Alongside the rare antiques and fine art at the Biennale des Antiquaires, the highest of high jewelry is also exhibited in what is likely the most impressive collection of jewels available for public viewing.
While art and antiques form the basis of the Biennale des Antiquaires exhibition, haute joaillerie has been a part of the show since it began in 1962 and this year its presence at Paris’ Grand Palais is more important than ever. Of the 80 exhibitors, 7 are jewellers, including two that are making their Biennale debut: Louis Vuitton Joaillerie and Piaget. In a specially created wing of the show, the jewellers have set up temporary boutiques designed by the likes of Peter Marino (Chanel) and François-Joseph Graf (Van Cleef & Arpels), to create a cupola-covered version of nearby Place Vendome. And for the 25th edition of the Biennale, the jeweler’s workshops have worked hard to create collections of never-seen-before, unique pieces that showcase fantastical design and technical mastery. We take a virtual tour of the jewelry on show at the Biennale.
The house known for its jewelry watches makes its Biennale debut with 60 pieces inspired by couture and cocktails. Highlights include the Mojito cocktail ring crafted from tourmaline, emeralds and citrine, the Sex on the Beach ring in diamonds, as well as several examples of Piaget’s signature bejewelled evening watches.
Louis Vuitton Malletier
It was only in 2009 that Louis Vuitton launched its haute joaillerie collection designed by Artistic Director Lorenz Baumer, and at its Biennale debut it is exhibiting the second wave of its L’Ame du Voyage collection, as well as its new La Malle aux Tresors collection. The label’s emblematic monogram is found in “flower cut” and “star cut” diamonds, which have 65 and 77 facets respectively. In other jewels, Baumer was inspired by the welcome lei traditional offered to visitors by the Polynesians (in a necklace of blue and green translucent and transparent gems) and rock ‘n’ roll (in a radical necklace that hides jewelled guitars, safety pins and vinyl records).
Van Cleef & Arpels
Les Voyages Extraordinaires is the name of the 175-piece collection from Van Cleef & Arpels that is inspired by the writer Jules Verne, and which also informs the jeweler’s magnificent stand at the Biennale that was designed by the interior decorator François-Joseph Graf – worth a visit in itself. Highlights of the collection include a series of brooches decorated with bejewelled polar bears, penguins, swordfish, blue whales and other creatures of the sea.
For more on Cartier’s exceptional collection of 70 contemporary pieces of high jewelry, as well as vintage items from its archives and objets d’art for the home, see our special report, Cartier: A Tour de Force at the Biennale.
Delving into the archives of Mademoiselle Chanel’s 1932 Bijoux de Diamants exhibition, Chanel presents a 30-piece collection entitled Plumes de Chanel. Most impressive is an a replica of one of the 1932 jewels: a diamond feather brooch, which is oversized and remarkably flexible, enabling it to be worn over the shoulder or across the head.
150 unique pieces make up Dior Jaoillerie’s second participation at the Biennale. Of these, 13 pieces were created specially for the exhibition, including a necklace, ring and earrings designed in the form of roses, as well as jewels from the Coffret de Victoire collection, a spectacular range of jewelry designed around large centre stones.
To celebrate the Biennale, Harry Winston is unveiling its Royal Gardens collection, which consists of designs found in their archives that were never realized, including the work of Ambaji V. Shinde, Harry Winston’s chief jewelry designer from 1962 to 2001. As well as the brand’s signature diamonds, for this collection Harry Winston also sourced the finest mandarin garnets, rubies, sapphires and spinels.