamants collection – the first high jewellery collection created by Coco Chanel in 1932. Accordingly, it will debut a new high-jewellery collection, named 1932, in May, with just one piece tantalisingly launched during Paris Couture Week in January.
The Allure Celeste necklace is being hailed as the hero of the 1932 collection, which, like Bijoux de Diamants, will carry a celestial theme throughout. This stellar transformable piece incorporates star, sun and moon motifs, with two particularly stunning stones – an 8.05 carat pear-cut diamond and 55.55 carat oval-cut sapphire – offering the most exquisite focal points.
Dior Men’s Haute Joaillerie
While recent seasons have seen some change – both Valentino and Boucheron included pieces for men in their recent collections – it’s fair to say that both couture and high jewellery are disciplines still largely reserved for women. Which makes Dior’s ongoing collaboration between menswear designer Kim Jones and fine jewellery creative director Victoire de Castellane quite the innovation.
Debuting with the Summer 2022 men’s collection, the partnership has so far yielded three high jewellery pieces, each corresponding to, and inspired by, Jones’ menswear designs. The latest, for Winter 2022-23, is an Art Deco white gold bracelet with emeralds and diamonds which, in tribute to the house's founder, foregrounds the initials ‘CD’.