Best of the Best 2007: Colored Gems

At last fall’s  Paris Biennale, Cartier (800.227.8437, www.cartier.com) unveiled its latest high-jewelry collection, which reinterprets some of the jewelry house’s famous designs from the first half of the 20th century. Fresh, modern renditions of the colorful Tutti Frutti and sleek Panthère motifs are among the 42 pieces that playfully combine different colors and gemstones. Designers pair classic rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and diamonds with a surprising mix of spinel, amethyst, and tanzanite. To convey an exotic flair, they also incorporate beads and carved stones. One necklace features a 50-carat opal set among clusters of blue sapphire drop beads. Another necklace, a refined interpretation of the elaborate, Indian-influenced Tutti Frutti design from the 1920s, is appointed with leaf shapes carved from emeralds, rubies, and sapphires.

Moussaieff (+ may have gained renown for its classic diamond and gemstone pieces, yet the company’s director, Alisa Moussaieff, continues to introduce novel jewelry-making concepts. Last year, the New Bond Street jeweler presented several large flower brooches made of lightweight titanium embedded with hundreds of diamonds and gemstones. One piece, which is nearly as large as a baseball, is set with hundreds of pink and lavender sapphires, rubies, and diamonds. A similar size brooch rendered in gold or platinum would be too heavy to wear comfortably. “Titanium is extremely difficult to work with,” says Moussaieff, “but there is nothing like the steely gray color of highly polished titanium.”

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