Celebrating our inner light is a nice program as we enter the darker months of the year and all sources of light are welcome. A few weeks ago, the Fred jewellery house, named after its founder Fred Samuel, unveiled a very nice collection of high jewellery. A collection like I like. Few pieces, there are 25 which is relatively a small number compared to the usual size of the collections where 80 to 150 pieces are often unveiled; and a very nice work on the colours as well as on the shapes with nice gemstones, some of them rarer in jewellery these last years. Apart from the fact that the collection is a complete tribute to the founder of the eponymous house, it also allows, through its references, to rediscover the history of a house that has just presented its first heritage exhibition (which I missed to my immense regret) but also to read or reread the words of great permanence written by this great man of jewellery in his biography published in 1992.
(1) Necklace Pain de Sucre Joyful Attitude White gold, blue anodised titanium, aquamarine, mother-of-pearl, dickite, turquoise, chrysocolla, lapis lazuli, sodalite, onyx, diamonds. (2) Joyful Attitude Sugarloaf Ring White gold, blue anodised titanium, aquamarine, mother-of-pearl, dickite, turquoise, chrysocolla, lapis lazuli, sodalite, onyx, diamonds. (3) Joyful Attitude Sugarloaf Earrings White gold, blue anodised titanium, aquamarine, mother-of-pearl, dickite, turquoise, chrysocolla, lapis lazuli, sodalite, onyx, diamonds. Photos: Fred joaillerie
Six major chapters punctuate this collection, which tells the story of a man born in 1908 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to a family of Alsatian origin, who arrived in Paris as a teenager to join the Worms brothers in 1925, where he trained as a jeweller. This was a classic way to follow in the footsteps of his father, who was a trader and jeweller in Latin America. From this apprenticeship, he retained the beauty of cultured pearls, the very same ones that he would showcase in his house when he opened in 1936. He was then a young jeweller of 28 years old.
The collection was inspired by the highlights of the designer’s life. The Joyful Attitude chapter is a vibrant tribute to the Riviera, which he loved so much for its light. He found there that of his native Argentina. In the five pieces in this part of the collection, we find the intense blues of the skies of the Côte d’Azur as well as the shifting shades of blue of the swimming pools where he organised sumptuous parties to admire this beloved Mediterranean. To recreate this subtle play, the company has sought out a range of materials such as diamonds, aquamarine, turquoise, lapis lazuli, chrysocolla, dickite and sodalite. These different stones, cut into very fine plates, were superimposed on a rock crystal sugar loaf to play on the reflections through the quartz. The technique of the doublet, or even the triplet, makes it possible to imagine particular shades with slight but necessary nuances. The result? Stunning! Looking at the necklace, you would think you were at the edge of an infinity pool on the sea.
(1) Force 10 Winning Spirit bracelet White gold, Fred Hero cut diamond, aquamarine, mother of pearl, sapphires, diamonds. (2 ) Force 10 Winning Spirit ring White gold, Fred Hero cut diamond, aquamarine, mother of pearl, sapphires, diamonds. Photos: Fred Joaillerie
How can you not link Fred to boats? That’s an impossible task. The whole family is passionate about sailing and the father initiated his two sons – Henri and Jean – to the point of seeing them become European Flying Dutchman Champions in 1962. The Force 10 collection is one of those iconic jewels in the history of jewellery with its mix of steel and gold. Timeless, unisex, everyone can wear this jewel. In this high jewellery collection, the Force 10 becomes an opulent piece where the aquamarine that crowns the diamond pavement on white gold has been cut from a block of almost 1250 carats. A certain idea of technical prowess. Added to this is a diamond – in the Hero Cut – whose shape will invariably recall a TP52 boat, the one used by the Smugler team to compete in the annual Sydney-Hobart sailing race.
Of course, it is not possible to talk about the company without mentioning the Soleil d’Or, the 101.57 carat yellow diamond sold by Fred that has recently returned to the company’s heritage. When one thinks of this diamond, one remembers the photo with Margaux Hemingway holding the stone between her fingers. It was 1977 and the stone weighed 105.54 carats. The stone, which had been waiting for its time at a private collector’s, has just returned home. It has lost a few carats but has gained in colour. Thus becoming even more beautiful.
Soleil d’Or Radiant Energy ring White and yellow gold, diamonds and yellow diamonds. Photo: Fred Joaillerie
The collection also makes a strong reference to a certain Julia Roberts. How can we forget the ruby-clad Pretty Woman whose necklace was chosen in the brand’s Rodeo Drive boutique? This chapter also recalls the love story between Fred Samuel and Thérèse Halphen. The exhibition at the beginning of the school year allowed us to admire a diamond brooch created for his wife at the Liberation, with the diamonds that had been sheltered during the years of occupation. Unfortunately, the family had not escaped the persecution of the Jews during the Second World War. In the spring of 1943, the Parisian shop was placed under the control of the Commissariat aux questions juives, a yellow star was affixed to the façade and the name Samuel had to be removed. It would never reappear. As a way of never forgetting.
A final chapter remains, one that honours the chance that young Fred seized when he decided to settle in an already complicated context. The three pieces, with their resolutely Art Deco spirit, feature a motif oscillating between the lemniscate and the knot of Hercules, a symbol of eternity and love. This motif is a delicate nod to the number 8, which followed Fred Samuel throughout his life, since it began in the 8th month of 1908. The number 8 is also associated with the notion of infinity and eternity. The pieces here consist of white gold, diamonds, lacquer and onyx and are dressed with Sri Lankan sapphires. If the ring is superb, I particularly like the transformable necklace. This collection, designed by Fred Samuel’s granddaughter, Valérie Samuel, is a great success, where the joy and personality of the founder of the eponymous house can be felt everywhere. As a way of making him eternal in the eyes of all.
(1) Chance Infinie Faith in Destiny ring White gold, sapphire, onyx, black lacquer, diamonds – (2) Chance Infinie Faith in Destiny brooch earring White gold, sapphire, onyx, black lacquer, diamonds – Photos: Fred Joaillerie
See you soon!