Chanel Marks 90 Years of “Bijoux de Diamants” With 55.55-Carat Sapphire Necklace – WWD

PARIS – If the universe began with a Big Bang, Chanel will also kick off 2022 with the launch of “Allure Céleste”, the masterpiece of a high end jewelry “Bijoux de Diamants” 90th anniversary collection, the first – and only – collection high end jewelry line designed by Gabrielle Chanel in 1932.

The fashion house will unveil a full 81-piece “1932” collection in May, starting in Asia and culminating in Paris in its haute couture collection in July.

The starting point of the “Allure Céleste” design is a sizable central oval sapphire, purchased by the house in 2017 at the suggestion of creative studio director Patrice Legereau, who was struck by the weight. 55.55 carats of the stone was cut and marked it for the collection’s 90th anniversary.

Around the deep blue gem, Legereau designed a necklace that embodies the spirit of the “1932” anniversary collection. “I want to go back [its] essence and to harmonize the message around three symbols: comet, moon and sun,” he said in a statement.

These celestial objects were one of the main themes, along with ribbons, feathers and tassels from her couture universe, in the original collection. In 1932, London Diamond Corp. asked Gabrielle Chanel, then world-renowned for her high-fashion and beauty signature, to imagine a collection featuring their gems in an effort to revive her business. which was reeling from the Great Recession.

The “Allure Céleste” necklace, which requires approximately 3,800 hours to craft, features three motifs surrounded by radiant markings. At the center of the sun motif is an 8.05-carat Type IIa D FL pear-cut diamond, while the star has a 2.52-carat circular cutout at its center, with another 40 carats raised by 1,031 brilliant-cut diamonds of the design.

Thanks to the invisible mechanism, which disgusted Gabrielle Chanel with the clasp, it can be transformed into a shorter version, three brooches and a bracelet.

“The idea of ​​the movement is essential, so I would describe them as a house,” said Marianne Etchebarne, global head of watch and jewelry marketing, customer and communications at Chanel. meteors, rays of sunlight and the halo of the moon.

Allure Céleste necklace in white gold, diamonds and sapphires. 1 oval-cut sapphire 55.55 cts. 1 pear cut diamond 8.05 cts D FL (Type IIa). 1 round cut diamond 2.52 cts D FL (Type IIa).

Allure Céleste necklace in white gold, diamonds and sapphires. 1 oval-cut sapphire 55.55 cts. 1 pear cut diamond 8.05 cts D FL (Type IIa). 1 round cut diamond 2.52 cts D FL (Type IIa).
Courtesy of Chanel

In addition to the famous icons, it was the ideas that underpinned the home’s first high-jewelry designs that were recreated in the collection, according to Etchebarne.

“Bijoux de Diamants is the founding act of high jewelery for Chanel, embodying her unique vision of precious jewels and the women who wear them,” she said, noting her ability to transform concessions and simple jewelry among them. “Her designs are imagined to be worn – appropriated – by women so they can live with them. It’s really the idea of ​​a gem that creates glamor, a style. “

That first collection was revealed on November 5, 1932, to the press and customers in a WWD edition on November 25, 1932, described as “an exhibition of sublime splendor.” wonderful, worthy of being placed between the Coromandel screens and the gilded walls of the Mademoiselle Chanel House in Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré,” along with a catalog illustrated with photographs by the future renowned filmmaker Robert Bresson.

A manifesto signed by Gabrielle Chanel explains that while she favored “no arrogance” in more affluent times, the financial crisis gave rise to a “desire for authenticity.” .”

“If I choose diamonds, it is because they represent the greatest value in the smallest volume,” she wrote, concluding that she used her taste to reconcile “jewelry, luxury and fashion”.

Displayed on wax mannequins commonly used in the factory – a tailor’s first profession – and dressed in the latest fashions, the jewels are presented as precious accessories, finished with a fur headband or elegant collar.

Etchebarne said: “She modified the idea of ​​the suit with this collection presented on a mannequin so that women could express themselves into the glamor they had with the outfits. this joint,” said Etchebarne.

French film company Pathé called it “a Parisian event, an exhibition of jewelry and diamonds” in a news broadcast in cinemas. The press raved about the inventiveness of these pieces, some of which are transformable, following the manufacturer’s statement that it was “because of the changing outfits that my jewelry can change.” change”.

By the end of the day, a number of products were sold. Followed by a public exhibition, its entrance fee is 20 French francs donated to charities that support mothers and financially support middle-class families affected by the Depression. withdrawal.

The jewelry industry’s reaction was furious as early reception exploded. Famous Parisian jewelers stepped forward to disparage the collection. The “Bijoux de Diamants” collection became known as the “Chanel Deal,” and the tailor was brought to court with the order that she break her piece in half and return the diamonds.

The news clippings of the era also describe how an attempt to exhibit in London failed when British customs demanded £30,000 (or around $3 million in 2022) to allow the collection to enter. country, culminating in a debate in the House of Commons.

“At that time, it was a cult. I don’t think we understand the uproar it causes or how shocking it is when a woman – more than that, a jeweler – dares to touch real diamonds,” said Etchebarne say, note that these days, it’s outcry. feel out of place, because collaboration now equals the creative process.

In the end, only two pieces are known to survive – a star brooch owned by the house and a feathered one, now in a private collection – creating an atmosphere. mysterious atmosphere surrounding the “Bijoux de Diamants” collection.

The painstaking work of scouring the archives of still-living publications for descriptions and sketches eventually resulted in a collection of around 50 pieces, ranging from necklaces and earrings to head jewelry and a The cigarette holder has a coral mouthpiece – to cover the lipstick stains, of course. Pathé’s film was also found, in time for its 80th anniversary celebrations in 2012.

Ahead of this year’s 90th anniversary, discoveries include that famous French author Jean Cocteau helped Gabrielle Chanel write her introductory manifesto, written in first person and yet another testament to her point of view. about jewelry as an object of separation.

“On the 100th anniversary, I’m sure we’ll continue to discover things about how she envisioned her collection. The miracle is that we don’t know for sure, and we will continue to learn more,” said Etchebarne. Chanel Marks 90 Years of “Bijoux de Diamants” With 55.55-Carat Sapphire Necklace – WWD


Linh is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Linh joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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