Glistening jewels and the holidays have always gone hand in hand. This year, history and nature are the driving forces behind the most dramatic new jewelry collections. From timeless, classical diamonds set in tiaras and barrettes to mysterious moonstones to organic lava rocks, these exceptional collections reflect rare daring amid a sea of sameness.
Once Upon a Diamond
During the grandiose days of the reign of Napoléon and Empress Josephine, the house of Chaumet basked in pomp and glory as royal jeweler. Founded in 1780 in Paris by Marie-Étienne Nitot, the French jeweler created artistic designs that portrayed the splendor and fairy-tale setting of Napoléon’s court.
Today, Chaumet is reviving its glorious heritage with a new collection of diamond jewelry that draws inspiration from its past, yet is decidedly fresh. The new Frisson collection, which makes its debut this holiday season, features 25 haute joaillerie pieces. The collection represents an effort to restore the original luster and cachet to this sleepy French jewelry and watch house, which is now owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
Inspired by nature, the Frisson collection combines a variety of diamond cuts—including pear, baguette, princess, rose, briolette, and cushion—to depict a ray of sunshine on the morning frost or delicate dewdrops suspended in air. Chaumet has also created diamond tiaras and barrettes, and a pinkie ring with diamonds trickling down the finger, all of which hark back to its celebrated days as the court jeweler. One standout design is the five-row diamond collar featuring varying stone cuts and a 12.75-carat pear-cut diamond suspended like a drop of water running down the neck.
While the simplicity and delicacy of the new collection reflects today’s style, there is an air of irreverence in the treatment of the diamonds and gold that is reminiscent of the Napoléonic era, when Paris was the summit of fashion and luxury. With the launch of Frisson, it appears as though Chaumet would like to recapture the grandeur of an earlier age.
Chaumet, 866.273.3465, www.chaumet.com
Since 1997, when the couple opened the Phipps Jewelry Co.—a by-appointment atelier on the grounds of the equestrian compound—the business had been a well-kept secret among extended family and friends. These days, the secret is out, and the pair frequently travel to New York, Chicago, and Sarasota to meet with a growing number of private patrons. “My clientele tends to be a little jaded,” explains Gavin, a descendent of the distinguished Phipps family, one of America’s steel dynasties at the turn of the 20th century that later became prominent horse breeders. “They’ve seen everything, and they want completely different, yet timeless, jewelry.”
To satisfy the demanding nature of their clients, the Phippses custom-design jewelry with nontraditional gemstones, such as honey-colored moonstones, and unusual natural materials like black Sicilian lava. Gavin describes the lava as “seductive” and will pair it with brilliant rubies and D-flawless diamonds in an upcoming collection. His latest cache of gems includes large, rough, taupe-colored moonstones from India, which he plans to combine with brown and black diamonds as well as black opals from Australia. “Nature supplies us with beautiful stones in every color and texture,” he says. “But it takes a human touch to bring them to life.”
Phipps Jewelry Co., 850.894.0800
Earlier this year, jewelry designer Temple St. Clair Carr received a cash infusion of roughly $4 million from Tiffany & Co., which recognized the designer’s distinctive jewelry company as a sound investment. With the backing of a powerhouse like Tiffany’s, Carr moved swiftly to open two eponymous jewelry boutiques this fall to showcase the breadth of her collection, including a selection of imaginative, one-of-a-kind pieces. The first boutique opened last month at the South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif., and the second is slated to open in November in Short Hills, N.J.
After nearly 20 years of operating her own small jewelry business, Carr is growing more adventurous with unique and voluptuous pieces made exclusively for her stores. Among her latest creations is a sizable bracelet featuring more than 20 exceptional blue moonstones in varying shapes and sizes. Another standout is an 18-karat gold bracelet with a 30-carat seafoam-green beryl centerpiece surrounded by carved vines and accented with diamonds. The new pieces remain faithful to the designer’s signature style, which portrays rich 18-karat gold with delicate, yet simple, adornment. Her designs reflect a long-held passion for Italian Renaissance art and literature, she explains. “I’ve taken the language of the classics and turned it into my own modern jewelry aesthetic.”
Temple St. Clair Carr, 800.590.7985