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Gleams of delight

Updated: 2012-09-11 10:38
( China Daily)

Gleams of delight
Gleams of delight

Top: Wallace Chan's creation Eyes of Infinity; From above left: Piaget's Couture Precieuse necklace in diamond embroidery inspiration. Chanel's "Constellation du Lion" necklace in 18-karat white and yellow gold set with 159 baguette-cut diamonds. The Chaumet tiara in platinum and diamonds. Van Cleef and Arpels' Sept Etoiles (Seven Stars) collection.

Kitty Go tracks the jewelry highlights at the 26th Paris Biennale.

In the mid-1950s, select French antique dealers organized themselves and held a fair seeking to inspire passion in collectors and bring them to Paris. The 26th Biennale des Antiquaires as we know it today (literally a garden of delights for art enthusiasts) began in 1962 and was inaugurated by Andre Malraux, then French minister of culture. Today, it is one of the most famous international antiques fairs in the world, bringing together serious collectors and the best dealers with their choicest pieces. As always, it is held at the historical Grand Palais from Sept 14-23 and this year, it is directed by designer Karl Lagerfeld. Exhibitions have expanded beyond antiques into furniture, art, sculpture, silver and lately, jewelry. This year, the association has invited Wallace Chan, the first Asian jeweler to exhibit at this prestigious show. Here we feature some of the most iconic high jewelry pieces from exclusive jewelers at this year's biennale.

Chanel fine jewelry

This Biennale's "1932" collection showcases 80 pieces to celebrate the 80th anniversary of "Bijoux de Diamants", the first and only high jewelry collection created in 1932 by Gabrielle Chanel.

"If I have chosen diamonds, it is because they represent the greatest value in the smallest volume," she says.

The pieces are inspired by comets, stars, the sun, fringes, ribbons and feathers. For the first time, some will carry a new icon, the lion - Chanel being born a Leo.

This collection's aptly chosen star piece is the "Constellation du Lion" necklace featuring a lion carved from 307 karats of fancy golden rutilated quartz, highlighting a 32-karat cushion cut yellow diamond.

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This Geneva-based watch and jewelry brand started in 1874, specializing in watch design and manufacturing.

In the 1960s, it started to make its name in jewelry watches using hard stones for dials and cuff timepieces.

This year's Couture Precieuse collection is graphic yet airy, inspired by haute couture. A woman's curves are draped in flowing style by diamonds formed into lace, ribbons, fabric weaves and corsets.

"Gorgeous Embroidery" has an open work, articulated setting of white gold filaments made to look like lace. Like a couture dress, it is set on the bias and took 800 hours to make.

According to Jean-Bernard Forot, jewelry marketing director of Piaget International, "This necklace is born from the desire of a diamond embroidery veil. It is a true and remarkable alliance of fishnet and diamond lace with many details and so light that it is almost airy. It covers the skin while revealing it, which is a secret of seduction to glorify a woman's beauty. It is a masterpiece in jewelry expertise - it has no clasp and remains open, which is a technical prowess for sensuality, ' fleur de peau'"

Wallace Chan

Hong Kong-based Wallace Chan began his career as a sculptor and started working with gemstones in the 1970s.

In 1987, he introduced the "Wallace Cut", a unique and multi-dimensional faceting of gemstones that creates reflections and images using intaglio and cameo carving.

In 2001, he perfected the use of titanium in jewelry settings using dental instruments. He is known in the trade as a 'jeweler's jeweler' and is one of the few Asians with international recognition not only from collectors but also museums.

"Stilled Life" is the highlight of his first collection for the Biennale, which is titled Path to Enlightenment. The piece, paved in clear and evenly colored imperial jadeite, has the form of a cicada.

"Subsisting solely on fluids and singing their hearts out till death, cicadas are often adopted as the metaphor for noble character," explains Chan. "The jadeite's overwhelming greenness encompasses the overflowing sense of nature's liveliness; becoming one with the cicada, it has given form to the wisdom of life."

Van Cleef and Arpels

This Parisian house has been headquartered on 22 Place Vendome since it opened in 1906.

Some of the greatest innovations in jewelry came from VCA in the 1930s, the "minaudiere,"; the versatile Passe-Partout and Cadenas links; the Zip necklace originally made for the Duchess of Windsor and the famous "Mystery Setting."

Palais de la Chance is homage to international symbols of luck in astrology and nature.

Constellations inspired the "Lucky Stars" collection which features Sept Etoiles (Seven Stars) perfectly matched Kashmir sapphires.

It is the ultimate symbol of luck and this "star" piece is inspired by the Great Bear legend.

It took several years to gather the 33-karats of sapphires that are surrounded by round, baguette and rose-cut diamonds set as a coiled necklace.

"This new collection is inspired by Jacques Arpels, a member of the founding family who often said: 'To be lucky, you have to believe in luck.' You will discover creations conveying luck, celebrating the nature that brings you luck, the myths and legends protecting mankind and your lucky stars." president and CEO Stanislas de Quercize says.

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The crown jeweler to Napoleon I that started in 1780 has over 1,500 tiara designs - it is the go-to brand for tiaras.

The 12 Vendome collection, named after Chaumet's address in Paris, has four contemporary and versatile tiaras which Thierry Fritsch, President of Chaumet says: "[Each] Tiara in this collection [has] its own interpretation and vision of the Parisian style. We also may find on most of the pieces certain aesthetics codes like drops, bows and pin-locks."

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