A new golden age for jewellery
The high jewellery collections presented in 2023 are proof of a flourishing sector. The major houses showcased majestic centre stones, unbridled creativity, quotations from the past, opulence and, above all, pieces that will go down in history as milestones in the history of jewels. Photos: Buonomo & Cometti. Text: Isabelle Cerboneschi, Paris
For the past decade or so, jewellery has been the fastest-growing sector in the luxury goods industry. This is due not only to the beauty of the pieces and the existence at the other end of the chain of a clientele of connoisseurs and collectors that has grown steadily over the years, but above all to the enduring value of the jewels. A jewel signed by a great house, adorned with a centre stone with an investment value, will only appreciate in value over time.
Jewellery is the category that provides reassurance in troubled times, and is flying from record to record. In 2022, the global jewellery market was valued at $340.69 billion and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.6% between 2023 and 2030, according to analysts. It has a bright future ahead of it. But jewellery cannot be appreciated solely in terms of its financial value: it is a creative space that allows the artistic directors of the major houses to express themselves with shapes and stones like a painter with his colours.
Boucheron Pop Art jewellery
The one who took this exercise the furthest this year was undoubtedly Claire Choisne, the creative director of Boucheron. Her “More is More” collection is inspired by the world of comic books and Pop Art, and her jewellery looks as if it has been cut out of a Roy Lichtenstein painting. They give the illusion of being two-dimensional, when in fact they are not. “We started work on this collection in 2020, at the end of the second confinement in France. I wanted to bring joy into jewellery and feel it. We worked on extravagant volumes, very simple shapes, optical effects and bright colours. The jewellery looks like it belongs in a comic strip,” says Claire Choisne. The collection includes an oversized hair bow, hoodie cords and even a pocket set with magnets. Never before seen in the world of jewellery.
Van Cleef & Arpels takes jewellery on Le Grand Tour
Van Cleef & Arpels’ Le Grand Tour collection pays homage to the European journeys undertaken by aristocrats in the 18th and 19th centuries. The jeweller has chosen several specific places to express its creativity, its history, its expertise and the beauty of its stones. The itinerary takes in England, France, Italy and Baden Baden, not forgetting Switzerland, or rather the Alps, which provides an opportunity to see two of the finest pieces in the collection. But perhaps it’s our chauvinistic spirit that’s expressing itself… This collection is not a stylistic revolution, on the contrary: it highlights all the traditional techniques of fine jewellery. Above all, it carries an unwritten message, almost a lesson for our times: culture and beauty are eternal.
Cartier’s new horizons
Cartier continues its epic journey, and its latest collection, “Le Voyage Recommencé”, is the perfect expression of the Parisian house’s savoir-faire. It allows the jeweller to explore all the styles for which it is renowned. It’s a way of recalling a vocabulary that has been constantly expanding for 176 years. Some of the pieces reveal the artistic influence of countries such as India and China, which were sources of inspiration for the company in the past, but interpreted in a contemporary way. Perhaps the most unexpected aspect of this collection is the use of unusual stone cuts: kite-shaped, triangular or half-moon-shaped. And let’s not forget the panther, the most famous animal in the jewellery world and eternally associated with Cartier, which appears languid on a bed of engraved sapphires.
Chanel’s precious tweed
With its Tweed de Chanel collection, the house with the double C is writing the second chapter of a story that unfolds halfway between fashion and fine jewellery. Patrice Leguéreau, director of Chanel’s jewellery design studio, dedicated his first collection to the house’s famous emblematic fabric in 2020. He will do so again in 2023. It’s a real tour de force by the workshops, who have succeeded in giving the illusion of a fabric with gold and precious stones. The highlight of the collection is undoubtedly the Tweed Royal necklace, a versatile piece that can be worn in a variety of ways, with its detachable lion’s head brooch jealously guarding a pear-shaped diamond weighing more than 10 carats.
The magical garden of Dior
Victoire de Castellane, the artistic director of Dior jewellery, continues to enchant us with a jewellery collection where realism cannot go without a dreamlike touch. Her latest collection, “Les Jardins de la Couture”, features no fewer than 170 pieces. Among them is a garden, a marvellous miniature garden that holds a whole gold necklace. At the presentation at Villa Erba, the childhood home of film director Luchino Visconti, on the shores of Lake Como, the jewellery was worn by models dressed in haute couture outfits designed especially for the occasion by Maria Grazia Chiuri, Dior’s artistic director. One of the navy-coloured dresses was embellished with a precious piece of jewellery, a belt set entirely with diamonds, offering a new way of wearing it. Victoire de Castellane’s jewels, some of which resemble tangy sweets, tells stories where adults and their childlike souls love to venture.
The Chaumet ode to nature
Chaumet invites us to explore the world of nature, interpreted through the eyes of Ehssan Moazen, the director of the Chaumet design studio, with its collection “Le Jardin de Chaumet”. The designer gives pride of place to all flowers and plants, whether the most voluptuous, like the arum, the simplest, like wheat, or the most common, like mistletoe, magnified by the Mistletoe necklace in platinum and white gold, set with a 21.59-carat cushion-cut Colombian emerald and fine pearls. It appears to have been picked that very morning, still beaded with frost.