Surely everyone knows the iconic symbols of the most influential houses in the world, right? Take a look at the lesser-known emblems and designs of our most beloved brands and learn about their fascinating heritage.
Gabrielle Chanel’s intimate universe is full of symbols that are dear to her. Certainly, for a fashion revolutionary, a stylistic and functional element such as the button would be of the utmost importance. Enriching the Mademoiselle Privé Bouton 2020 and 2021 collections is this year an unexpected but captivating Special Edition Mademoiselle Privé Bouton Golden Pearl Motif Set. From this range is a special edition cuff watch, whose diamond-set dial is concealed by a classic Chanel mother-of-pearl button accented with yellow gold and diamonds. Only five pieces of this numbered watch are available.
“Fortunately there are flowers,” said fashion designer Christian Dior, whose childhood in Normandy was perfumed by the queen of flowers. Among his favorite places, the family rose garden, patiently maintained by his mother. During his time, the designer highlighted the flower, its petals and its soft hues in his work, even creating women-flowers (women-flowers in French). The perfect modern interpretation of Monsieur’s vision, this 30 Montaigne Rose ring with pink sapphires and diamonds is made to celebrate the reopening of Dior’s historic flagship boutique at 30 avenue Montaigne, and sold only there.
Tiffany & Co.: Seashell
If it’s an extraordinary, bejeweled sea creature, chances are it’s a Jean Schlumberger. The French-born designer who settled in New York after World War II is one of the most celebrated jewelers of the 20th century, and frankly, of all time. Upon joining the American household and with unlimited resources, his name became synonymous with fantastic flora and fauna, of which his sea creatures such as starfish and fish were among the most iconic. Here is a recreation of another Schlumberger signature: a Coquillage clip in platinum and yellow gold with blue sapphires and yellow and white diamonds.
While the panther reigns over Cartier’s animal pantheon, the house has always been famous for its breathtaking menagerie of wild and wondrous creatures. Among its most memorable, the crocodile recalls the house’s fascination with Egypt. The reptile has seen many fine jewelry iterations, but had the most impact on Mexican actress Maria Felix’s neck in the 1970s. Cartier in yellow gold and diamonds. Set with 255 emeralds and two ruby cabochons, it confronts its worthy adversary of a panther through a diamond-encrusted dial.
One of the house of Chopard’s superpowers is its mastery of precious metals – which is why its annual Red Carpet collection is truly a sight to behold. An ongoing theme across its high and fine jewelry categories is Precious Lace, which features age-old filigree work on ultra-lightweight diamond creations that wear like a second skin. Illustrating the genius of the house, this majestic necklace is crafted in ethical white gold and certified Fairmined titanium, and enhanced with a 34.63-carat neon blue Paraiba tourmaline from Mozambique that no one can take their eyes off.
The sculptural and unconventional beauty of a celestial eclipse has been immortalized in the Graff Tribal collection. Named Graff Gateway, the stylized motif when adorned with sparkling diamonds evokes the transcendence of space and time. Impressive with its abstract patterns and sublime symmetry, this Graff Gateway diamond bracelet, set with stones with a total weight of 33 carats. Its cuff-style design is seductive and sensual, while its exceptional construction allows the light to fully embrace the room.
Ancient civilizations around the world valued currency so dearly that it was often used as a statement piece and good luck talisman. Keeping this practice alive is Roman jeweler Bvlgari, which is a key force in resurrecting the ancient coinage as a contemporary aesthetic motif. The house launched its first Monete jewelry collection during the Dolce Vita era, when the aesthetic of rounded shapes, bold contours and alluring volumes cemented its place in Bvlgari’s design lexicon. On the motivations of his house, Nicola Bvlgari said this in an interview in 1982: “To these ancient coins, relics of the past, we offer a second chance at life: Rather than locking them in a drawer, we transform them into living. Every Monete coin is both an antique and a work of art because it is a piece of jewelry – because every rigorously sourced coin is rare and valuable. Case in point: this rose gold and diamond necklace adorned with nine perfectly preserved pieces bearing the profile of none other than Alexander the Great, who ruled the Macedonian kingdom from 336 to 323 BCE.
Louis Vuitton: star
Created by Georges Vuitton in homage to his father, Louis Vuitton, the LV monogram takes up the initials of the founder of the house in a pretty pattern that needs no introduction. The design is inspired by the decor of the earthenware tiles of the Vuitton family house in Asnières. While many recognize the four leaf clover and its symbolism, the four pointed star may have escaped their attention. Symbolizing fortune and hope, this design, when surrounded by a diamond-shaped compass border, evokes the spirit of travel and discovery. Here on the Bravery Le Mythe white gold bracelet, the star is adorned with diamonds and four pear-cut blue sapphires weighing 3.61 carats.
Piaget: Marquis Cut
Legend has it that King Louis XV of France asked for a diamond to be cut in honor of the smile of his beloved Marquise de Pompadour. This historical form has, in contemporary times, been adopted as an important code of Piaget design, for the fact that it makes precious stones dazzle. Marquise-cut stones are the basis of many of Piaget’s most distinctive creations, combined with the house’s expertise in goldsmithing and setting. More than 175 hours of jewelery expertise have gone into this Limelight Gala Haute Joaillerie watch in white gold. Of the 256 diamonds that sensually surround the snow-set dial, 87 are claw-set marquise-cut candles.
The New Maharajahs collection is a tribute to the largest special order in the history of Place Vendôme placed by the Maharaja of Patiala in 1928. Even if the original ceremonial adornments have been reduced to modern monochrome masterpieces , certain perennial motifs, such as the lotus dear to Boucheron’s long line of Indian royalty, have been retained. The sacred flower, also called padma in Sanskrit, has been given a contemporary dimension on this convertible choker necklace that resembles a lace necklace, adorned with a spectacular 4.08-carat cushion-cut diamond drop in the center.
Elegant and delicate naturalistic motifs have always been the heart and soul of Chaumet throughout its 242-year history. The bay leaf is a key design element in his archive, thanks to its gravity as an ancient symbol of immortality and victory cherished by none other than Empress Josephine, wife of household patron Napoleon Bonaparte. Reinterpreted in a modern and refined way, the laurel now adorns many Chaumet creations, including this Secret 12 Vendôme Laurier watch in white gold, which nicely contrasts an aventurine blue dial with brilliant-cut diamonds.
Harry Winston: Ark
The stone facade of Harry Winston’s historic flagship saloon on Fifth Avenue in New York City is a true showcase of architecture from the Art Deco period. The Avenue family of watches draws inspiration from this design feature, displaying a sleek rectangular case anchored by the house’s signature pattern inspired by the living room entrance. While the collection is still green, there’s a recent update that fuses the jeweler’s refined elegance with a contemporary twist in the form of a colorful graffiti-style dial. On this Avenue Classic Graffiti watch, 147 diamonds contrast with the blue and white mother-of-pearl for a bewitching effect.
Van Cleef & Arpels: Butterfly
The poetic beauty of flowers holds an important place in the world of Van Cleef & Arpels. Another emblem closely associated with the symbolic garden of the house is the resplendent butterfly, which intersects with themes of nature, flowers, winged creatures, love and imaginary worlds. Presenting here two unique interpretations, above, the lacquered butterfly clip Chikurin (bamboo forest) and Suzume (sparrow) in limited edition in yellow gold, with mother-of-pearl and diamonds; and at the bottom, the Féodora butterfly clip in rose gold with rubies, spessartite garnets, black spinels, bull’s eye, coral, mother-of-pearl and diamonds.
This story first appeared in the May 2022 issue of Prestige Singapore.