Beauty is timeless. Beauty in jewellery is timeless, too. With the new ‘The Icons of 1932’, Chanel reaches a sense of eternity.
This Fine Jewellery collection revives iconic motives that animated the first and unique high jewellery collection designed in 1932 by Gabrielle Chanel herself, the ‘Bijoux de Diamants’.
The high jewellery collection ‘Bijoux de Diamants‘ was the first and only high jewellery collection designed by Gabrielle Chanel herself.
A film by Pathé, shot in November 1932, gives the mood (film in French, English subtitles available):
The film illustrates the innovative allure of this collection. The innovation started with the way the jewels were exhibited: not in her boutique, but in her private apartment at 29, Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Paris. Not on the traditional jewellery cases and on black velvet cushions, but on appropriately styled wax mannequins.
The diamond was the 1932 high jewellery collection’s main protagonist.
If I have chosen the diamond, it is because it represents, in its density, the greatest value in the smallest volume.Gabrielle Chanel
The jewels’ frames became fluid, to adorn the body as smoothly as possible. They embrace and dress up the body in the same way as Chanel’s couture creations.
I want jewels that slip between the fingers of a woman like a ribbon.Gabrielle Chanel
The jewels became symbols of freedom, and they spoke (and speak) to us of Mademoiselle’s life. Each design brought back something from her childhood.
They recreate in diamonds stars, crescent moons, suns and crosses of Malta which were laid out in the paving stones of the Abbey of Aubazine upon which the young girl thread every day on her way to mass.
A collection, its soul and its symbols
In 1932, Gabrielle Chanel, already famous for both her creative flair and for her costume jewellery featuring pearls and colourful gems, turns her attention to the king of stones: the diamond.
In 1932 Europe was still in great pain following the 1929 crisis, and in that same year, the Union of Diamond Merchants ask Mademoiselle Chanel to give their diamonds the visibility they deserve. She then borrows the diamonds, and the ‘Bijoux de Diamants’ collection comes to life.
Gabrielle Chanel simplifies jewellery settings and she designs brand new ornaments that follow lines that seemed to have been traced in the sky.
Comets sparkle across shoulders, the décolletage is studded with stars: “I want to shower women in constellations”, she says.
Symbolically, she selects five themes for her ‘Bijoux de Diamants’ collection – 5, her lucky number, expressed in the magic of stars, the rise of the sun, the fluidity of the ribbon, the nonchalance of the fringe and the lightness of feathers.
The exhibition is a huge success but upsets the male jewellers of the Place Vendôme, who consider Gabrielle Chanel a simple couturière. They then demand to disassemble the jewels soon after, but as Mademoiselle said: “Are not the most beautiful things made to circulate?”
It is a fact that, although the diamonds quickly returned to the Union, this high jewellery collection proved revolutionary in so many ways as to remain a strong source of inspiration today.
Finally, the 1932 collection will be Gabrielle Chanel’s first and only high jewellery collection. With it, she established a timeless code: creativity over ostentation, lightness over exaggeration.Chanel
The Icons of 1932
‘The Icons of 1932’ Fine Jewellery collection reinterprets themes that are key to Mademoiselle’s style: stars and comets, the sun, the ribbon and the feather. It also adds another element of the universe of Mademoiselle: the lion.
The jewels of this collection recall the freedom and liberty of the ‘Bijoux de Diamants’ creations. They are transformable and allow the wearer to express her mood, style and personality at her own will.
The ‘Comète Necklace’ allows the comet pendant to be removed and to be worn as a brooch:
The ‘Soleil de Chanel’ is a fascinating transformable ring. The two parts of the jewel can be either worn together on one finger or as two separate rings on two fingers:
The jewels of the collection ‘The Icons of 1932’ are, once again, an unspoken homage to “one for whom beauty was not an obligation or a convention, but simply a way of being, an allure“.
Chanel’s fine jewellery collection ‘The Icons of 1932’ is available in boutique.