Architecture has long been a generous muse to the world of high jewelry, their parallels plenteous and rich: construction and light, balance and proportion, drama and impact. The house of Chaumet is particularly drawn to the art form. Last year, it complemented the extensive refurbishment of its flagship hôtel particulier at 12 place Vendôme with Perspectives, an architecture-inspired high jewelry collection. The first jeweler to arrive on the now famous Parisian square in 1812, Chaumet this year pays homage to the location itself, specifically the sweeping frieze that swirls around its towering Vendôme Column.
Torsade (twist in French) de Chaumet is a dynamic collection amplified with contrast and tension: jewels are fluid yet bold, traditional but avant-garde, structured yet whimsical. An ode to movement as well as the push-and-pull of love, the pieces, says Chaumet’s CEO Jean-Marc Mansvelt “capture a perfect moment within energetic movement, where they were something two seconds before and they will be something else two seconds later”.
The collection comprises five suites, kicking off with an assortment of diamond and white gold creations that brilliantly showcase line and form, at the same time as bringing a contemporary, pardon the pun, twist to classic diamond gems. A crown-like tiara is fashioned from a single, dynamic spiral of rose- and brilliant-cut diamonds, its seemingly effortless curves belying its precise craftsmanship, and the hundreds of hours spent on its construction at the bench..
Meanwhile a necklace of twisted diamond rope takes after a historic version made for the Maharaja of Indore in the 1930s. The original, an early precursor of 21st century tastes in jewellery, starred two enormous pear-cut diamonds at the end of a simple diamond rope that appeared to be casually tied about the neck. The new version is an elegant, versatile piece in which the two ends of the rope are held together by a smaller spiral of diamonds.
Torsade riffs on tradition and modernity in coloured gemstones, too. A magnificent multi-strand sautoir balances diamond scrolls and lace on one side with 12 cushion-cut Mozambique rubies on the other, all offset by a medley of smaller round rubies, baguette, square and brilliant-cut diamonds.
It is just one of the Torsade pieces from the collection that will hopefully make its way to Chaumet’s new home in London. Chaumet has been a consistent presence in Britain since 1848, when it counted Queen Victoria and the Duke of Marlborough among its clientele. The renovated New Bond Street space was designed by Patricia Grosdemange, the same name behind 12 Place Vendôme, and echoes many accents of the hôtel particulier, including full-size nickel tiara models lining a wall of royal-blue marquetry and custom-made laurel leaf frescoes that complement a gorgeous, powder-blue Victorian staircase. With an airy, bright private salon on the first floor – its sky theme fashioned from gold leaf and white frescoes – the space blends tradition and modernity, and marks a new chapter for Chaumet in Britain. Together with Torsade, its architecture showcases Chaumet’s unique mastery at twisting the old with the new.
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