A frosty Paris was the backdrop to sparkling displays of high jewellery from the world’s leading maisons. Increasingly the week of Paris Couture is a focus for high jewellery launches when clients and press are in town and fit in jewellery viewing in between the runway shows.
Below is our selection of the standout pieces from the January 2023 presentations. The wide range of styles is testament to the growing number of players in the high jewellery realm. New comers include Gucci that made its first high jewellery called Hortus Deliciarum in 2019 and names like Louis Vuitton who’s initial high jewellery collection Les Ardentes was presented in 2008. Chanel made its debut high jewellery in 1932 with Gabriel Chanel’s daring Bijoux de Diamants but the eye-wateringly valuable diamond jewels was a one-off for the designer and the pieces were later dismantled at the height of the Great Depression. The house revived the tradition and Chanel’s first high jewellery collection was in 2010 with the Plumes diamond jewels. Dior’s first high jewellery collection was Milly-la-Forêt, which was presented in 1999 just a year after Victoire de Castellane joined the house as the head of jewellery.
Alongside these relative newcomers are the traditional names of Place Vendôme such as Boucheron and Cartier as well as international names including Graff, De Beers and David Morris from the UK and Repossi with its roots in Italy.
I have selected each jewel as the epitome of the collection and for its ability to convey the spirit of each jewellery house.
Wit and grace run through Boucheron’s Like a Queen jewels inspired by the late Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond and aquamarine brooch. Re-imagined for a new generation, these transformable jewels capture the spirit of high jewellery with a contemporary twist.
Cartier Beautés du Monde
Cartier presents the third chapter of Beautés du Monde that captures the glory of the world from the beauty of a peacock feather to the majesty of a Japanese kimono. The Obi necklace evokes embroidery from the land of the rising sun in this necklace set with a 12.53-carat Zambian emerald in Cartier’s hallmark colours of red, black and green.
Chanel Pique Auguille
Bringing the world of haute couture to high jewellery watches, Chanel chooses the humble pin cushion – or pique auguille – as the shape for oversized watch dials. The large dome allows space for miniature scenes associated with the French couturier to be rendered in precious metals and gemstones.
Chopard Exceptional Stones 100-carat fancy intense yellow diamond necklace
Breaking with tradition, Chopard presented un-mounted stones rather than finished jewels. Seeing the stones alongside sketches of possible designs offered an engaging way to view the very start of the journey of a masterpiece. Loose stones included a vivid yellow Ceylon sapphires weighing over 150-carats, a Sri Lankan sapphire just shy of 27 carats and a 16-carat Paraiba tourmaline from Mozambique. But it was clear that one finished necklace was star of the show. A 100-carat fancy intense yellow diamond necklace so bright, that the cold Paris afternoon melted away in the beams of perfect light.
David Morris Starlight necklace
Connoisseurs of high jewellery know to head to David Morris on Bond Street in London where on any day of the year an eye-popping array of the best of the best diamonds and gemstones is on offer. The Starlight necklace from the Skylines collection is in fact two necklaces that can be worn as one and features over 50 carats of diamonds, to create a constellation to drape on the skin.
De Beers Metamorphosis Prelude Cuff earrings
Over the past two decades, De Beers has morphed from miner to purveyor of some pretty impressive jewellery. The Metamorphosis collection pays homage to the seasons with surprisingly contemporary and colourful jewels such as this ear cuff with coloured titanium buds at the tip of the diamond strands.
Out of the seventy-seven extraordinary creations presented during Couture week in Paris, this necklace set with emeralds and diamonds, is my favourite. It is an ode to the maison’s heritage and savoir-faire and to the talent of Victoire de Castellane, Creative Director of Dior Joaillerie, for conveying a multi-faceted femininity, both fragile and powerful, timeless and infinitely modern.
Graff 50 carat D Flawless necklace
Graff’s new Paris boutique is a palatial dwelling in which to display the London firm’s most dazzling diamond jewels. And the star of the show during Couture 2023 was the 50 carat D Flawless necklace. The central stone of 50 carats is surrounded by another 100 carats of diamonds for a look that could only be from a house with as much diamond knowledge as Graff.
Gucci Hortus Deliciarum diamond necklace
Gucci celebrates four years since it first launched high jewellery and its relative youth in the sector has not held it back from embracing the spirit of high jewellery with opulent, distinctive highly valuable jewels with the Gucci stamp of quirky individuality. The necklace and matching earrings took 300 hours of production time to create the star bursts trimmed diamond bows that make up this ladylike set with a rococo air.
Louis Vuitton Destiny
Louis Vuitton continues the Destiny story with Chapter II, designed by Francesca Amfitheatrof that transform the house’s motifs into bold and empowering jewels. The Destiny necklace set with diamonds and rubies combines the famous V with a diamond cut into the star monogram shape, more normally seen on trunks and handbags.
Repossi La Ligne
The latest edition of La Ligne is Repossi’s fourth high jewellery collection in which Repossi’s elegant minimalism reaches new heights as flawless diamonds offer a thoroughly contemporary way to wear high jewellery with cool aplomb. The long clean lines of the jewels and minimal stone settings make diamonds appear to float above the skin.
The David Morris Starlight necklace from the Skyline collection features over 50 carats of diamonds
Boucheron Like a Queen Moon White set with diamonds and pearls.
Chanel’s Pique Aiguille watches are inspired by the humble pin cushion.
Cartier Beautés du Monde Obi necklace with a 12.53-carat Zambian emerald.
The 4th edition of Repossi’s La Ligne offers elegant minimalism in thoroughly contemporary diamond jewellery with influences from architecture and art.
The Gucci Hortus Deliciarum diamond and white gold necklace took 300 hours of production time to create and features star bursts trimmed diamond bows.
Louis Vuitton continues the Destiny story with Chapter II with knock-out pieces such as this ruby and diamond necklace that weaves in the Star monogram motif as well as the V from the LV logo.
The Graff 50 carat D Flawless necklace is surrounded by another 100 carats of diamonds for a look that sets this London jeweller apart.
Without doubt the 100-carat fancy intense yellow diamond necklace from Chopard’s Exceptional Stones was star of the show for this Swiss jewellery house.
Set with diamonds, emerald and green lacquer, this necklace is a new interpretation of the subtlety of lace, embodied by the Dearest Dior high jewellery collection presented in January 2023.
De Beers Metamorphosis Prelude cuff earring with colour titanium buds at the end of the strands of diamonds.