The cool, crisp air is filled with the chirrup of birds and the pitter-patter of light rain. A team of regional journalists, myself included, have been invited by Chaumet to gather at Shi-Yang, a bucolic tea house an hour’s drive away from the bustle of Taipei city and tucked away in the valley of the spectacular Wuzhi Mountain. I am led into a room on the second floor of the ultra-slick duplex, a structure that wouldn’t look out of place in a design feature; one end of the room opens up completely to face the lush greenery. I am left alone to “clear my thoughts” and to find my “inner zen”.
To fully understand why Chaumet has brought L’Officiel Singapore here, one ought to know that nature is, in fact, a really big deal for the Parisian jeweler. For 236 years, the brand has embraced both the beauty of the wild and wildlife as sources of inspiration, combining that with an inimitable know-how in craftsmanship and gem-setting to create highly impressive lines for an overarching collection named “Jardins”.
There’s Bee My Love, which, as its name suggests, celebrates the bee – a symbol of regality beloved by the French – and the honeycomb pattern on diamond bands and mini pendants. Hortensia translates the pretty hydrangea as bouquets of vibrant-colored stones on brooches, rings and earrings. Meanwhile, Attrape-Moi re-imagines the movements of spiders, dragonflies and, again, bees as playful motifs on the dial of a watch or as the centrepiece of a jewelry creation.
Chaumet unfolds a new chapter in the enchanting Jardins story this month by presenting two unique high jewelry lines, Abeille and Épi de Blé, which, like their predecessors, are inspired by the same beautiful garden universe that the brand has looked to for over two centuries. The Abeille line sees a return to the house’s treasured bee motif, elevating the insect in never-seen-before arrays of contrasting-colored gems. Striking mandarin and hessonite garnets sit alongside the cool tones of aquamarine, peridot and green tourmaline on gold rings, earrings and pendants, all of which are decorated with delicate open-worked wings and finished with only the finest brilliant-cut diamonds.
Meanwhile, the Épi de Blé range is a feminine tribute to Empress Joséphine, the first and eternal muse of Chaumet, and a fashion icon who, throughout her lifetime, remained true to the French Empire’s contemporary design codes. During her reign in the early 19th century, Joséphine quickly popularised the neoclassical tiara, which eventually led to the return of classical motifs such as the wheat sheaf in jewellery. Now, the symbol of life makes a second comeback as the Épi de Blé brooch and ring in yellow gold. The pair is rhodium-plated to resemble gold jewelry worn in the ’80s, but is updated with sparkling diamond accents for modern-day appeal.
Accompanying the Abeille and Épi de Blé lines are also new additions to Chaumet’s highly popular Hortensia family. There are two parts: Aube Rosée depicts the hydrangea in the morning through powdery pink opals, pink sapphires and pink tourmalines; Voie Lacteé portrays the flower in the night time using symphonies of milky sapphires, tanzanites and white chalcedony.
The final showcase of Chaumet’s new Jardins chapter soars high into the sky, immortalizing the swallow – the bird of hope, loyalty and rebirth – in a range of geometric-style pieces composed of intense onyx, emeralds and sapphires. An ode to the brand’s innovative spirit, a pair of transformable earrings – embellished with a pair of white agates that can be detached to be worn as short earrings – takes the spotlight.
This article first appeared in L’Officiel Singapore.