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JEW ELLERY

“No other exhibition managed quite so successfully to pull off the scale or integrity of the Biennale”

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BOUCHERON The Rêves d’Ailleurs collection retells Boucheron’s history from the viewpoint of the family’s exotic travels to Persia, India, China, Japan and Russia. Inspired by the soul of India, the Fleur des Indes necklace centres on an imposing 188.79ct 17th-century Moghul emerald of Colombian origin. The majesty of Isfahan’s famous mosque is conjured by the Trésor de Perse suite’s blue sapphires, while the ring features a Burmese sapphire that comes from an original piece made by Boucheron for the Iranian imperial family.

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ice necklace, right? But is it art? Traditionalists have been claiming a hold on the intellectual high ground for years, stating that the fine arts – i.e. painting, sculpture, poetry – have more integrity than the applied arts – i.e. photography, conceptual art and textile design – which serve a practical function. So where does jewellery fit in? For a time it was considered simply a show of wealth, something to rattle in the dress circle, adding a bit of dazzle to a posh event. But during the 20th century, as haute-joaillerie brands found their style and their stride, jewellery developed its own design hierarchy. Houses like Bulgari, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Boucheron and Chaumet vied for attention with increasingly gob-smacking stones set in increasingly complicated settings. These brands continue to astonish, and there’s no better place to witness their design sorcery than at Paris’ Biennale des Antiquaires. The elegant art and antiques fair is held every two years in the grandeur of the glass-roofed Grand Palais. Originally built for that greatest of international exhibitions, the Exposition Universelle of 1900, the Grand Palais became

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home to the fair in 1956, which had evolved into a fully fledged biannual art and antiques show by 1959. Throughout the ’60s and ’70s, the Biennale attracted the cream of international society as well as luminaries from the art world with its blend of traditional and contemporary art and design. No other exhibition managed quite so successfully to pull off the scale or integrity of the Biennale. Since its return to the Grand Palais in 2006 (after a move to the Carrousel du Louvre in the ’90s), the Biennale has been all but taken over by the world of haute joaillerie. These days, the main attractions are the elaborate concoctions created by master jewellers, who spend years perfecting pieces that are shrouded in secrecy until the exhibition opens. All the great heritage houses are present; Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Boucheron, Chaumet and Bulgari reveal signature pieces showcasing one-of-a-kind gems. Then there are modern jewellers like Graff, the king of diamonds; Piaget, the famed Swiss watch brand, is another exhibitor, having developed virtuoso jewellery skills in recent years. While couture houses Dior and Chanel have translated the visions of their founders into original pieces.

1 Piaget Extremely Piaget drop earrings; 2 Chaumet Lumières d’Eau necklace; 3 Chanel Broadway diamond cuff; 4 Graff Royal Star of Paris brooch; 5 Dior Archi Dior Ailée Diamant bracelet; 6 Boucheron Rêves d’Ailleurs Fleur des Indes necklace

BULGARI Bulgari’s powerful new MVSA collection shows how the brand always remains true to its founder’s vision with coloured stones in a variety of innovative cuts, arranged in architectural compositions. The quintessential Italian jewellery house has produced nine MVSA pieces that highlight an array of 100 jewels. Signature Bulgari themes are also present including Serpenti, the slithering articulated snake; and Diva, an homage to Elizabeth Taylor’s portrayal of Cleopatra. CARTIER While Cartier has a reputation for innovation, this Biennale the brand is showing its most famous stones sold through history, including Barbara Hutton’s emeralds, Queen Marie

Profile for Harrods online

Harrods Magazine October 2014  

This month, the fashion team travelled to mysterious Mongolia to shoot the bold patterns, textured fleeces and tapestry ponchos in the autum...

Harrods Magazine October 2014  

This month, the fashion team travelled to mysterious Mongolia to shoot the bold patterns, textured fleeces and tapestry ponchos in the autum...

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