Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel designed her first jewelry collection in 1932 with the same sentiment she carried when creating couture — that it should liberate, not restrain a woman.
“I want the jewelry to be like a ribbon on a woman’s fingers,” she told French newspaper l’Intransigeant. “I wanted to cover women with constellations.” The couturier did just that, ignoring the penny-pinching mindset of the Great Depression and shooting for the stars with her first line of baubles, made from diamonds and platinum. The line, Bijoux de Diamants (Diamond Jewels), was debuted in 1932 in an exhibition showcased on wax busts at Chanel’s home in Paris.
To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the only high-jewelry collection conceived by Coco herself, Chanel Fine Jewelry is releasing 1932, a line of 80 new pieces made with stones like white, black, and yellow diamonds, cultured pearls, and blue sapphires that are set in platinum or white or yellow gold — reflecting the colors and shapes of Chanel’s original jewelry designs.
The Étoile Filante (Shooting Star) necklace reimagines Chanel’s Comète (Comet), using the same sautoir design. Made from 18-karat white gold and an arrangement of five cascading chains of 600 baguette-cut diamonds, two round-cut diamonds on each end, 725 brilliant-cut diamonds, 34 fancy-cut diamonds, five briolette-cut diamonds, and 58 princess-cut diamonds, this exquisite necklace is finished with an enormous diamond star that can be positioned on the shoulder or bust, or removed and worn as a brooch.
Staying true to Chanel’s vision, the collection also carries several ribbon pieces, including a delicate ring of 18-karat white gold set in the shape of a luxurious bow containing 265 brilliant-cut white diamonds, four baguette-cut white diamonds, and 175 brilliant-cut black diamonds.
1932 also introduces a new motif that pays tribute to Chanel’s astrological sign, Leo, with a lion that is depicted in several variations. One piece, a brooch called Constellation du Lion (Constellation of the Lion), is made from 18-karat white gold set with a whopping 1,254 brilliant-cut diamonds, 29 baguette-cut diamonds, 103 fancy-cut yellow diamonds, and 43 fancy-cut orange diamonds.
And just like the original Bijoux de Diamants line, this magnificent milestone collection will be on exhibit — in a large dome outside of New York’s Museum of Modern Art this month before it’s moved on to Tokyo in November.
Click on the slideshow to see pieces from Chanel Fine Jewelry’s 1932 collection.