While everyone was desperately looking for a bit of fresh air at the beginning of July, Chaumet offered a journey that was as dreamlike as it was refreshing in its private salons at Place Vendôme. Music evoking both water and the sound of waves accompanied visitors on their discovery of the new “Ondes et Merveilles” collection, a set of 69 pieces. All of which are dedicated to the sea, the ocean and travel. In a time when hardly anyone has travelled, this collection is a reminder of how travel shapes the mind and feeds the imagination.
Galets d’Or earrings in pink and white gold, set with two cushion-cut morganites of 10.99 and 10.92 carats, round Padparadscha sapphires and brilliant-cut diamonds.
Galets d’Or ring in pink and white gold, set with an oval morganite of 22.33 carats, round Padparadscha sapphires and brilliant-cut diamonds Photos: Chaumet
“The sea is a space of rigour and freedom” wrote Victor Hugo. This quote may not have inspired Chaumet’s latest collection, but it perfectly sums up the work of the studio and the workshops. For here, freedom is everywhere, in the image of the shapes and colours. And in this freedom, there is an assumed risk-taking with fabulous materials that offer enchanting colour contrasts. Like the “Treasure Hunt” set, which combines titanium, chrysoprases and mandarin garnets in a luminous and intense orange. As for rigour, it is expressed in the technicality of the workshops and craftsmen who have contributed to the creation of the various pieces in this new opus.
Treasure hunt” set in white and pink gold, titanium and diamonds. Added to this are chrysoprase, tsavorite garnets (on the 6.38 carat brooch, 7.79 and 6.47 carats on the earrings, 7.77 on the ring), mandarin garnets (on the 1.82 carat brooch), purple sapphires, pink sapphires, tourmalines (on the 3.22 carat brooch), emeralds, topazes (on the ring, imperial topaz of 20.95 carats) Photos: Chaumet
Fine pearls had almost disappeared from the haute-jouaillerie collections. Too expensive, too rare. Only cultured pearls were favoured by the studios. So, what a joy to see here a rather fabulous set of fine pearls to dress the “Comets of the Seas” set. The ring in this set is crowned with a 55 grain (just over 17 carats) fine pearl. It is this pearl that guided the rest of the pieces for which it was necessary to find fine pearls in many colours ranging from grey to pink, passing through olive to mauve shades. The rings have their bodies completely covered with fine pearls. The jewellery work is noteworthy for its use of the pearls’ volumes, thus offering the eye golden balls on which the light can play at leisure. The padparadscha sapphires (Sri Lanka & Madagascar) enrich the nuances already present on the pieces. On the necklace alone, the house will have set more than 18 carats of these rare and coveted sapphires, as evidenced by the record prices for these stones at auctions in recent years. The centre stone alone weighs 5.91 carats.
The “Comets of the Seas” set in gold, diamonds, sapphires including Padparadscha sapphires and fine pearls. Photos: Chaumet
Seas, ports and travel mean… Stopovers! Everyone is getting off. I don’t know what a stopover means to you in your imagination. But for me, it is a suspended moment. It can be a kind of extraordinary waiting where everything becomes possible. At least on a boat. Sails lowered, engines stopped, sailors waiting, ports crushed by heat, the stopover has for me this flavour of elsewhere. An in-between time which is part of the journey and which can offer a time of discovery where it occurs. If the journey is sudden, the stopover is often just as sudden. But in a chosen journey, it sometimes holds some nice surprises. Chaumet has transposed the stopover to a cove or a port, the sun is burning and the sea is an azure blue that makes you dream. The set is mainly composed of red and orange spinels of an intensity as strong as the light it wants to transcribe. Is it the earth that flows into the sea? Or the sea trying to embrace the earth? Blue Spinel and Paraiba tourmaline dress the pieces that highlight the element of water. This is perhaps the most sensual chapter of the collection, with jewellery that follows the lines of bodies languishing on pontoons and beaches.
Pieces from the “Escales” chapter. (1) The necklace is made up of almost 17 carats of orange to red spinels, diamonds, sapphires and tourmalines paraïba complete the set. (2) Ring in gold, diamonds, garnets and paraiba tourmaline. (3) The ring completes the necklace, gold, diamonds, spinels, sapphires and paraiba tourmalines. (4) Ring in pink and white gold, diamonds, garnets and blue spinel of 6.56 carats. Photos: Chaumet
Finally, how can we talk about the sea without talking about sailors? You can’t. Here lies perhaps all the freedom taken for this collection and perhaps the most audacious chapter. Indeed, the house has created a series of five brooches directly inspired by sailors’ tattoos. Unisex, they can be transformed into pendants, and the five pieces in the “Inks” chapter tell the story of a love affair left in a port in the form of passionate messages. Tattooing has been a common practice in the navy since the 18th century when sailors tattooed themselves with needles dipped in smoke ink. If it was the Anglo-Saxon sailors who popularised the practice by tattooing the places they visited when the ships were docked, it is now well anchored in the marine imagination. But far from the Popeye tattoo or the“I love you mum“, the idea here is to perpetuate the symbols that inhabit the maritime world: swallows (because they are the first birds to announce the approaching land), the bottle in the sea, seagulls, lighthouses, all enriched with these phrases that have become a cult: “don’t forget me”, “love is an adventure” or “forever in my heart”. Precious tokens of love to be worn on the lapel of a collar or, more audaciously, on the sleeve as a way of raising one’s own colours.
The “Inks” brooch series features white and rose gold, diamonds, enamel, turquoise, mother-of-pearl and rubies. Photos by Chaumet: Chaumet
See you soon!