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Suzy Menkes

Vogue International Editor Suzy Menkes is the best-known fashion journalist in the world. After 25 years commenting on fashion for the International Herald Tribune (rebranded recently as The International New York Times), Suzy Menkes now writes exclusively for Vogue online, covering fashion worldwide.

Liquid light

Chaumet waters its thirsty hydrangeas

29 Августа 2014

One of Chaumet’s 12 high-jewellery sets for the Biennale in Paris features the Ethiopian opal

The hydrangea was invented as a house symbol for Chaumet by artistic director Claire Dévé-Rakoff. She showed what the French call the “horstensia” in her debut collection last year for the Place Vendôme jeweler.

From an exceptionally thirsty flower to a focus on water seems a logical step. And that is the theme of 12 high-jewellery pieces created for the upcoming Paris Biennale.

I would describe the collection as poetic modernism. The swirling movement of the jewels, the blue, green and icy white colours, the use of aquamarine, opal and, of course, diamonds, all create the sense of moving water.

A necklace with blocks of frosted rock crystal and a shower of diamond comets

Chaumet called the collection Lumières d’Eau — which is best translated as “light on water”. The designer added a quote from Gaston Bachelard, famous for his 1958 The Poetics of Space.

“Water is an inverted sky where stars take on a new life,” wrote Bachelard. Translated into jewellery, the effect of water “flowing, frozen or cascading” becomes a platinum and white-gold necklace with frosted rock crystal and a shower of brilliant-cut diamonds. The icy effect is reminiscent of frozen water.

Caption Reflections of the moon on water

Elongated parures with thin lines of colour, such as graded blue and yellow sapphires, suggest reflections of the moon on water. While Ethiopian opals — with their watery colours and rounded, cabochon-cut shapes — in necklets and bracelets give the effect of the aurora borealis.

The gradations of colour and the imaginative use of stones show the power of Chaumet’s imaginative new designer.

On display at the Biennale des Antiquaires, Paris, from September 11-21.

The secrets of Chaumet’s savoir-faire shared by Pascal Bourdariat, the 12th Workshop Master of the Maison.

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