The Un Air de Chaumet high jewellery collection soars with its evocative expressions of birds in flight
Be patient, be watchful and, above all, be still. Wildlife photographers who have spent their lives trying to capture birds in their natural habitats will attest to nurturing these virtues. Clearly, Chaumet’s craftsmen must be also aware of the same demands when creating the Un Air de Chaumet, a sublime high jewellery capsule collection that depicts the beauty of birds with “dexterity and daring”.
The company’s fascination with bird harks back to the days of its birth—Chaumet’s founder Marie-Étienne Nitot, and his son, François-Regnault, were known to be captivated by exotic flocks. The interest has been manifested throughout Chaumet’s history, with standout creations like a transformable stomacher and tiara evoking peacock feathers from 1870, and a stunning winged bandeau paired with hummingbird aigrette created by Joseph Chaumet during the early 1900s, who helmed the company at that time.
Chaumet’s obsession with feathered wonders continues this year with the Un Air de Chaumet. Transposing a sense of musicality in the graceful manner in which birds glide through the air, as well as the textured beauty of vibrant plumes, the high jewellery collection is orchestrated like a symphony—in four movements. And just like a symphony, each Un Air de Chaumet movement presents a unique perspective on the allure of birds, their ethereal flights, and Chaumet’s own gem-setting mastery that, together, form a compelling narrative.
The Plumes d’or movement showcases Chaumet’s savoir-faire in gold-crafting. The spread of majestic feathers provides an expansive canvas for its craftsmen to coax out lifelike details in platinum, rose gold and diamond-set white gold. A stunning tiara, set with a pear-shaped and brilliant-cut diamonds, can be adorned as is, or separated and worn two brooches. The delicate sway of the plumes is just as captivating as a pair of ear cuffs, set with brilliant-cut diamonds.
Depicting a charm of flying swallows, the Ballet movement comprises a brooch, head ornament and a pair of ear cuffs. Crafted in diamond-paved white gold with a marquise-cut diamond for the heads, with tails of polished yellow gold, the birds shimmer from every angle, evoking movement with fluid silhouettes. Elsewhere, the Parade movement, which features a brooch, ear cuff and earring, too, captures the exuberance of movement. Inspired by birds of paradise with long, elaborate feathers, the jewellery flaunt an adorable diamond-paved body with dramatic tails of diamond-set white gold and hand-guilloched rose gold.
Completing the ensemble, the Envol movement (French for ‘flight’) offers a poetic interpretation of the tactility of wing movement. Featuring a brooch, head ornament and ear cuffs, the white gold pieces, set with pear-shaped and brilliant-cut diamonds convey a sense of airiness; the curvaceous plumage-like shapes, and the illusion-setting technique, which combines bezel- and claw-setting, create the impression that the diamonds are floating, enhancing the parure’s ethereal yet glamorous aesthetic. Like the rest of the movements, it is a delicate dance that would’ve been otherwise fleeting, if not for the deft—and patient—hands of Chaumet’s artisans.