Fiery lace

Swathes of glitter and intricate openwork, in pieces made unique by the wearer's movements

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18 July 2013

"The eye belongs to the creator, but the dream belongs to the woman, while imagining herself draped in jewellery," says Fawaz Gruosi from de Grisogono. In the same way that a perfume becomes unique for every individual – the fragrance interacting with the skin's natural scent to create something entirely new – jewellery can also act in the same way. Some of the jewellery that is now in the boutiques has the same sort of personalized appeal, generated by means of interlocking metalwork set with innumerable small gemstones in a mesh that follows the movements of the body and allows the wearer's skin colour to complement the light and colour of the jewels.

Another form of personalization is that of mechanisms through which the piece can be modified as desired. An example of convertible beauty can be seen in the Between-the-Finger rings by Van Cleef & Arpels. This series includes the Lotus and Virevolte pieces, in which the motif can be reorganized by means of an ingenious swivel mechanism, so that you can choose between a more compact highlight, or a more extensive area of dazzle. In all the Between-the Finger rings, the entire surface is covered in gemstones, carefully selected for colour and purity, with their glitter enhanced by the à jour craftsmanship in the setting.

Karl Lagerfeld works on a larger scale for the Chanel fall/winter 2013-14 collection, transferring the chain motif used in his bags to bracelets and necklaces, as well as to boots. The larger-than-life bangles become a sort of latter-day glittering armour, based on black and white, perfectly coordinated with the garments.

Cartier's 2013 collection includes a similar composition in black and white, a bracelet in white gold, onyx and brilliant-cut diamonds. When in movement on the wearer's wrist, it creates a sort of optical illusion fascination.

One of the classic Bulgari motifs is the snake, symbol of wisdom, life and eternity, a constant presence in jewellery from Ancient Greece up until the present day. A serpent is wound intriguingly onto the wrist in the High Jewellery Serpenti bracelet, with five rows in white gold with 208 cabochon-cut rubies and pavé diamonds. A superb piece in which the rubies create a sinuous red line amongst the white of the gold and diamonds.

Adonis Rose is a seven-string masterpiece by De Beers. At first sight, it is more abstract than the Bulgari snake, but in actual fact it was inspired by a legend, that of the love story between Adonis and Aphrodite. Adonis was a man loved by two goddesses, Persephone and Aphrodite; Zeus decreed that Adonis should spend one part of the year with Persephone in the underworld, and the rest of the year with Aphrodite in the world above. When he was on the face of the earth, it blossomed into spring and summer. This piece is a swirling composition of rose petals and leaves, in three or seven-string version. The latter glows with 721 brilliant and marquise-cut diamonds.

De Grisogono utilizes the deep black of nano-ceramic surfaces to provide a contrast with the gemstones, often set without an apparent geometrical scheme. In the Sole rings and earrings, white gold hoops coated in black ceramic are set with irregularly-positioned emeralds which enhance the effect of naturally random beauty.

The ancient dream of being draped in jewellery will never fade. It reappears in fashion, taking the form of crystal or sequins attached to the garments; in haute joaillerie, you can try it out at least for limited areas, as in Ghirlanda, a necklace in tanzanite and diamond by Pasquale Bruni. A symphony in diamond-setting, with accents provided by the beautiful ultramarine blue of the larger stones. All that is needed to make it a work of art is the wearer's skin.