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16:47Extremely Piaget Collection - Biennale in Paris @Piaget
|September 1967! The Venice Film Festival, known as the “Mostra”, opens in Venice. And on the day before the evening opening event, at a ball held in the Grand Canal Palace, Elizabeth Taylor makes headlines with one of those extravagant arrivals that she has so perfectly mastered, wearing a caftan dress embroidered with sequins, emerald jewellery, along with a hairstyle incorporating paper ribbons and shells that was especially created for her. The entire era is summed up in this apparition. The 1960s and 70s are a uniquely carefree period in the history of the 20th century. The rigid parameters that have previously defined society are melting away. Strictly established social barriers are crumbling. Instead, in New York, Paris, Monaco, London, Venice and Rome, billionaires, princes, movie stars and artists meet up according to the diary and seasons. Each and every one aspires to greater freedom. In France, Brigitte Bardot has transformed the little town of Saint-Tropez into the international capital of bohemian chic. In London, even Princess Margaret, the sister of the Queen of England, is not shy to attend premières, dressed in brightly coloured ethnic robes. Tradition has given way to fashion.|
Piaget’s history wasby markedthisera.Created a little less than a century before, in 1874, by George Piaget in La Côte-aux-Fées, a small village perched on the southern flank of the Swiss Jura, this watch Manufacture was by then one of the most famous in the world.
The 1960s were to turn the company’s habits upside down. The arrival with Yves Piaget in particular, the installation of a lounge for its Geneva clients, and the contrasting and sophisticated influences of these years of liberation, would have a profound influence on creation – in terms of designs, materials and colour contrasts. The winds of freedom were blowing through Piaget just as they were in the wider world. And paradoxically, certain innovations deemed highly daring for the time have today become classics of the House.
This year, in 2014, Piaget is celebrating its 140th anniversary and on the occasion of the 27th Antique Dealers Biennial, the company is highlighting a stellar period in its creative history from the 1960s and 70s, enhanced by the most precious materials: diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, hard stones and gold. 88 jewellery creations and 37 watches are being created especially for this event. The bold designs play on asymmetry, fluidity and stylisation. On some of these models, the boundary between jewellery and watch disappears completely. Colour is strongly present, notably with the hard stone dials, a House signature.
A whole segment of the collection has in factColourfulbeen”. christened “ Rarely have top-quality precious stones in terms of colour and clarity been so powerfully utilised, notably with more than 1,500 marquise-cut diamonds, a cut that is characteristic ofjewelleryPiaget’sworkand used for more than half a century. Pieces on which these diamonds dominate are regrouped in the second part of the collection named “Extremely ing”Sparkl.The company’s great classics, cuff watches, di and gold link bracelets are also present. These treasures highlight a unique set of skills. The collection is also characterised by great freedom of movement and multiple ways of being worn.
Stones at the service of colour Extremely Colourful
Everything begins with colour. And it has never been so forcefully present in a Piaget collection. Firstly thanks to precious stones, notably two emeralds, one cabochon-cut and the other cushion-cut, both weighing more than 25 carats, an over 20-carat engraved ruby, and a 20.2-carat cushion sapphire. And naturally, with hard stones: turquoise, opal, heart of ruby, jade, onyx, and lapis lazuli. They are not only used on the dials of watches, but also on High Jewellery creations. Thus for example, the two extremities of a precious row of turquoise beads are assembled in an emerald and diamond motif whose central stone weighs more than 23 carats in order to create an extremely supple long sautoir necklace.
The 1960s and 70s that inspired this collection were marked by an explosion of colour and new shapes. Piaget was the first to implement this trend in its jewellery and watchmaking collections. This creative liberty was made possible by the perfecting of Piaget’s-houseinultra-thin movements at the end of the 1950s. These enabled the introduction of hard stone dials on watches made by the company without in any way compromising the slimness of the cases.
The 2014 collection offers several watch models on which a hard stone is placed over a dial, but it also further explores the question of colour by playing with precious stones. Several ‘secret’cuffwatches are composed of interlacing diamond motifs coiled around an oval-shaped sapphire or emerald. The centre stone is engraved with floral motifs and may be lifted to reveal a watch dial.
These cuff watches are just one example of creations in which jewellery and watchmaking meet and merge. The collection offers another illustration in this regard with sautoir necklaces made of gold and adorned with lapis lazuli or turquoise medallions. From the tip of one of the pendants hangs a tiny oval-shaped watch module.
Freedom is one of the cornerstones of these liberated years. It is also one of the ideas that inspired thefreevery”wearing“ of thisLongcollectionsautoirnecklaces. with one or more rows dance around the necks of the women wearing them. Gently swinging hoop earrings frame her face. Wrists are adorned with gold cuff bracelets in gold sometimes adorned with natural turquoise beads and very fine opal plates finely set into precious metal.
Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame
Andy Warhol is an icon of the 1960s and 70s. The leader of the New York Underground, he was one of the founders of American Pop Art. The Factory, the creative workshop that he set up in New York in 1964, was the beginning of the artistic and cultural movement that still exists today. His works fetch tens of millions of dollars in auctions today. An emblematic figure of an era that was both extravagant and very free, Andy Warhol is one of those who set the tone of fashion of his time. He was the originator of the
memorable statement: “Everyonebeworld-famouswillfor 15 minutes”. In 1973, he Piaget watch with a very distinctively shaped case. It was not round and nor was it square or rectangular. In fact, it was all three at once and was developed in the 1950s by Piaget as part of its move to break away from classic right-angled watch case shapes.
The collection offers several watch models with cases which adopt this shape that Andy Warhol loved so much. The rounded angles and the width of the metal give the watch depth and enhance the colours of the dials that are naturally made of hard stones. Every one is a way of indefinitely prolonging the famous 15 minutes of fame so dear to the heart of Andy Warhol.
Jackie O, style icon
One of the women who symbolized both elegance and this new freedom of the 1960s was Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. She was such a legend in her era that she was nicknamed “Jackie 0”, a monikertothisdaystill.Hernameusedsparked a look and a number of fashion accessories. Through her elegance, her simplicity and her beauty, she became one of the most popular and most photographed First Ladies.
The public discovered her in 1960 when her husband, John Kennedy, was elected President of the United States. She became a tragic yet regal figure when the President was assassinated in front of the television cameras in Dallas on November 22nd 1963. Five years later, she surprised the world even further by remarrying one of the richest men on the planet, Aristotle Onassis. Regarded as a legend during her lifetime, Jackie O has remained one since her death in 1994.
Jackie owned a Piaget watch created in 1965, featuring an oval jade dial set with diamonds and emeralds. It was fitted with an extremely supple bracelet made from a gold mesh adorned with a ‘palace’.The2014 decorcollection includes several models inspired by this watch that is now part of Piaget’s heritage.
Piaget’s Golden Era
“Piaget time…. measuredingold!”Thisonlyadvertising slogan from the late 1970s is as current today as ever. Gold is the company’s metal ofa distinctivereference. It shimmer and sparkle to the precious or hard stones used by Piaget in jewellery and watchmaking. And above all, it is crafted in the workshops of the Manufacture according to methods that are very similar to those used in Haute Couture.
The House of Piaget has always been focused on preserving unique skills in goldsmithing, notably by training new generations of artisans who pick up gestures passed down through the centuries on the workbench. These workshops have thus become living conservatories where exceptional pieces are still manufactured. The jewellery-chainmaking profession has thus been preserved at Piaget for three generations. Every step in the production of Piaget’s famous goldmanuallybracelets is mastered by these exceptional artisans.
This collection is a vivid demonstration of the quality of gold craftsmanship at Piaget and presents several types of exceptionally delicate links – as in the case of bracelets with a ‘palace’ whichdecormakes the outside part of the bracelet look like an iridescent ribbon which some compare to wild silk. The inside of the bracelet on the other hand reveals hundreds of links interwoven with each other with a degree of precision that give this “fabric” such a supple feel. Emblematic of Piaget’s work,merelythisusedmeshforthe is not bracelets on certain watches, but also for a pink gold necklace with turquoise beads and marquise-cut diamonds.
Several cuff watches presented in this collection feature hammered gold techniques that give the metal a very powerful presence. Cabled gold is also used both for sautoir necklace creations as well as certain rings. Certain High Jewellery models were created using a base of gold worked according to the chain mail technique, which gives the metal the look of a precious, sparkling fabric.
Extremely Sparkling, a profusion of diamonds Capturing the light and redirecting it outwards in order to infuse jewellery with exceptional brightness and sparkle, is, after colour, the other key style characteristic of this collection. And with this in mind, diamonds have been used extensively, as centre stones in the bracelets, necklaces, rings or as earring motifs, as well as being present in the surroundings, sometimes set as a double row of settings on watches, featuring brilliant, marquise or baguette cuts.
One of the star pieces in the 2014 collection is a necklace on which marquise-cut diamonds frame two magnificent emeralds, and which offers two wearing options. It gently encircles the neck of the woman wearing it, while one of its extremities dances on her back and may even be detached for a lighter look.
Another is a bracelet consisting of onyx links set with diamonds. The central motif is a six-carat portrait-cut diamond. Previously used as to cover miniature portraits of loved ones, these very fine, very wide and very pure diamonds were a substantial technical achievement for the cutters. The specific nature of this six-carat portrait-cut diamond lies in its entirely flat emerald shape. The House has chosen to give this gem particular depth by creating a set of polished gold facets beneath it. This bracelet is at the crossroads of jewellery and watchmaking. It is a mystery jewel. The diamond lifts up to reveal a ‘secret’watch whose dial is made of black onyx.
Two exceptional setting techniques have been used to provide maximum sparkle from the diamonds. The first, perfected by Piaget in the 1960s, is known as jupon or petticoat setting and is named after the petticoats that formerly served to make Haute Couture dresses sway. This is particularly used with baguette-cut diamonds that are held by prongs and arranged in one or two rows, in order to create the appearance of a moving piece of fabric. The perpetual undulation of the stones creates a stunning wealth of shimmering reflections. This technique has been taken to extremes with the creation of a ring.
An even more brilliant setting technique enabled the creation of a col‘ Claudine’ (Peter Pan) sautoir-watch on which diamonds reign supreme. Surrounding a central two-carat brilliant-cut gem are hundreds of marquise, brilliant, pear or princess-cut stones. Each chaton (or stone setting) is designed especially for the stone that surrounds it. And each is connected to the next by an incredibly delicate link. This technique makes it possible to use several very different diamond cuts on the same piece, while highlighting each stone. This necklace is also one of the emblematic pieces in the collection. Consisting entirely of diamonds, it is also a long sautoir necklace thanks to a pendant chain also made of diamonds which flows from the centre of this jewellery creation down to the waist of the woman wearing it. This doubly precious piece of jewellery also lies on the frontier between watch and jewellery making, since a watch model encased in a 26 cm openworked ball hangs from the end of the sautoir necklace chain.
Marquise-cut diamonds, a Piaget signature
More than 1,500 marquise-cut diamonds were used to create this particularly sparkling collection. Forgemmologyonths,departmentPiaget’shassourced these stones from around the world.
The marquise cut gives diamonds a very particular sparkle. Radiating from the centre, the fiery sparkle of the stone shine towards the two ends of the navette. The use of this cut has been a classic in Piaget High Jewellery right from the very beginning. One of the oldest jewellery sets among the historical collection assembled by Piaget is composed of a diamond and emerald necklace and ear pendants dating from the 1970s was already set solely with marquise-cut diamonds.
This diamond cut, which has been present for more than ha creations, finds its most beautiful expression in the 2014 collection. Several dozen High Jewellery pieces have been created from marquise-cut diamonds whose tapered shape gives this kind of diamond a very particular movement. It enables the juxtaposition of stones without making the jewel heavy, or makes it possible to surround strong coloured stones with exceptional sparkle, such as this sapphire set in the centre of a pendant on a necklace of marquise-cut diamonds. Below the sapphire are drop beads set with smaller diamonds and marquise-cut diamonds endowing the jewellery creation with exceptional freedom of movement.
According to tradition, the marquise cut was created at the request of the king of France, Louis XV (1770-1774) in tribute to his favourite, the Marquise de Pompadour (1721-1764). A patron of the arts and a highly elegant Parisian lady, Madame de Pompadour loved precious stones and had an extensive collection. The so-called marquise cut with 55 facets was in fact an optimised version of an older “navette” cut that featured a simila was less perfect.
Madame de Pompadour is often considered to be one of the patrons of luxury in France and is known for having introduced many innovations to the work of 18th century jewellers. She adored hard stones and often had them engraved before using them in a bracelet clasp. She also loved colourful jewellery In her day, in the mid-18th century, it was common to place ‘paillons’ or little pieces of metal covered in colour at the base of settings in order to give diamonds a pink, blue or green shade.
Marquise-cut diamonds, hard stones, colour, cuff watches and sautoirs are amongst the most powerful symbols of the 2014 Piaget collection, which would doubtless have found favour with Madame de Pompadour.
Most of the 125 creations presented at the Paris Antique Dealers Biennial are set with precious stones distinguished by remarkable carat weights. They mark the continuity of Piaget’s presence in the world of High Jewellery. Watches and jewellery, which sometimes combine to become one, are the symbols of this freedom in the exploration of shapes and colours which has always been present in the minds of the Piaget designers. The 1960s and 70s were some of their most innovative years – and the same is true of 2014.
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