Transcending precision and perfection, we soar with the Piaget Bird on its flight of imagination and inventiveness through the tropics, to reach a tranquil oasis of wonder and harmony, where, as the setting sun glows as embers towards dusk, we emerge to celebrate excellence in an explosion and crescendo of exotic brilliance.
Chapter 1 – Enchanted flight
Majestic Plumage Set
The bird wing has long been cherished as a design motif in jewellery through the ages, but here the plumage is realised both with especially high levels of craftsmanship and chromatic creativity. Recreating rich tropical colours, the feather marquetry – by Maître d’Art Nelly Saunier – and the gemsetting work perfectly emulate the plumage of an exotic bird by utilizing, in addition to feathers, a rainbow of differently coloured sapphires and spinel. At the centre of the Majestic Plumage necklace is a rare and special 7.49 carats tourmaline known as Paraiba (after the State in Brazil where it was first discovered in the 1980s as an entirely new gem). The colours can range from startling turquoise to majestic blue-green, but it is the incandescent glow that appears to light up the stone from within that makes Paraiba tourmalines incomparable to any other gem. They are quite simply some of the most sought after gems in the world, and this one from Mozambique is especially unusual to find in such a size and shape. It shines from the centre and lights up the entire creation.
Form and function are seamlessly combined here in an innovative system developed by Piaget and used for this jewel: the necklace can be worn with or without the feather marquetry element, which can be removed and worn as an ear cuff, or be further divided into two parts to be worn on both ears. Colour also resonates in the earrings of the same set, this time showcasing the beauty of red spinel, less well known than the ruby but every bit as precious,
and so similar to ruby that it was simply known as ‘balas ruby’ right up until modern times when the science of gemmology developed and discerned the difference. These 2.70 carats gems from Tanzania are always talking points and are unusual to see as matching pear-shapes and with a pink blush adding to their rarity and value. With mesmerizing colours of multicoloured sapphires echoed throughout this set, these earrings are expertly articulated to bring comfort and movement, taking over 140 hours in the Piaget atelier to complete.
This combination of the highest quality of both stones and skill repeats in the cocktail ring, a statement piece showcasing remarkable gems which took eight months to source and match. A vibrant, indigo bluecoloured tourmaline, so different from the darker blue-green of more common tourmaline, is teamed with the perfect ‘hot pink’ shade of red in the pear-shaped spinel.
Chapter 2 – Magnificent Haven
Secret Cenote Set
As our journey continues across glistening lands we reach a magnificent oasis and come to rest in an enchanted clearing. Beyond cascading rivers of blue, fierce
waters become quiet pools. At the heart of this jungle is a haven where clean lines and smooth shapes mirror the balance of nature as earth, stone and water unify in perfect harmony. This natural pool, poetically called ‘cenote’ (translated from the Spanish as ‘holy well’) is a place of rest and refuge, where the colour of the water reflects and sooths us into a gentle state of calm. At the centre of the necklace from the Secret Cenote Set, a ‘Ceylon’ sapphire that echoes the crystal clear water of the cenote itself. It is easy to lose oneself in 22.68 carats of blue bliss: this gem has a unique soul, an ability to transport us to faraway dreams. Coming from the acclaimed Ratnapura region of Sri Lanka, the best known locality for the largest, best coloured sapphire in the world, we can understand why Sri Lanka means Resplendent Island in Sinhalese: a land glittering with gems unrivalled in the world. This stone with its cornflower shade of blue has an added quality of softness to it, almost like velvet. We could almost lose ourselves in the depth of its water, and this gentleness and smoothness is continued with the immaculate articulation of the piece, which seems to flow, almost like water itself. Such suppleness belies the extent of expert craftsmanship required to produce this effect however – 230 hours at the bench.
The fairy-tale beauty of the cenote repeats in the ring, perfectly designed with a personal pool of beauty at its centre. This gem of 11.34 carats with its intense blue hue and strong saturation is a crystal of great purity, and an entire year was needed to find the sapphires for the Secret Cenote set, all with matching tone and colour. This sapphire is from Madagascar, which was once geologically part of the same landmass as Sri Lanka, explaining the geography of similar, harmonious colour. As we look out from the gem, the surrounding marquise-shaped diamonds were specially cut to reflect the leafy vines that grow and climb around the pool of water, surrounding it and keeping its secrets.
And to complete our experience of sapphires and diamonds, a tranquil delight of two colours, a pair of earrings with matching stones, so perfect that their combined effect leads us to wonder if they were once the very same stone, back in the eons of time during their formation, such is the similarity of their hue, tone and saturation. This is a special set of ‘otherworldly’ gems, so clean that they do not have inclusions enough to use as proof of their origin and birthplace as inclusions acts like identity card for stones. For us, instead, they tell a story every bit as captivating.
To finish the Cenote set, a watch that echoes the blues and greens of tropical vegetation, the lush colours of nature, but this time with majestic black opal as its dial and in its surrounding details. The finest black opal in the world, from Australia, has been treasured as an ornamental stone by Piaget for more than half a century, since they appeared in the iconic watch designs of the 1960s. Asymmetry was a huge part of the aesthetic look at that time, but here it is handled with more uniformity: this is the randomness of nature, but nature that is guided by the hands of a master jeweller: every part of the gem-set channels of baguette-cut sapphires and baguette- and brilliant-cut diamonds surrounding the face is positioned in the pattern with precision and flair, while remaining true to the trademark Piaget style.
Chapter 3 – Ecstatic Dance
Rainbow Light Set
Rested and revived, it is time to celebrate the wonders of this world, as the sun sinks into a golden glow, the colours of its setting bathing all in a rosy richness of golds and pinks. Across the painted landscape, rainbow colours begin to illuminate the night, washing everything they touch with a magical richness.
This is nature at its most majestic, and the sunset lights are created in the jewels with unique combinations of materials. Rubellites and pink tourmalines glow like hot coals, while rose gold, chosen to reflect the warmth of the tones of the sunset, is treated with the delicacy of ‘Palace Décor’, a hand-made golden engraving finish using age-old techniques and special instruments to produce a soft effect etched on the surface of the gleaming metal. But it is the ground-breaking partnership of leather, wood, and mother-of-pearl marquetry that paints a different picture to any that have gone before it. This is a land inhabited by trees of Hornbeam, Maple, Tulip Tree and Sycamore, leather and parchment, even secale straw. In a unique process developed by Rose Saneuil, each tiny piece of wood or calfskin is carefully cut to perfectly fit the outline and shape before being meticulously positioned within the whole, taking its specific place to create an effect of rays of light. Breathtaking as it is groundbreaking, this marquetry method is a new signature of the house. The mother-of-pearl is also treated uniquely, being cut to different lengths and crafted on a curved stand to ensure comfort when wearing: it is resistant to water and UV rays thanks to a thin layer of varnish developed and tested in tropical climate conditions.
The whole set comes together in three remarkable jewels. The manchette (or cuff-bracelet) required 250 hours of work using these new techniques to perfect. The central rubellite of 22.68 carats becomes the setting sun, its golden rays of marquetry flaring out beyond it as sunset scintillations. This is a jewel that has pushed the limits of creativity, with a level of detail unsurpassed today: even the bezel is set with marquetry and every detail has been conceived and executed with perfection. The watch in this set is an equally exquisite creation, the embodiment of Piaget expertise, combining a long history of watchmaking and jewellery connoisseurship. The beautiful technique of marquetry in wood, stones, straw, leather and parchment are repeated here, and is combined with a Piaget signature, the off-centre hours-minutes counter and the tourbillon carriage. And as a crowning glory, the earrings in the Ecstatic Dance set echo the perfectionism of its matching pieces, itself rendered in this wholly new and innovative combination of design and manufacture.
Together, these jewels take us on an enchanted flight into the world that is Piaget: a world of imagination, colour, and wonder; a place where constraints and boundaries are left far behind, and where flamboyance and inventiveness are freed to take their place. Take this flight of fancy with us; answer this call of nature and journey with us on the Wings of Light to a glittering world of excellence and a signature style that transcends time.
This world is Piaget: the place where nature’s perfection is brought to life.