Jewellery

Chanel launches 1932 High Jewellery Collection

Gabrielle Chanel created her first high jewellery collection ninety years ago. The House of Chanel has subsequently drawn inspiration from her 'Bijoux de Diamants' for its latest precious pieces.

By Kim Parker

Three years into the Great Depression that plunged the world into an economic slump, the London Diamond Corporation commissioned the visionary Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel to create a special diamond jewellery collection – her very first – to boost the industry.

The designer looked to the heavens, quite literally, for starry-themed pieces which harked back to her childhood spent in an abbey in Aubazine in central France. There, she had walked over a stone pavement decorated with a coat of arms containing celestial motifs, and wondered at the night sky above her. “I wanted to cover women in constellations,” Chanel said, when she unveiled the sparkling collection at her private apartment at 29 rue de Faubourg de Saint-Honoré on 5th November 1932 (the designer’s lucky number was 5, hence the auspicious launch date).

Almost a century later, the gold and diamond pieces that made up Chanel’s ground-breaking Bijoux de Diamants collection have provided ample inspiration for the house’s latest high jewellery pieces. “I wanted to return to the essence of 1932 and to harmonise the message around three symbols: the comet, the moon and the sun,” says Patrice Leguéreau, Chanel’s director of fine jewellery creation studio. “Each heavenly body shines with its own light.”

Chanel’s high jewellery Allure Celeste necklace features a 55.55 carat blue sapphire

Cue 77 spectacular jewels, 13 of which are transformable, including an eye-catching signature necklace, the Allure Celeste. The eye-catching piece centres around an intense blue oval-cut sapphire weighing 55.55 carats, plus another 8.05 pear-shaped diamond ‘comet’, amongst a shower of other round-cut diamonds. The central row of diamonds actually detaches to form a bracelet, making the necklace into a shorter version, whilst the motifs can also be worn as brooches.

As expected, a veritable galaxy of stars features heavily throughout the collection, including 11 sets dedicated to comets. Two white and yellow oval-cut diamonds, each weighing 19.32 carats (naturellement) take centre stage in the glittering Comète Volute bracelet and collar necklace, whilst the Comète Aubazine ring features a white diamond star radiating a halo of sparkling pink sapphires.

Chanel’s Comète Aubazine ring with white diamonds and pink sapphires

There are plenty of moons, too, crafted in white and yellow gold and diamonds. A pair of 2.01 carat yellow pear-shaped diamonds sparkle in the the Lune Solaire pendant earrings, which feature stylised crescent moons in white diamonds, that are detachable. A matching diamond crescent can be seen on the Lune Solaire ring, along with glistening orange spinel cabochons.

Elsewhere, blazing suns feature in 24 other spectacular jewels , including the radiant Soleil Dore necklace, which recreates the sun’s rays moving through the sky with a halo of white diamonds set in warm yellow gold, enhanced by a central oval-shaped diamond weighing 3.02 carats. As a tribute to Gabrielle’s date of birth and her sun sign, Leo, the Soleil 19 Août ring is embellished two precious cushion-cut rubies, both fringed with shimmering diamond auras. These celestial masterpieces, each a nod to Chanel’s shimmering past but resolutely created with an eye on the future. They are heirlooms in the making, sure to inspire wonder and delight for many more decades to come.

The Soleil Doré necklace features white diamonds set in yellow gold rays

Like this? Read about the history of celestial jewellery

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