Flights Of Fancy: Piaget’s New Wings Of Light High Jewelry Collection
Two new breathtaking timepieces are the horological high notes of Piaget's new tropical-inspired Wings of Light high jewelry collection.
A lot of high jewelry houses make fine watches, but few watchmakers have mastered the art of gem-setting quite like Piaget. In 1964, Piaget presented their first watches with dials made of semi-precious stones such as lapis-lazuli, turquoise, malachite and tiger's eye. Since then, the Piaget’s skill with lapidary techniques has become part of their signature.
With such a rich history, you can’t blame Piaget for wanting to show off a little. This year, the house is celebrating its history of high jewelry with the enchantingly beautiful Wings of Light collection, which consists of three sparkling jewelry sets inspired by the majesty and colorful plumage of tropical birds. And while these groups include everything from rings to opulent necklaces, two timepieces will make your heart soar!
The first set is called Enchanted Flight and is based on the timeless image of a bird’s wing. While this jewelry set within the Wings of Light collection doesn’t contain a timepiece, it does highlight the Piaget’s exquisite levels of craftsmanship and creativity.
The centerpiece of the Majestic Plumage set is a necklace that features a technique called marquetry – a craft found in many haute horology watches. The Piaget Maître d’Art, Nelly Saunier, uses this gem-setting method to replicate the strong yet delicate nature of feathers. Diamonds and a rainbow of \ colored sapphires and spinels form the bird’s body. And a rare, 7.49 carat Paraiba tourmaline (named after the Brazilian state where it was first discovered in the 1980s) serves as the bird’s head.
The necklace is paired with matching earrings and a ring, each dazzling with gemstones that shift colors as the light hits them. We’d normally say that the only thing missing is a watch, but the next two jewelry sets more than make up for the watch-shaped hole in the Majestic Plumage set.
Gemstones are not just cherished as beautiful objects or expensive commodities. Human beings have claimed a metaphysical connection to them since before the beginning of recorded history.
Deep blue Ceylon sapphires form the heart of the Cenote collection. This jewelry set gets its name from the Spanish word for “holy well,” and everything from the perfectly matched blues of the sapphires to the expertly cut shapes of the stones is meant to evoke the balance and beauty of nature.
A large part of the art of working with precious stones is the actual selection process. The sapphires in the Cenote set come from Madagascar and the Ratnapura region of Sri Lanka, best known for having for the largest, best-colored sapphires in the world.
The grandest expression of the Cenote set is a cuff watch done in the manchette-style that is another of Piaget’s specialties and captures the energy of the lush blue tropical seas and the vibrant green of tropical vegetation.
The central stone of this asymmetrical timepiece is a black Australian opal. If you saw the movie Uncut Gems, you’ll know that because of the way light dances within the stone, some believe that the black opal is considered to be extremely lucky and connects one’s highest spiritual aspirations with one’s physical body.
Opals, more generally, have another unusual gemstone trait in that they are soft. On the Mohs scale, opals only rates between 5.5 to 6.5 out of 10, which is softer than quartz (a 7 on the Mohs scale). Due to this softness, opal is extremely difficult to work with. But Piaget has been using this ornamental stone for watch dials since the 1960s, and its artisans are very confident in working with it. Which means they are also open to playing with it. The opal is surrounded by beautiful baguette sapphires and diamonds for an even more dazzling display of the watch and jewelry maker’s brilliance.
The final set in the Wings of Light collection is called Rainbow Light, and it revolves around the red hot glow of golds, pink tourmalines, and rubellite. The set includes bold earrings and a big cuff bracelet, but we’re here to talk watches, and the timepiece in this grouping does not disappoint.
This amazing creation represents the culmination of all of Piaget’s expertise. The marquetry of the dial uses wood, stones, straw, leather, and parchment to evoke both feathers and flames, like a Phoenix emerging from the fire.
This tourbillon also embraces the pinnacle of Piaget’s watchmaking savoir-faire. And although it dazzles with diamonds, the dial seamlessly incorporates Piaget’s signature off-center hours-minutes counter and tourbillon carriage.
These jewels and timepieces are rare birds indeed, and as a result, pricing is available only upon request. But like a wild, exotic bird, you don’t always need to possess these beauties to benefit from their existence. We’re just glad that they exist.
(Images provided by Piaget)