Ninety years after Gabrielle Chanel unveiled her first haute joaillerie, the house she founded is revisiting – and transforming – the heavenly bodies in its new 1932 high-jewellery collection.
“My jewels represent an idea, first and foremost. I wanted to cover women with constellations,” Coco Chanel once said.
And cover them she did. Mademoiselle Chanel’s first and only high-jewellery collection was launched in 1932, with diamond-speckled pieces that invited the world to journey out of time and gaze upon the movement of the stars. She was already a legend among her fashion peers of the time, her vision unparalleled, her impeccable taste unquestioned. The creation of the Bijoux de Diamants collection – the first of her designs to feature diamonds – instantly wooed the fashion crowd.
And 90 years later, Chanel continues to woo us by returning to the beginning, drawing inspiration from the modern spirit of Bijoux de Diamants to create a new story.
Patrice Leguéreau, director of the Chanel Fine Jewellery Creation Studio, focused this year’s 1932 collection around three key symbols of the original collection: the comet, the moon and the sun. Diamonds continue their starring role in 1932, lending their eternal nature to the heavenly bodies, while lighting up the stars and comets with their fiery scintillation.
“I wanted to return to the essence of 1932 and to harmonise the message around three symbols: the comet, the moon and the sun. Each heavenly body shines with its own light,” says Leguéreau.
The comet, one of Chanel’s most enduring motifs, dominates the collection’s 34 pieces, either featured singly or in constellations of precious stone. The blazing sun is depicted in 24 pieces featuring radiant white and yellow diamonds. And the moon, which in the original Bijoux de Diamants collection only appears once, has now earned its rightful place among the stars, its many phases reflected in 18 spectacular pieces.
Unlike the pristine pureness of the original collection, which displayed designs solely in white diamonds, colourful gemstones are now given pride of place. Intensely blue sapphires recalling the dark night skies, scintillating yellow diamonds that mimic the sun’s powerful rays, opals as intricate as mysterious galaxies, spinels, rubies and tanzanites – all represent the ever-changing colours of the skies.
According to the Chanel Fine Jewellery Creation Studio, the 1932 collection is living jewellery – by taking inspiration from the past, life has been breathed into new creations. Out of the 77 jewellery pieces, 13 are transformable. Just as the celestial bodies are in constant motion, so is the jewellery – the wearer can choose to wrap her jewellery around her wrist one instant then coil the piece around her neck the next. The freeing designs are just as Mademoiselle Chanel intended her women to be – liberated, strong-spirited and individualistic.
The Comète Constellation necklace in white gold and diamonds features a pair of cushion-cut diamonds, both 10.08 carats. The necklace and its accompanying ring are designed to be worn in multiple ways: the pair of cushion diamonds and star designs can be worn together or separately, and are also designed to be detachable from the necklace and placed on the body of the ring.
The Comète Aubazine ring and brooch, as well as the Lune Solaria ring, are also transformable – worn together with the halo for maximum impact, or without for a more discreet look.
The Lune Étincelante brooch is another fun creation in white gold and diamonds. The full brooch can be separated into three parts and worn separately – the moon and the comet as two smaller brooches, and the line of diamonds as a brilliant diamond bracelet.
The Soleil 19 Août necklace in white and yellow diamonds and the Soleil 19 Août ring in diamonds and rubies are equally eye-catching. The necklace comes with a magnificent Fancy Vivid Yellow 22.10-carat yellow diamond sun design, which can be worn on the necklace, on the ring or even on its own as a brooch. When the motif is removed from the necklace, the necklace can still be worn on its own. The ruby ring comes with two detachable cushion-cut rubies of 5.04 carats and 4.97 carats, which can be worn as earrings.
Last but by no means least comes the Allure Céleste necklace. This highlight of the collection takes us on a journey into the heart of light, immersing our senses deep into the heart of the galaxy. Among the round-cut diamonds is an oval sapphire in the deepest and most intense blue, weighing an exceptional 55.55 carats, and a radiant 8.05-carat pear-shaped diamond. This creation is truly a pièce de résistance, embodying fully the playful nature of transformative jewellery in the collection. The halos on the necklace detach to become brooches, while the central row of diamonds magically becomes a bracelet, transforming the necklace into a shorter version.