The idea of wearing gems from head to foot is intriguing, one of those dreams of crazy extravagance that surfaces every so often in cinema and fashion – as, for example, in the Tiffany & Co. jewellery featured in the film The Great Gatsby featuring Leonardo DiCaprio. An idea of what this dream would mean in reality can be seen in some of the high jewellery collections in the boutiques today, in which virtually the entire surface of the piece is covered with intricately-set gemstones. Often, the stones are of varying size, adding an effect of chance; no two pieces are exactly the same as a result of the meticulous craftsmanship used to set the stones.
Fawaz Gruosi, founder of de Grisogono, says that precious stones are tears of happiness; fire encircling the emotions and stories scattered through our lives. This season, de Grisogono's jewellery is alive with colour, both in the Melody of Colours collection and in the ironic Animals collection. Amethysts, yellow and orange sapphires and tsavorites are combined with diamonds and gold to create spectacular symphonies of sparkle. This sort of jewellery is perfect for the dance floor, where the pieces capture and reflect every photon while you swing and sway.
Tiffany & Co.'s Blue Book collection includes jewels inspired by the jazz age – the Gatsby era – with diamonds and platinum punctuated by coloured gemstones in softly contoured setting. The pieces move with Jazz Age exuberance, flowing with the wearer's movements. The effect is slightly random, like the bubbles in champagne, tiny, sparkling specks of light that illuminate an outfit. Colour choices are restricted to harmonizing tints, creating an effect of immaculate refinement.
In Jardin de Camélias, Chanel's floral-inspired gems include multi-coloured sapphires set amongst brilliant-cut diamonds, outlining the floral motif that provides the inspiration for the collection. The same overall, fragmented sparkle is translated into black and white in pieces such as the Duo de Camélias toi&moi ring, in which black spinels provide a contrast with the diamonds. The camelia has been a hallmark of high jewellery by Chanel since 1923, when Mademoiselle Chanel incorporated the flower into her work, whether as a brooch or engraved on her suit buttons.
Cartier apply their customary gem-setting brilliance in their collection Les Heures Fabuleuses, jewellery timepieces in which the cascades of gemstones are immediately visible, while the watch is hidden to a greater or lesser degree. In the parrot ring, the diamonds are set on ruffled feathers, with emerald eyes and mother-of-pearl beak. No trace of the watch... until the user reveals the illusion, swinging the bird's head across to expose a delicate dial. In a bracelet, a large green beryl forms the highlight within the openwork mesh of diamonds, while on the other side, there is a small watch framed by brilliant-cut diamonds. The essence of time – forever slipping from our grasp like sand – is contrasted with the eternity of gems. In the cuff bracelet, openwork circles and stripes place time at the centre of a miniature solar system.
Van Cleef & Arpels distribute the sparkle of a carpet of diamonds over the two different-sized blossoms in the ingenious Between-the-Finger ring. One of the latest models features over 90 diamonds selected for highest standards of colour and clarity; the Two Butterfly Between-the-Finger Ring is a dialogue between two butterflies, one in diamonds, the other in pink sapphires. The design of these pieces enables the owner to wear the piece as she likes, facing inside or out.
In the Harry Winston Sunflower collection, the colour is the scintillating fire of diamonds, with a brilliant diamond centre stone set in platinum and surrounded by other diamonds. The dream of being clad in gems will never fade: for the moment, enjoy the glitter and glamour of the rarest stones in the world, layered onto the rarest metal.