Out of the woods: the natural wonder of Piaget’s marquetry jewels

The Piaget Green Aurora cuff
The Piaget Green Aurora cuff, fashioned from minute slivers of straw, sycamore and hornbeam. This marquetry design represents a high-jewellery first for the Swiss watchmaker-jeweller. Set in yellow gold, with diamonds and14-carat Namibian indigo tourmaline
(Image credit: TBC)

For the past three years, the various characters of sunlight, from high summer’s desert-red to winter’s pearly grey, have been the creative driver behind Piaget’s high jewellery collections. This month, the Swiss marque’s ‘Sunlight Escape’ chapter revels in frozen landscapes and the clear, moonlit nights that provide a natural backdrop for the Aurora Borealis.

The diffused greens and blues that shimmer across Northern skies are represented in Rose Saneuil’s mesmerising marquetry work on the ‘Green Aurora’ cuff and accompanying marquetry earrings. Her sense of subtle colour is immaculately conveyed in extra-fine slivers of straw, and sycamore and hornbeam woods.

Saneuil’s process involves cutting out veneers, then fitting them into the design form, a technique she refers to as “element by element”. When the straw and wood is set, they are sanded and varnished in a particular style.

Though Saneuil has previously created dial designs for Piaget, they were produced on a flat surface. For the Aurora pieces, she had to painstakingly develop her already exceptional skill to create the curved surfaces that give the jewels their rich, sensual form. 

earrings in yellow gold

Green Aurora marquetry earrings, in yellow gold, with ‘shards’ of diamonds, tourmalines and sapphires

(Image credit: TBC)


For more information, visit the Piaget website

Caragh McKay has been a contributing editor at Wallpaper* since 2014. She was previously watches & jewellery director and is currently our resident lifestyle & shopping editor. Caragh has produced exhibitions and created and edited titles for publishers including the Daily Telegraph. She regularly chairs talks for luxury houses, Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier among them. Caragh’s current remit is cross-cultural and her recent stories include the curious tale of how Muhammad Ali met his poetic match in Robert Burns and how a Martin Scorsese film revived a forgotten Osage art.