SINGAPORE - Three global luxury houses recently unveiled their high jewellery collections for selected VIP clients and media to feast their eyes on. Here is the lowdown on the season's best baubles.
Cartier Beautes du Monde
Following Cartier's global celebration of its latest thematic high jewellery collection in Madrid, Spain, in June, Singapore VIP clients and media got to view the exquisite Beautes du Monde in person at Capella Singapore in July.
Inspired by the travels of the Cartier brothers - and how they found beauty in every corner of the world - the collection is speckled with rich greens, reds and blues across a staggering number of bracelets, rings and necklaces.
More than 200 pieces were on display in a lush exhibition space taking after the scenography from the global launch. Guests were invited to explore the collection and key timepieces housed across five thematic rooms - Cultural World, World of Wildlife, Mineral World, Special Orders, and Diamond & Centre Stones.
Flora and fauna intertwine with culture in the creations, with necklaces stealing the show.
The Iwana set of jewellery, inspired by the scaly skin of the green iguana, features cabochon-cut emeralds from Colombia totalling 43.31 carats. A closer look reveals natural inclusions in the precious stones, which are poetically referred to as "jardin" (garden in French) for their intricate patterns that resemble a garden.
Likewise, the Panthere Heroique set features emeralds with natural inclusions, playfully guarded by the maison's iconic diamond-and-onyx-encrusted big cat.
If diamonds are what you are after, the all diamond-and-white-gold Nitescence set drips with them - in square and triangular shapes, and baguette and brilliant cuts - anchored by a 15.05-carat D IF Type Ila cushion-shaped diamond pendant. The necklace can also be taken apart into a tiara and a bracelet.
No Cartier high jewellery showcase is complete without the maison's signature Tutti Frutti collection.
In this year's creation, the Pankha set, juicy sapphires, rubies and emeralds coil seductively on branches of diamonds to clasp around the wearer. The full set comprises a transformable necklace, bracelet cuff, ring and earrings.
Gucci Hortus Deliciarum
The Italian luxury house threw its hat into the high jewellery game in 2019. This June brought the third act of its collection from Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele.
Imagined as a travel diary in five chapters taking visitors on a voyage, the maximalist collection is inspired by cultural movements around the world. It is also inspired by the Grand Tour custom, a 17th- to 19th-century trip through Europe with Italy as a key destination.
First stop: Rome, where the collection was first presented in June. Roma by Gucci captures the desire and longing for the Eternal City, spotlighting the intricate art of micro-mosaic in statement necklaces, bracelets and rings.
The set depicts iconic Roman architecture including the Colosseum and the Pantheon in the 19th century, as well as the Roman Forum and the waterfalls at Tivoli, embedded among precious stones such as yellow beryl, red and pink spinel, and blue topaz - offering a bejewelled postcard of Rome's views.
In Kaleidoscope, India and its maharajas are honoured, with the magnificence of its royal palaces and lush gardens interpreted in vibrant jewels. The lion, a symbol dear to Gucci, also appears, bookended by emeralds and Paraiba tourmalines fashioned into leaves, petals and faceted precious drops in a briolette cut.
The journey continues in Hara, where East and West meet in pieces that include white, cream and black pearls.
The final themes are dedicated to eras: Swing, or the New World, where the quickening modernity of America in the 1930s and 1940s is illustrated in geometric shapes and flexible chains adorned with grandiose stones.
Lastly, there is Talisman - an homage to the 1970s, a period of free expression characterised by psychedelic colours. Here, Michele presents necklaces holding talismans in hexagonal emerald and aquamarine set in a green enamel frame enclosing baguette-cut diamonds.
Chanel Collection No. 5
In a true power move, the French luxury house debuted a high jewellery collection dedicated to none other than its most famed fragrance: Chanel No. 5. Created to celebrate the 100th year of the perfume last year, it is the first high jewellery collection to be dedicated to a perfume.
Expect more than just straightforward translations of the perfume bottle into jewellery. The collection is divided into five sets, each interpreting a specific element of the No. 5 perfume - the bottle, the stopper, the number five, the main flowers in the ingredients, and sillage, the invisible trail a fragrance leaves when it lingers in the air.
No. 5 purists will love that the bottle gets ultra-luxe treatment - as seen in the No. 5 Signature Bottle brooch fashioned in yellow gold, platinum, diamonds, rock crystal and lacquer.
Then there is the old-school bottle stopper, once used to dab perfume oil onto one's body. It also resembles the top-down view of the Place Vendome square in Paris, regarded as the world centre of jewellery.
The classic shape appears in a diamond-encrusted iteration in the Crystal Stopper bracelet, and in the Bubbly Stopper bracelet - which features a 47.06-carat, emerald-cut imperial topaz evoking the coppery juice of the perfume.
Elsewhere, the three main flowers that give No. 5 its unmistakable scent - jasmine, may rose and ylang-ylang - adorn jewellery in a play of yellow and white gold, platinum, diamonds and precious stones. The collection also includes a number of transformable pieces that can be worn in multiple ways, such as a necklace that, when taken apart, includes a tassel that can be worn as a brooch or used to pin back hair.
Most imaginative is the Sillage set, Chanel's attempt to translate the olfactory experience into something tangible.
The spritz of the perfume is captured in the solar and amber colours of imperial topaz radiating from the centre in the Golden Burst necklace. A monochromatic Diamond Sillage necklace, anchored with a 10-carat flawless stone, is meant to illustrate the shadow when the bottle explodes.
More than 50 pieces from the collection were exhibited to clients and media from Aug 23 to 28, including the magnificent 55.55 necklace - named for the custom-cut 55.55-carat diamond forming the perfume bottle's silhouette at its centre. Around it are more than 700 round and baguette-shaped diamonds.
The masterpiece, which is estimated to cost more than US$20 million (S$28 million) and is not for sale, will return to Place Vendome, to be displayed as part of Chanel's heritage collection. The rest of the No. 5 collection retails in Singapore at the Chanel Watches & Fine Jewellery boutique at Takashimaya Shopping Centre until Sept 13.