For its latest high jewellery collection, Colors of Nature, Tiffany & Co. worked with a broader palette of gemstone hues than is customary for its one-of-a-kind jewels.
Delineated into four themes – land, sea, earth and sky – the 130-piece collection, with prices ranging from about $50,000 to more than $5 million, reflects Reed Krakoff’s interest in unexpected materials. “Most of the time,” Tiffany’s chief artistic officer said, “when you think of coloured jewellery, you think of rubies, emeralds, sapphires, which, of course, are incredibly precious and valuable and well accepted. But at the same time, there’s an enormous range of tones and shade and subtleties that bring a painterly aspect to making jewellery.”
He applied that expanded palette – a rainbow spectrum of garnets, tourmalines and sapphires, among other stones – to pieces with what he called “industrial” elements, like a yellow gold staple clasp to secure the two strands of a long diamond and rubellite necklace or a hinge to allow a butterfly brooch to adjust into four positions. They all function, Mr. Krakoff said, as a “counterpoint to typical motifs you find in high jewellery: flora and fauna, very decorative lacy detailing, things that are more decorative than designed.”
Victoria Wirth Reynolds, the house’s chief gemologist and vice president of high jewellery, had the ultimate responsibility for sourcing for the gems. She said that diversifying the array of stones was a compelling project for her and her team. “It’s very exciting those of us who are gemologists to be able to lift up those more unusual stones because the world of colour is far more rich,” she said.
Among the finds was a suite of pastel pink, purple and blue spinels with a total weight of more than 81 carats. They were paired with a length of diamonds and purple sapphires arranged in a stylized tail-feather motif to form an asymmetrical necklace with a plunging Y-shape silhouette. “Spinels are [a] connoisseur’s gemstones. It’s simply extraordinary to get that many spinels in that colour range,” explains Reynolds.
The combinations of gems also were a departure for the brand, Reynolds said, referring to a multicoloured choker featuring tourmalines, aquamarines, tanzanites, rubellites and morganite. “We weren’t bound by the tradition of sticking with one species,” she said. “There were seven different varieties of gemstones in that necklace.”
And, to a degree, the exceptional stones dictated the direction of the collection. When Reynolds unexpectedly acquired a rare cuprian elbaite tourmaline measuring more than 11 carats, it prompted Krakoff to change “the trajectory of a whole segment of the collection — the sea segment — in terms of colouration, in terms of form, in terms of shape.” The stone ultimately found a home in a ring that encircled its irregular shape in trillion-cut diamonds.
It is one of eight jewels in the Colors of Nature collection that have custom-designed boxes, fashioned from gold, silver or a combination of the two or rock crystal by the Tiffany holloware workshop, a department that dates to 1851. Each piece influenced the shape of its box: for example, an orange sapphire ring featuring a bee motif rests in one resembling a honeycomb. One starfish-shaped box was engraved by an artisan who has practised the craft for 30 years. Along with the gems, Krakoff considered the work to be a highlight of the collection.
“It’s quite emotional when the team sits in a room and receives something from the workshop,” he said. “It’s really a privilege to bring that expertise and that tradition to the forefront, but in service of modern design, not as a reaching back.”
Source: New York Times