This week during Paris Haute Couture Week, jewellery houses will unveil exquisite high jewellery creations featuring ultra-rare gemstones and pieces that take dozens – if not hundreds – of hours to create.
Traditionally, the term 'high jewellery' meant that each piece was unique, never to be recreated again, and featured exceptional stones in timeless designs.
But the genre, where prices can start in the hundreds of thousands, has witnessed some exciting innovation and changes in recent years; now, some high jewellery pieces are meant to be worn every day, not just on formal occasions.
Materials as varied as titanium, copper, and iron have been incorporated, and some jewellers now make multiple pieces of the same design.
And under Creative Director Claire Choisne, no one pushes the boundaries quite like 'Boucheron'.
In her July collections, which the house calls 'Carte Blanche', Choisne's creativity runs wild as she strays from the standard emeralds, rubies, sapphires, and round diamonds.
Her modern pieces feature unexpected materials – such as sand, marble, and Space Age aerogel – and innovative designs that embrace new setting techniques, sharp shapes, and collaborations with industrial engineers.
Boucheron's newest collection, 'Holographique', features nine jewellery suites that explore the spectrum of light through flashing opals, coloured gemstones, and holographic ceramic and rock crystal.
Choisne turned to holographic materials because she wanted to capture a rainbow within the jewellery.
But instead of showing the full spectrum of colours by using different stones, she wanted to "have all the colours on all the pieces, and maybe bring some joy," she said. "I wanted a collection that would be positive, full of wonder."
Boucheron took holographic technology used on landing strip markings on tarmac and applied it to ceramic and rock crystal, creating pieces that are not one colour, but every colour at once.
The holographic theme is woven in different ways through the collection (for which prices have yet to be released). The pieces in the 'Chromatique' suite are ultramodern interpretations of classic floral jewellery.
First, Boucheron scanned actual peony and pansy petals, then artisans recreated them in ceramic. To achieve the shimmering colours, they sprayed the ceramic with melted metals.
The petals are centred around brilliant gemstones in complementing colours.