Conversations about high jewelry tend to focus on stones of spectacular rarity—say, a rough yellow diamond the size of a quail egg—but this year, the latest haute creations out of Paris put a premium on innovative techniques and materials. The results are forward-thinking designs that push the boundaries of presentation, feel and execution. Here, a look at a trio of stunning debuts with one-of-a-kind jewels; prices for all three are (no surprise) upon request.
Just a few days before the Cannes Film Festival in mid-July, Chopard premiered select pieces from its latest Red Carpet Collection for clients, knowing they would be immediately whisked away for high-wattage appearances on the Boulevard de la Croisette. In addition to being one of the festival’s official partners, Chopard is a favorite among A-list actresses thanks to its frequent use of titanium to create lightweight designs, which makes even sizable statement pieces easier to wear during long evenings. Such is the case with these high-impact chandelier earrings, worn by Jessica Chastain at the festival, which are decked out with 85.57 carats of oval-shaped rhodolites set in titanium and framed by 2.65 carats of pink sapphires to create a subtle, tonal effect.
Dubbed Sixième Sens, or Sixth Sense, Cartier’s latest high-jewelry collection incorporates nature’s most beautiful stones into designs inspired by optical illusions—as well as subtle references to the maison’s icons. (A mosaic of yellow and white diamonds edged with onyx, for example, nods to the house’s Panthère de Cartier emblem.) Cartier is also heavily invested in the idea of convertible jewels, designs that artfully transform a pendant into a ring or a brooch, or vice versa. Featuring a 21.51-carat cabochon-cut sapphire, the top of the Parhelia ring seen above detaches to be worn as a brooch. The piece feels wholly architectural, but the diamonds and emeralds fanning out from the center stone are arranged to evoke the peacocks Louis Cartier favored in his 1920s designs.
Creative director Claire Choisne says she achieved the new Holographique collection’s wild spectrum of hues by using a material lifted from airport-runway lighting. Choisne worked with Saint-Gobain, a French supplier that specializes in a spray material composed of oxide of titanium and silver which covers the landing strips in a holographic coating. Applying the product instead to rock crystal and ceramic accented with diamonds and gemstones resulted in mesmerizing designs that assume different colors and depths of hue depending on the viewing angle. The collection’s centerpiece is a necklace of crystal blades sprayed with the holographic coating and edged with diamonds set in 18-karat white gold; a 20.21-carat octagonal yellow sapphire sits at its center.