Aurélia Turrall, Jewellery Specialist
Autumn is upon us, and so we all prepare to bring our winter coats and hats down from the attic ready to face the colder days and chill in the air. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Who says new season, says new coats, and perhaps new jewels…
If I had £5,000 I would buy myself a beautiful Art Déco diamond double clip brooch. And that would certainly brighten up any cold day and any winter coat or hat! Why would I pick that particular piece? The answer is simple and straight forward: one can never go wrong with diamonds. Diamonds are timeless, full of fire, brilliance and sparkle. Diamonds set in Art Déco pieces are often a mix between old brilliant-cut (round) and very sharp calibré-cut. Calibré-cut is the name for those stones which have been cut to fit a precise piece of jewellery. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and can be diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, onyx… the list goes on. It is that unique combination of cuts which I find fascinating and exciting when wearing a piece of jewellery. Choosing an older piece of jewellery means embracing its history. With Art Déco, the history is in the stones, but not only. The material used to mount the stones changed from gold to platinum. Platinum became a new favourite in the roaring 20s and was used by all the great designers. So much so that Cartier launched their new platinum jewellery collection on the same day they opened their studio in Paris, rue de la Paix, because of what it represented in the world of jewellery. This new technique offered more sturdiness to the pieces and brighter metal.
But Art Déco is so much more than stones and metal. It is a symbol, synonymous of freedom and order after a world in chaos. The straight lines found in Art Déco jewellery break with the traditional ribbons and swags from the Belle époque. They can appear simple but are in fact very complex, combining circular shapes with kite or baguette-cuts for example. They are designed with an edge to give women an edge. The pieces can be angular but more importantly they have clean lines, with perfect symmetry, no room for “delicacy” found in earlier jewels. Even though on close inspection, Art Déco pieces are incredibly delicate as they try to juggle new shapes, cuts and combinations of colours. With an all diamond-set piece, one is able to add it to any coloured outfit.
A double-clip brooch from that period would combine all of the above and even more. I would pick this item for its ambivalence. It can be worn as one piece, or separately, allowing to wear one part on a silk scarf, to tie the two ends together for example, and the other perhaps on one’s coat, hat or a suit.
Chic and timeless, an Art Déco piece worn in a man’s world makes a strong statement of equality and fearlessness, fitting any suit or garment with its contemporary look filled with history.