By Avril Groom

While all eyes were on the high jewellery being shown during Couture Week in Paris, two major houses went very much their own way and invited clients to other major European cities to unveil their latest treasures. First, Bulgari staged a major event in Venice to launch their Festa collection, celebrating parties, festivals and joyous occasions the world over. Then Cartier discreetly took over London’s grand Reform Club for ten days, entertaining clients in its hidden garden before showing them one of its largest-ever high jewellery exhibition including the astonishing new 60-piece Résonances de Cartier collection.

Amid a flourish of catwalk shows ash entertainment Bulgari showed off the imagination of designer Lucia Silvestri and her team, and the superb work of its Roman craftsmen, with themes that varied from commemorating socialites and partygoers, with rare and large examples of classic stones – emeralds, rubies or sapphires set off by myriad brilliant diamonds, to light-hearted plays on party themes, bunches of balloons or hot little Southern Italian pepperoncini (said to be aphrodisiac) in glowing, multi-coloured, semi-precious cabochons, necklaces depicting hard-stone presents tied with strings of diamonds, and pieces with little abstract circles and discs representing tambourines played in parades. Unique new jewellery watches include an all-pavé version of the complex, retrograde minute, jumping hour Berries watch and a secret watch and pendant where the timepiece lies under a highly-valuable, unique Roman coin.


Cartier’s collection is equally true to its house codes, while also acknowledging the role of extremely rare, individual stones for today’s client. Again, craftsmanship and major gems of the highest order are at its heart, fro a huge carved emerald to vast cabochon sapphires and intensely rich, pigeon’s blood Burmese rubies. Even more amazing are the designs, which reference Cartier’s history while looking totally contemporary – classic, Indian-influenced tutti frutti styles reworked in a beautifully subtle blend of autumn colours, or an Art Deco-inspired panther cuff worked around a huge, clear beryl with a lattice of diamonds nd gold in prospect beneath it, or a fish-scale cuff of diamonds and curved lapis lazuli, or an extraordinarily precise geometric bracelet of triangular diamonds and rock crystal. Two grand houses living fully up to their reputations; sales figures are healthy.

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