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Lifestyle

Chanel Revisits the Galaxy of 1932 for a New Celestial High Jewelry Collection

By Erica Silverman

July 8, 2022

In 1932, Gabrielle Chanel debuted “Bijoux de Diamants,” the world's first high jewelry collection. The Great Depression provided an ideal time to break new ground, and to make room for the possibility of dreams and new beauty. "Nothing could be better for forgetting the crisis than feasting one's eyes on beautiful new things, which the skills of our craftsmen and women never cease to unveil,” Chanel once said of the times.

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In it, celestial designs were seen in collections of necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings, and more. It was from her childhood at Aubazine Orphanage that Chanel was said to have gained her dedication to precision and purity, and the Cistercian abbey—home in the ethereal light of the Corrèze sky—was a source of eternal energy. There, a map of the heavens dotted with comets, the sun, and the moon was engraved in the coat of arms on the centuries-old stone pavement. These heavenly bodies continued to provide inspiration for Chanel, which she sprinkled onto women's lives until the end of her own.

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Today, Chanel revisits that era to present a high jewelry collection entitled “1932,” imbued with the same inspiration and same spirit from 90 years ago. "I wanted to return to the essence of 1932 and to harmonize the message around three symbols: the comet, the moon, and the sun. Each heavenly body shines with its own light," said Patrice Leguéreau, Director of the Chanel Fine Jewelry Creation Studio.

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The collection paints a new map of the heavens. With the comet, an icon of Chanel jewelry, twisting spirals and shooting stars circle in an endless pursuit of the celestial bodies. The moon also emerges—an original crescent now rises to become full, bathing in a shimmering halo. Then, there is the undisputable power of the sun, surrounded by the graphic clarity of its rays.

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In “1932,” an idea of “living jewelry” also took shape, acting upon an osmotic relationship with the changing rhythms of the body's movements. Within the 77 creations, 13 are transformable, wrapping around or resting freely against the skin. Star-studded coils can be twisted around the wrist to create dynamic constellations.

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Sapphires are blue as the night, diamonds are seen in lustrous blues and yellows, and opals are as profound as a galaxy. If the original collection was monumental and pristine, a distillation of light, the "1932" collection gives pride and place to colorful gemstones.

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The Allure Céleste necklace, a signature piece, is a journey unlike any other; among the round-cut diamonds, an oval sapphire with a weight of 55.55 carats and a Type IIa DFL 8.05 carat pear-shaped diamond make a blazing impression. The halos on this transformable creation detach to become brooches, while the central row of diamonds become a bracelet, shifting the necklace into a shortened version. The Comète Volute plastron and bracelet are symbolic pieces, featuring two white and yellow oval-shaped diamonds, each with a symbolic weight of 19.32 carats.

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In the collection, 18 pieces pay homage to the moon—the only heavenly body that doesn’t emit light but reflects it. In white gold and diamonds, the halos of the "Lune Silhouette" set bathe the skin in a light that appears hallucinatory. The ring endows the hand with a 3.02-carat round-cut diamond. The hoop earrings are also set with round-cut diamonds, giving off an aura. 

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24 pieces reproduce the sun’s radiance. The interlocking elements of the Soleil Byzance are flexible. Two rays run along the length of the fingers, one set with a 2.96-carat pear-shaped yellow diamond, the other, in yellow gold, platinum and yellow diamonds, featuring a 3.68-carat pear-shaped ruby of a vivid, intense red. On the ears, two cushion-cut yellow diamonds scatter a shower of white diamonds in their course.

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