Haute spot: high jewellery’s fine lines and fantastic forms

Jewellery designers experiment with innovative methods

Chaumet brooch

(Image credit: Chaumet )

Chaumet Garden of Earthly Delights brooch: Chaumet have long been inspired by nature, originally incorporating whimsical themes into their high jewellery as a tribute to keen nature lover Empress Joséphine. Diamond-encrusted foliage winding around tiaras and precious wheat sheafs have both become synonymous with the identity of the Maison, but now it is the turn of the rather less glamorous scarecrow. Here cast in white and rose gold and sporting a jaunty hat, manderin garnet dangling, he chews thoughtfully on a sheaf of wheat, uniting Chaumet’s centuries-old historical references in one charming silhouette.

Writer: Hannah Silver

Cindy chao earrings

(Image credit: Cindy Chao)

Cindy Chao Black Label Masterpiece earrings: This year’s Black Label Masterpiece collection unveiled by Cindy Chao at TEFAF develops themes she introduced last year. We saw her using aluminum in 2019’s exquisite butterfly brooch, and she is once again attracted by unexpected materials in the Ebony Diamond earrings. This time, it is the ebony which takes centre stage, a foil for the cushion cut diamond and brown-yellow diamond. Extremely delicate it may be, but its resistant nature makes it the ideal seat for the gems, the warmth of the polished ebony accentuating the clarity of the diamonds.

Writer: Hannah Silver

Chanel earrings

(Image credit: Chanel)

Chanel Tweed de Chanel earrings: Paris Couture Week is almost upon us, and Chanel (opens in new tab) has whetted our appetite in spectacular style with the brand new Tweed de Chanel collection. The material was an enduring favourite of Gabrielle Chanel’s  –who could identify tweed which had been washed in the River Tweed’s waters – and later became an integral part of her womenswear collection. Now, it’s the turn of high jewellery, and the first collection devoted only to tweed interprets the warm and soft nature of woollen cloth with a glorious mesh of precious materials. Diamonds, pearls and sapphires are layered, intertwined and twisted into bracelets, rings, necklaces and earrings, pictured, for glorious results as textured and rich as tweed itself.

Writer: Hannah Silver

Chaumetgallery

(Image credit: Chaumet)

Chaumet ‘Les Ciels de Chaumet Nuages d’or’ brooch: The Parisian maison scaled great heights when crafting its latest High Jewellery collection, taking inspiration from a myriad of sky-inspired artistic references, from solar discs emblazoned on Ancient Egyptian frescoes to Van Gogh’s gold-flooded Provençal sun, Turner’s expansive Hebridean skies, to Matisse’s abstract birds in flight. It wasn’t just the vastness of the atmosphere which inspired Chaumet (opens in new tab). The maison also looked back into its own expansive archive when designing its sky-high creations. Its ‘Nuages d’or’ pieces are inspired a gold necklace from 1890, featuring baroque pearls resembling bulging Cumulonimbus clouds. Here, the baguette and brilliant-cut diamonds of this brooch are tessellated to resemble a graphic group of clouds, and sharp slivers of gold illuminate them like beams of sunlight. Each of the brooch’s clouds has been shaped by hand, in a nod to the unique forms in nature. 

Writer: Laura Hawkins

David Morris Miss Daisy

(Image credit: David Morris )

David Morris Miss Daisy brooch: The Miss Daisy collection from David Morris (opens in new tab) is synonymous with feminine floral detailing, marrying gems in a precious tribute to the two superimposed flowers of the daisy. Now, the collection has for the first time included a brooch in its roster of rose-cut diamond jewels. Juxtaposing delicate micro-set white diamonds with the cool, contemporary lines of the safety-pin fastening, it will add a blindingly sharp edge to a lapel.

Writer: Hannah Silver

Boghossian Gold Thread earrings

(Image credit: Boghossian)

Boghossian Gold Thread earrings: Boghossian (opens in new tab), exhibiting this week at Design Miami, has drawn inspiration from the Silk Collection launched last year for its carefully considered booth. A piece crafted from gold thread is at the heart of Danish artist Kia Utzon-Frank’s vision, which unites silk blinds with Lebanese furniture designer Nada Debs’ richly lacquered pieces. The striking amalgamation of textures and cultures is reflected in the jewels themselves: these Gold Thread earrings are woven from 18-ct gold silk and edged with a mosaic of moonstone, dark cornaline and mother of pearl. Using modern technology and ancient references, they succinctly capture the rich multiculturalism at the heart of the brand.

Writer: Hannah Silver 

Cindy Chao Emerald Architectural Necklace

(Image credit: Cindy Chao )

Cindy Chao Emerald Architectural Necklace: Green hues collide in Cindy Chao (opens in new tab)’s Emerald Architectural Necklace, a highlight of the Black Label Masterpieces Chao unveiled at TEFAF Maastricht. Chao uses both an eighteenth century wax sculpting technique and more contemporary techniques, in what is a sculptural tribute to her architect grandfather. Astonishing emerald-cut Colombian emeralds are paired with 10,000 pieces of brilliantly green emerald beads for a pleasingly tangible clash of textures, linked together by specially-cut baguette emeralds in what is a stylish yoke.

Writer: Hannah Silver

Repossi Blast ring

(Image credit: Repossi)

Repossi Blast ring: It’s fitting that Repossi’s (opens in new tab) latest high jewellery collection is titled ‘Blast’: the expertly coiled rings and cuffs in the offering are sending a shock waves through our senses. There’s a tribal touch behind the layers of ridged pink gold which make up the pieces, which nod to stacks of coiled metal bracelets and rings, or lengths of curved wires laced with strings of beads. Gaia Repossi is fascinated by the concept of a floating diamond, which appear as if suspended in the air. The cushion cut diamond in this design appears to float from the edge of the ring, fluctuating between the contours of two fingers.

Writer: Laura Hawkins

Wendy Yue

(Image credit: Wendy Yue)

Wendy Yue: We love Wendy Yue’s (opens in new tab) ebullient flora and fauna-inspired jewels, rendered in kaleidoscopic gemstones. The Hong Kong native weaves cultural tradition into her designs, including the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac. A tribute to her own birth year, Yue’s Over the Rainbow ring features a cheeky monkey clambering up to peer over a carved coral rose, set into the ring itself. Her playful use of colour has a more serious purpose - the candy apple-red coral intensifies the electric hues of the surrounding sapphires and diamonds. 

Writer: Caitlin McDonald

Boghossian Samarkand Ring

(Image credit: Boghossian)

Boghossian Samarkand Ring: Each piece in Boghossian’s (opens in new tab) new Silk collection recalls one of the merchant hubs stationed along the Silk Road, and we’d trade all our riches for this Samarkand ring. In coral, lapis lazuli and white diamond, the blossoming rose motif is based on the brilliantly-coloured, intricate mosaics that tile the walls of the ancient city. Each of the overlapping coral petals, meticulously carved by the house’s lapidaries, is lined with diamonds - Boghossian’s signature inlay technique, requiring minimal volumes of gold, means that the stones appear perfectly flush within each other.

Writer: Caitlin McDonald

Suzanne Syz ‘All Tired Up’:

(Image credit: Suzanne Syz )

Suzanne Syz ‘All Tired Up’: As flurries of heel-skidding snow fell in Paris during High Jewellery Week, it’s fitting that pieces in Suzanne Syz’s (opens in new tab) latest collection had a practical weather-faring punch. We’re sure these ‘All Tired Up’ rings could weather any snowstorm. Constructed from titanium, their industrial track markings contrast with the natural lines of the finger. Water is a recurrent theme in Syz’s newest offering. A silver and enamel ‘Arctic Ice’ ring evokes a lump of snow with a hidden paraíba tourmaline, while a pair of oversized earrings feature miniature ‘Hot’ and ‘Cold’ taps leaking tourmaline droplets. These rings are set with diamonds, like icy snowflakes trapped between tire tracks.

Writer: Laura Hawkins

Chanel ‘1 Camélia 5 Allures’

(Image credit: Chanel)

Chanel ‘1 Camélia 5 Allures': The camellia – Gabrielle Chanel’s favourite flower – is a recurring emblem at the house of Chanel (opens in new tab), whether it's round petals are used to frame the dial of timepieces or imagined as ceramic adornments on Haute Couture gowns (a detail seen in the maison's S/S 2019 collection earlier this week). The Parisian maison's latest ‘Chanel 1 Camélia 5 Allures' high jewellery collection also celebrates the geometric and simplistic detail of this flower. It is conceived of 50 flora-inspired pieces, some of which are modular and can be worn in a variety of different ways. We find these earrings particularly flourishing. Central camellia motifs feature asymmetric strands of emeralds and diamonds, distinct and individual and lending a new modernity to the designs.

Writer: Laura Hawkins

David Morris rare pink pearl earrings

(Image credit: David Morris)

David Morris: Pink pearls are rarely found larger than the size of a Tic Tac, so it’s a real sweet sensation, that London jeweller David Morris (opens in new tab) has amassed a larger-than-life selection of the rare gems for its latest high jewellery collection. These earrings feature four candy floss hued pearls sourced in the Caribbean, and their beauty lies in the asymmetry in both their colour and shape. This off-kilter elegance is emphasised in the wider design of the earrings, which are set with asymmetrically coloured diamonds. From ice-blue to sunset orange, coloured stones have been a signature of David Morris since it launched in 1962. Blush-pink is particularly synonymous with the house, and the purple diamonds, rose gold and sugary pink pearls in these earrings emulate its coveted softly romantic colour palette.

Writer: Laura Hawkins

Cindy Chao’s ‘Greenovia Brooch

(Image credit: Cindy Chao)

Cindy Chao’s ‘Greenovia Brooch’: With the festive season in full swing, we’ve fallen for the sparkling green tones in Taiwanese jeweller Cindy Chao’s (opens in new tab) ‘Greenovia Brooch’. The piece is formed from almost 2500 green gemstones which form different verdant gradations of colour across its curving petals and stem. The varying sizes of the stones give the piece a naturalistic flair, one enhanced by the creamy 105-ct Chrysoberyl Cat’s Eye in the flower’s centre.

Writer: Laura Hawkins

Mikimoto ‘Jeux de Rubans

(Image credit: Mikimoto)

Mikimoto ‘Jeux de Rubans': Japanese pearl specialist Mikimoto (opens in new tab) has honed in on a particularly feminine motif for its new high jewellery collection. Named ‘Jeux de Rubans', it sees the house’s trademark lustrous pearls translated into twisting bows and ribbons. In one necklace, cultured Akoya pearls appear meticulously gathered into a lace-like ruff, cinched around the neck by a thin diamond-set chain that appears to fall into a draping bow. But it was Mikimoto’s sculptural diamond and pink sapphire ring that really caught our eye: it billows off the finger like an unwinding spool of satin, with a rare, creamy-pink conch pearl resting in the middle.

Writer: Caitlin McDonald

De Beers Ring

(Image credit: De Beers)

De Beers (opens in new tab) ‘Diamond Legends’: The diamond specialist celebrates its 130th anniversary this year, and to mark the milestone the house delved into diamond-focused myths and legends in Greek, Roman and Egyptian history. The house honed in the Egyptian ankh symbol, which had diamonds placed at its centre to evoke the power of the sun God Ra, and the Roman god Cupid, who struck lovers with his powerful, diamond-tipped arrows. It also looked to Vulcan, the Roman god of metalworking and fire who's blazing volcano home inspired series of asymmetric rough cut diamond rings and necklaces, a colourful and off-kilter take on classic design. 

Chaumet Lion

(Image credit: Chaumet)

Chaumet (opens in new tab) ‘Trésors d’Afrique’: 2018 has marked a year of global exploration for the French maison. Its Les Mondes de Chaumet (opens in new tab) high jewellery collection has looked to Imperial Russia and Japanese springtime, and to kick off High Jewellery week in Paris, the house looked to multifaceted visions of Africa. Its vibrant ‘Trésors d’Afrique’ collection looks to early modernist interpretations of the continent, by artists from Picasso to Braque, and features bold beaded hoop earrings inspired by Masai adornments, talismanic chunky rings in ivory and lapis lazuli, zoisite and turquoise, and earrings and necklaces which evoke the textures of Kasai velvets and Ghanian Kente fabrics. The collection also marked a collaboration with Kenyan artist Evans Mbugua, who sketched a series of animal-motif brooch designs for the house; like a pair of intertwined flamingoes or a zebra being ridden on by a tiny monkey. This Espiègleries lion brooch features a textural yellow gold mane, the lion’s body encrusted with sapphires, ready to pounce from the lapel of a jacket.

Writer: Laura Hawkins

Ceramic edge: Our standout from this year’s TEFAF New York

(Image credit: TEFAF)

Ceramic edge: Our standout from this year's TEFAF New York (opens in new tab)? James de Givenchy for Taffin’s (opens in new tab) first participation in the contemporary art show since the house was established two decades ago. Givenchy is renowned for his imaginative use of colour, and exploring unusual materials including ceramic. At TEFAF, his experimentation was highlighted in a series of chunky 18-ct rose gold rings, their lozenge and brown yellow diamonds set in verdigris and bold hued ceramic. We’re also particularly taken with this pair of graphic earrings, in red ceramic, reverse jade, and spiky reverse set diamonds. With such a range of innovative and eye-catching jewels on show, here’s hoping James de Givenchy for Taffin returns to TEFAF New York next year.

Writer: Laura Hawkins

Dior 'Vanité Pierre de Lune' earrings

(Image credit: Dior)

Ghost stories: For the third time, Victoire de Castellane looked to the Château de Versailles for inspiration behind her Haute Joaillerie collection for Dio (opens in new tab)r. With her past designs paying tribute to the ostentatious interiors and cascading gardens of the historic palace, Castellane cast her gaze on the myriad secret passages that populated the palace, and the ghosts of courtiers and kings that frequented them. These asymmetric 'Vanité Pierre de Lune' earrings nod to these non-earthly visitors. The central moonstone of each earring has been faceted into the shape of a skull, while sapphire drops emphasise the spectral iridescent reflection of each design. 

Writer: Laura Hawkins

Russian evolution: French maison Chaumet looked to the wintry plains of Russia

(Image credit: Chaumet)

Russian evolution: French maison Chaumet (opens in new tab) looked to the wintry plains of Russia for its latest High Jewellery collection, with extravagant pieces encrusted with frosty diamonds and icy blue Ceylon sapphires. The house also used Padparadscha sapphires to evoke the pink sky of the rising or setting sun, seen here in this brooch - its sugary centre circled by white and pink gold, which resembles the icy spines of snowflakes. Its pointed tip even resembles an icicle.

Writer: Laura Hawkins

Reza Earrings

(Image credit: Ruban)

In ribbons: Place Vendôme-based jewellery (opens in new tab) maison Reza is renowned for blending unusual designs with bold, precious gemstones. Take these 'Ruban' earrings, which appear like lengths of spiralling ribbon and coil around the ear lobe. They boast over seventy brilliant-cut diamonds and rubies. Set against distinctive blackened white gold, this brings a flame-like finish to the unfurling designs.

Writer: Laura Hawkins

Chanel L'esprit Du Lion collection pieces

(Image credit: Chanel)

Animal instinct: Chanel’s 'L’esprit Du Lion' High Jewellery collection looked to lion motifs in Gabrielle Chanel’s apartment, like a marble carving on a table or a wooden sculpture sitting on a fireplace. This ‘Eternal’ necklace (left), nods to the longstanding symbol of the lion in Chanel's visual history, and the mythical symbol of Gabrielle Chanel’s Leo starsign, with varying circles of diamond encrusted white gold chain, connected by a regal lion’s head. This ‘Brilliant’ ring (right), features lengths of diamond-encrusted chain bands of cultured pearls, yellow sapphires and spessartine garnets. The yellow gold also adds a glimmer of decadent eighties excess.

Writer: Laura Hawkins

Suzanne Syz aluminium No earrings

(Image credit: Suzanne Syz )

Word play: Swiss jeweller Suzanne Syz sublimely balances the high and the low in her designs, experimenting with everyday symbols like Lifesaver sweets and lightbulbs. In a pop art homage, the designer experimented with words and punctuation in her latest high jewellery collection. These 'No’ earrings, in bulgy and cartoonish sans-serif lettering have been crafted from aluminium used in the automobile industry. The metal has been punctured with 59 diamonds, a technique inspired by industrial processes.

Writer: Laura Hawkins

Hannah Silver joined Wallpaper* in 2019 to work on watches and jewellery. Now, as well as her role as watches and jewellery editor, she writes widely across all areas including on art, architecture, fashion and design. As well as offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, Hannah is interested in the quirks of what makes for a digital success story.