Wednesday 22nd January

| BY Dino Bonacic

Ten Tips on Dripping in Diamonds and Pearls Like It’s 2020

It’s haute couture week in Paris. This means the whole fashion industry is stuck dreaming about wearing that beautiful gown embroidered to an inch of its exuberant layers, and living a life that would require such gowns. A royal of a tiny country no one knows about? Yep. Owner of a booming multi-billion dollar business with a charity gala scheduled for the first day of spring? Sure, why not. Your grandma left you a lump of cash and buying a house is what everyone expects you to do, but you’re a total rebel? That’s me. Well, I wish that was me – and observing the height of craftsmanship demonstrated in the elaborate designs the couture houses are coming up with this season is definitely not helping with curing my state of chronic delusion. So instead of trying to get back to reality, I’ve decided to dive even deeper into my imaginary lifestyle and explore the options of accessories that will match my fantasy looks.

Happening simultaneously with the couture shows are the presentations of all the high jewellery houses and their new collections, offering their customers first dibs on whatever intricate diamond combination they came up with for this year. The prices are astronomical and even further outside my “I shop vintage pearls on eBay” price-point, but that also makes the experience of looking at these gems even sweeter. For all you fantasy (or real) shoppers out there, here’s a little diamond digest of all things haute jewellery you might have missed over the past few days.

Possibly the most exciting news heard around the world in the category of jewels was the discovery of the second largest rough diamond in the history – and its acquisition by Louis Vuitton. Counting at 1758 carats, it was discovered in the Lucara Diamond Corporation’s 100% owned Karowe mine in Botswana on April 19th 2019. It’s called Sewelô which means “rare find” in the Setswana language and is the size of a tennis ball, measuring at 83mm x 62mm x 46mm and weighing 352 grams. As the proud owners of the diamond, Louis Vuitton are planning to use its extraordinary variety to create bespoke-cut diamonds, as directed by Francesca Amfitheatrof, the brand’s artistic director for jewellery and watches. Interestingly, the largest rough diamond ever to be discovered was Cullinan, at 3106 carats, in 1905, which has since been transformed into British Crown Jewels. Take that to your next appearance on The Chase!

At Swarovski, it’s another case of discoveries. But instead of a mine, they’ve found their diamonds in a laboratory. This January, the Austrian glass and crystal producer have announced the launch of their man-made Swarovski Created Diamond in 16 new colours, making it the most extensive range of coloured gems available on the lab-created diamond market today. The four hero colours come with fabulous names that could easily be titles of 1980s New Wave records – pink is Androgyny Flamingo, blue is Cubist Sky, hot red is Heavy Metal Cherry, with the mustard yellow one called Gothic Cognac. Each of them is dedicated to one of the creative fields that make Swarovski’s community – fashion, art, music and architecture. If you’re looking for conscious luxury, this one’s for you.

Don’t feel like waiting for the raw materials to turn into the most chunky piece of dreams? Don’t you worry, Victoire de Castellane has got you covered. As the artistic director of Dior Joaillerie, de Castellane has already brought us some pretty majestic creations that will absolutely break the bank. This year, her collection comes in the all its technicolour glory, using jewellery as a prism of light. Titled Dior et Moi, the range includes 39 creations which all carry a sentimental notion of jewellery as a symbol of duality – me and you. They’re less about tradition and more about modernity, with between-finger rings, mismatched earrings and wild bangles daring to bring unconventional ideas into the often stern world of high jewellery. An absolute highlight is one of de Castellane’s favourite stones – the opal – which takes pride of place in an XXL version, enhanced with a hypnotic dash of lacquer on a necklace set with a diamond.



While technically not high but rather fine jewellery, there’s something really special about this one. “Pearls line up alongside diamonds in terms of value. Myriad stories spring to mind concerning pearls,” says Rei Kawakubo of her latest power move. Mother of contemporary avant-garde has teamed up with the Japanese masters of pearl jewellery to create the partnership of Comme des Garçons and Mikimoto. The first ever fine jewellery collaboration for Kawakubo’s brand, the collection consists of seven different designs produced from sterling silver and either White South Sea or Akoya Mikimoto Pearls, and is just the first chapter of the two-year project. The first pieces are launching on February 22nd in Comme des Garçons and Dover Street Market retail outlets worldwide as well as Mikomoto’s store in Tokyo’s Ginza. It doesn’t get more collectible than this one so make sure to set your alarms.

Photographs by Tetsuya Niikura @ Signo