CHANEL and the Diamond
"If I have chosen the diamond,
it is because it represents, in its density
"the greatest value
in the smallest volume."
long known for her costume jewellery
featuring pearls of the Orient and colourful gems,
turns her attention
to the most precious of stones, the diamond.
Still reeling from the 1929 economic crisis
the diamond merchants single out Mademoiselle Chanel
over the grand jewellers of the place Vendôme
to give diamond its true brilliance.
So begins the most ephemeral,
the most legendary of collections.
simplifies jewellery settings
rendering the previous styles
out of date.
No longer is the stone itself supreme,
but as in couture,
the lines and patterns as well.
She daringly sets her diamonds
as she once remounted
the jewels given to her by the Duke of Westminster
to create new works of art.
She makes fluidity a principle
and freedom a virtue,
sending comets sparkling across shoulders
and showering the décolletage with stars.
"I want," she said, "jewels that slip
between the fingers of a woman like a ribbon."
Gabrielle Chanel plucks
the stars out of the Parisian sky.
"I wanted to shower women
"The stars! Stars of all sizes
to sparkle in their hair."
She selects five themes
for the "Bijoux de Diamants" Collection.
Five, her lucky number,
the key to her style
expressed in the magic of stars,
the rays of the sun,
the sensuality of ribbon,
the style of the fringe
and the lightness of feathers.
the darkest period of her childhood
by recreating in diamonds,
stars, crescent moons, suns and Maltese crosses.
which were laid out in the paving stones
of the Abbey of Aubazine,
upon which the young orphan
trod every day on her way to mass.
Gabrielle Chanel does not exhibit
her jewellery in her boutique on the rue Cambon,
but in her own home,
at 29, Faubourg Saint Honoré.
Refusing display cases
and black velvet cushions,
she prefers to show her jewels
on simple wax mannequins,
their hair styled
and faces touched with makeup.
The male dominated world
of the place Vendôme
demands that the jewels
be disassembled after the Exhibition.
But, as Mademoiselle said,
"are not the most beautiful things made to circulate?"
The 1932 Collection will be
Gabrielle Chanel's first and only High Jewellery collection.
But with it she establishes
a timeless code:
creativity over ostentation,
lightness over exaggeration.
The innovations of the first couturier
to venture into the place Vendôme
spread like wildfire,
waking the world of fine jewellery from its slumber.
Today, the collections
are enriched by those of yesterday,
reinterpreting stars, fringes, and ribbons
and invoking other elements
of the universe of Mademoiselle:
the camellia, the lion and the pearl.
Today, a diamond necklace
worn over a simple t-shirt
Is the epitome of elegance.
An unspoken homage to one for whom beauty
was not an obligation or a convention
but simply a way of being.
These are the women
who choose Chanel diamonds.
Today, their jewels are no longer
trophies given by admirers, but symbols of liberty.
A cluster of diamonds on the jacket,
on the skin or in their hair,
adorning them with their brilliance,
their strength and their fire.
CHANEL and the Diamond