1932-2022. 90 years to the day since this landmark collection for the House of Chanel. the name of this collection was “Bijoux de diamants”, of which only one piece remains today – a brooch – preserved in the Chanel heritage. 1932 was not a time for levity since the crisis had broken out in the United States following the infamous stock market crash of 24-29 October 1929. Between the recession, galloping inflation and skyrocketing unemployment, it was not a happy time. Forget the swinging twenties! While the diamond industry was not at its best either, the Diamond Corporation Limited of London called on Gabrielle Chanel, then in full glory, to imagine a jewellery collection. “If I chose the diamond, it is because it represents, with its density, the greatest value under the smallest volume ” she wrote in the press kit published for the event.
Several pieces from the “La Comète” chapter: (1) Comet Volute brooch in white gold and diamonds including a 2.03 ct D FL (Type IIa) brilliant-cut diamond and a 1.00 ct F+ VVS+ pear-cut diamond, convertible; (2) Comet Aubazine ring in pink gold, platinum, diamonds and pink sapphires including a 1.59 ct E VVS2 brilliant-cut diamond; (3&(4) Comète Saphir bracelet and necklace in white gold, diamonds and sapphires (6.52ct and 3.42ct respectively on the necklace and bracelet); (5) Comète Volute necklace in white gold and diamonds including an oval-cut diamond 19.32 ct D FL (Type IIa) and a brilliant-cut diamond 2.05 ct D IF (Type IIa). Photos: Chanel Joaillerie
Stars, moons, comets and the sun are among the permanent symbols of the Chanel house. It is impossible in the imagination of everyone not to associate celestial symbols with the house on rue Cambon. Undeniably, it is one of the signatures of the Chanel style. They can be found everywhere, as much in costume jewellery as in the high jewellery collections that the house unveils twice a year in Paris. But where do these tenacious representations come from? Because if the 2022 collection is a brilliant and magnificent homage to the 1932 collection, it is interesting to resituate it in a place that is said to be linked to Chanel’s childhood: the Abbey of Aubazine, in Corrèze, 20km from Brive-la-Gaillarde. The reality is a little more murky. If the adobe floor of the monks’ dormitory is indeed covered with a paving representing stars, moons and suns, nothing indicates that Coco actually passed through this orphanage. In 1896, she was employed as a “nanny” by a cousin of her late mother in Thiers. On the other hand, Adrienne – her aunt – appears in the census of Aubazine. Their closeness is undeniable and it is her that Coco will join when she comes of age. Adrienne, who was to become Baroness Maurice de Nexon, was to be a solid rock in Gabrielle’s life.
Several pieces of the chapter “The Moon”: (1) Lune Etincellante brooch in white gold and diamonds including a marquise-cut diamond 6.18 cts D FL (Type IIa) and a brilliant-cut diamond 1.51 cts D IF, convertible; (2) Lune Etincellante necklace in white gold and diamonds including a brilliant-cut diamond 5.02 cts D IF (Type IIa) ; (3) Lune Eternelle brooch in white gold and diamonds including a marquise cut diamond 3.20 ct D FL (Type IIa) and a brilliant cut diamond 1.05 ct D FL (Type IIa); (4) Lune Silhouette bracelet in white gold and diamonds including a brilliant cut diamond 2.03 ct D FL (Type IIa); (5) Lune Talisman earrings in white gold, diamonds and tanzanites including a 11.81 ct briolette-cut tanzanite and an 11.37 ct briolette-cut tanzanite. Photos: Chanel Joaillerie
To pay tribute to this jewellery collection, which has become almost legendary because there are hardly any archives, the design studio headed by Patrice Leguéreau has created 77 pieces in gold and diamonds, but also many coloured stones that colour the sets with an undeniable mystical charm. For celestial symbols have long been associated in jewellery with man’s curiosity for the starry sky, which he has always wanted to know and explore. Who does not remember the communicative joy of these scientists and the general public when the Perseverance robot lands on Mars in 2021? So in these complicated times, beauty must be added wherever possible. “To forget the crisis, there is nothing like being able to contemplate beautiful new things, which the art of our craftsmen never ceases to bring to light” declared Chanel in an interview for L’Intransigeant on 26 October 1932. Words, in my opinion, totally current.
Several pieces from the “Le Soleil” chapter: (1) Soleil 19 août set in white and yellow gold, diamonds including a 22.10 ct FVY IF cushion-cut yellow diamond, transformable, the central motif of the necklace can be adapted as a brooch or on a ring; (2) Soleil Doré bracelet and necklace in white and yellow gold, diamonds including an oval-cut 2.21 ct D IF diamond on the bracelet and an oval-cut 3.02 ct D IF diamond on the necklace. Photos: Chanel Joaillerie
While the collection focuses on diamonds (a 22.10 carat Fancy Vivid Yellow cushion, a 6.18 carat D FL type IIa and two diamonds of 19.32 carats each), the pieces also feature many other gemstones that illuminate the stars that make up this new opus. Australian opals sublimate the pieces in the chapter dedicated to the comet as a vibrant and colourful tribute to the Milky Way and distant galaxies. The 55.55 carat sapphire that adorns the masterpiece of the collection, the “Allure Céleste” necklace, is also worth mentioning. So, echoing this beautiful quote by Octave Feuillet – “Hope is like the night sky: there is no corner so dark that the persistent eye does not end up discovering a star” – let’s bet that it’s good to follow and believe in one’s lucky star.
See you soon!