Enthusiasts of the French luxury brand’s history would be aware, that 90 years ago, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel unveiled her first and only high jewellery collection, designed by herself, on November 5, 1932. Described as “an exhibition of sublime splendour,” the collection was called Bijoux de Diamants.
To celebrate the beauty of this elaborate collection, Chanel unveiled “Allure Céleste,” a special masterpiece, a necklace that is part of the brand’s upcoming high jewellery collection.
The highlight of the “Allure Céleste” is the central oval sapphire. Weighing a striking 55.55 carats, the stone was purchased by the House in 2017, which was then cut and marked for the collection’s 90th anniversary.
Patrice Leguéreau, the director of Chanel’s fine jewellery creation studio designed the necklace surrounding the deep blue gem to embody the spirit of the “1932” anniversary collection. “I wanted to return to the essence of 1932 and to harmonise the message around three symbols: the comet, the moon and the sun,” says Leguéreau.
The Allure Celeste
The crescent moon takes centre-stage holding the 55.55-carat sapphire, while the comet is an 8.02-carat pear-shaped diamond, with gradated lines of diamonds in assorted cuts. Finally, the star has a 2.52-carat circular cut-out at its centre, with another 40 carats raised by 1,031 brilliant-cut diamonds of the design. An invisible mechanism transforms the necklace into a shorter version, where it can be worn as a short necklace, with the dangling front as a bracelet. Aside from this, the three prominent motifs can also be detached and worn as brooches.
Chanel was an advocate of costume jewellery and had preferred it over fine jewellery. The reason for this was that Chanel thought it was “disgraceful to walk around with millions of dollars around your neck, just because you are rich”. However, after The Great Depression and the 1929 crash of Wall Street, Chanel was inclined to change her beliefs. And so she created the Bijoux de Diamants collection as a representation of optimism and encouragement.
The Bijoux de Diamants
The Bijoux de Diamants collection was financed by the London Diamond Corporation. It featured approximately 50 pieces that were made with white and yellow diamonds, and set in platinum and yellow gold.
Celestial bodies were the main theme of the collection. Chanel drew inspiration from the night skies of Paris— a black canvas illuminated by the moon and twinkling stars. Apart from these, there were motifs like ribbon bows, feathers, fringe and tassels which came from her couture collections.
Bijoux de Diamants was exhibited in Chanel’s private home in Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré, Paris, France back in 1932. The collection was displayed on wax busts that were dressed in Chanel’s latest collections.
While a number of pieces from the collection were sold, others were ordered to be dismantled by the traditional jewellers on Paris’ Place Vendome. They were outraged by the fact that an ordinary couturier has been tasked with creating a collection that would revive the diamond industry. And so they demanded that her pieces be dismantled and the diamonds be returned.