Haute Joaillerie 2021

Van Cleef & Arpels steals the show

Our jewelry editor Evelyn Tye made her usual round of Place Vendôme’s most striking Haute Joaillerie presentations. After a pandemic induced silence and only digital presentations, the Maisons seized the moment to put on eye-catching thrillers. Tye focused on two big Maisons and a rising star of Paris fashion and jewelry.

By far the most interesting and captivating pieces and initiatives were by Van Cleef and Arpels. In fact, the company goes all out with an incredible sponsorship program dedicated to contemporary dance called Dance Reflections. CEO Nicolas Bos recruited his friend Serge Laurent who was the programming director of live events at the Centre Pompidou and goes by the cool job description of Médiateur Artistique. The two met at the Fondation Cartier early on in their careers and now are on to putting corporate, cultural sponsorship on a whole new playing field.  

“Dance has been a significant field for the Maison throughout its history, with examples that include the encounter between Claude Arpels and George Balanchine in the 1960s, and the partnership with Benjamin Millepied’s L.A. Dance Project. With the program Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels, the Maison aims to support modern and contemporary dance, and encourage new choreography,” says Nicolas Bos while Serge Laurent adds: “Dance brings all the artistic disciplines together: it can incorporate music, the plastic arts, costume, lighting, set design, graphic design and even jewelry.” No wonder the ballerinas came back for the “Feminine Figures” collection. 

Feminine Figures by Van Cleef & Arpels

Perfection, discipline and elegance are the anchors of ballet. Any person who has ever danced classic ballet would applaud the fine detail given to the body’s movement in the new collection’s clips. Something equally difficult to achieve for a ballerina than for the person who makes the pieces.

Tamara ballerina clip in white and rose gold with traditional Mystery Set pink sapphires, mauve and pink sapphires and diamonds.

Russian prima ballerina Tamara Karsavina in the ballet “Carnaval” (1910).

Extraordinary Lights by Piaget

Inspired by the beauty of evening light, Piaget showed a majestic necklace featuring one cushion-cut yellow diamond of approximately 8.88 carats, one pear-shaped blue sapphire of approximately 5.34 carats and one pear-shaped spinel of approximately 3.61 carats. This outstanding creation offers nine different ways to wear.

Extraordinary Lights set necklace in white gold with yellow and white diamonds, sapphires, spinels, spessartites and pearls.

A brooch once owned by the Russian royal family.

Magica Naturae by Elie Top

Dandy of Parisian soirées, jewelry designer Elie Top looked to the animal kingdom for inspiration. The impeccably achieved crocodile got our special attention, perhaps because it made us remember the one of a kind Mexican actress María “La Doña” Félix and her famous Cartier alligator necklace.

Crocodile flexible double ring in yellow gold, pink gold and distressed silver with emeralds and diamonds.

María Félix and her commissioned jewelry. (Photo by Lord Snowdon courtesy of Cartier)