An Iconic Era Reawakens in a Dazzling New Collection

An Iconic Era Reawakens in a Dazzling New Collection

Extremely Piaget Collection Debuts at the 27th Biennale Des Antiquaires in Paris

Inspired by some of the most beautiful and breathtaking designs in its archives, Piaget, the world-renowned jewellery and watchmaking master, has created its Extremely Piaget collection especially for the 27th Paris Antique Dealers Biennale. Held at the Grand Palais from September 11 to 21, 2014, the Biennale showcases some of the rarest and most important works of art and Haute Joaillerie. The Extremely Piaget collection is both, featuring bold designs that play on asymmetry, stylization, and fluidity combined with an exquisite use of colour, gold and precious stones. 

During the 1960s and ‘70s, as the jet set came of age and international destinations became the playground of movie stars and celebrities, Piaget dazzled the contemporary art world with its strikingly innovative, wonderfully carefree designs. Building on its expertise in combining multiple workmanship techniques with bold creativity and imagination, the House transformed precious materials into gorgeous works of art in jewellery and watches. Today, the Extremely Piaget collection introduces fresh styles that honor this traditional craftsmanship, using extraordinary materials to capture the beauty and vitality of one of the most prolific and exciting design eras at Piaget.

A Magical Setting for Design Masterpieces

Starting in the 1950’s, the Paris Antique Dealers Biennale has showcased masterpieces from top art and antique dealers. Every two years, exhibitors, celebrities, merchants, painters and major players in the art world gather under the glass dome of Paris’ storied Grand Palais.

This year, the exhibition draws its inspiration from the 17th century Garden of Versailles, with the hall of the Grand Palais a magical garden alive with fountains, lawns, even a forest. Entering through the arcade, reimagined as a tunnel, guests are invited to step back in time.

White gold necklace with blue sapphire beading and an emerald from the Extremely Piaget collection

The Birth of a Classic

During the 1960s and ‘70s, Piaget captivated Europe with its highly creative, bold use of colours and new shapes in jewellery. Evoking passionate, imaginative and exotic ideas, Piaget combined many of these bold designs with century-old tradition and techniques to create styles celebrating the best of two glamorous ages. And in a testament to the foresight of these designs, certain innovations deemed highly daring for the time have today become classics of the House. This year, marking the 27th Antique Dealers Biennial, Piaget honors its history of creative leadership by introducing the Extremely Piaget collection. Two themes have been christened, “Extremely Colourful” and “Extremely Sparkling,” opening a new chapter in the history of High Jewellery at Piaget.

Extremely Colourful – Dreams in Colour, Woven in Gold

Out of this legendary period, colour – especially when combined with gold – evolved as a design touchstone at Piaget.

Pushing the boundaries of jewellery craftsmanship and watchmaking, Piaget introduced new colours and styles and, more importantly, perfected the ultra-thin movement, which enabled the use of hard stone dials on watches without compromising the slimness of the cases. Now, the turquoise, opal, heart of ruby, jade, onyx, and lapis lazuli of its High Jewellery creations also graced the dials of exquisite Piaget watches. And gold, a House signature, lent a distinctive shimmer to the precious and hard stones across Piaget collections.

A manchette watch from the Extremely Piaget collection features gold hammering and a natural jade dial

Using techniques similar to those used in Haute Couture, Piaget forges gold into shimmering chain mail or iridescent mesh, showcasing its unique goldsmithing know-how. Several manchette watches presented in this collection feature hammered gold techniques that give the metal a very powerful presence.Certain High Jewellery models were created using a base of gold worked according to the chain mail technique, which gives the metal the look of a precious, sparkling fabric.“Piaget time…. measured only in gold!” This advertising slogan from the late 1970s is as current today as ever. 

With golden thread and colourful stones, this luxuriant necklace embodies the glamour of the gold age. As in the case of bracelets with a ‘palace’ décor, the outside part of the bracelet look like an iridescent ribbon which some compare to wild silk. The inside of the bracelet on the other hand reveals hundreds of links interwoven with each other with a degree of precision that give this “fabric” such a supple feel. Emblematic of Piaget’s work, this mesh is not merely used for the bracelets on certain watches, but also for rose gold necklaces and bracelets with turquoise beads and marquise-cut diamonds.

Pink gold necklace with turquoise beads and marquise-cut diamonds from the Extremely Piaget collection

With traditions of craftmanship that have been passed down from generation to generation, Piaget outsines its peers with delicate designs and characteristic style. Showing mastery of goldsmithing, Piaget incorporates decorative chains, golden braiding and webbing into its pieces, adding unique charm to the House’s jewellery and watchmaking.

Extremely Sparkling - A Profusion of Diamonds, Capturing the Light at Every Turn

Colour and gold are only part of the Piaget legacy, for their artisans are equally skilled in working with diamonds. These dazzling gems are featured extensively in the Extremely Piaget collection, as center stones in the bracelets, necklaces, rings and earrings. Diamonds also appear in settings, including double rows of brilliant, marquise or baguette cuts on watches.

The collection features a profusion of marquise-cut diamonds, a cut that lends a very particular sparkle. In fact, one of the stars of the collection is a piece set with more than 1,500 marquise-cut diamonds. Radiating from the centre, the fiery sparkle of the stone shines toward the two ends of the navette. This quality allows the juxtaposition of stones without making the jewel heavy, and makes it possible to surround boldly coloured stones with exceptional sparkle, such as this sapphire set in the center of a pendant. Extremely Sparkling, indeed.

White gold ring with marquise-cut diamonds from the Extremely Piaget collection

Piaget’s exceptional setting and cutting techniques have earned the House fame as a master of High Jewellery in the past 140 years. Two exceptional setting techniques, ‘col Claudine’  and petticoat setting, are worth special attention from visitors to the Biennal. With col Claudine, hundreds of marquise, brilliant, pear or princess-cut stones surround a central, two-carat brilliant-cut gem. Each chaton (stone setting) is designed especially for the stone that surrounds it, and each is connected to the next by an impossibly delicate link. The petticoat setting, first perfected by Piaget in the 1960’s, is particularly used with baguette-cut diamonds that are held by prongs and arranged in one or two rows, in order to create the appearance of fluid fabric.

White gold High Jewellery necklace set with diamond with watch pendant from the Extremely Piaget collection

Celebrity Illustrates Perfection in Life

In the freethinking decades of the 1960s and ‘70s, Piaget brought a level of innovation, imagination and beauty to its collections that attracted the unwavering support of numerous celebrities. The style of these iconic figures continues to inspire Piaget today and influence the popular perception of glamour, which is beautifully apparent in the House’s global ambassador, actress Gong Li, who wears pieces from the Extremely Piaget collection.

Piaget’s global ambassador GONG Li dazzles in Extremely Piaget Jewellery © FENG Hai

Acclaimed for her roles in Raise the Red Lantern and Farewell My Concubine, Gong Li is not only the first Chinese celebrity featured on the cover of TIME magazine, but also the only Chinese actress to have won individual awards in the world’s three major International Film Festivals. “The Biennale not only sets the highest standards in the industry, but also opens a door to a new world of fantasy for every woman,” Gong Li said. “The new Extremely Piaget collection has brought me back to the golden age of the 1960s and 1970s. Masterpieces like the manchette and necklace watches, which charmed the world by breaking the boundaries between jewellery and watchmaking, continue to dazzle today. To me, this embodies Piaget’s creative and pioneering style.”

Through her accomplishments as an actress, Gong Li embodies the Piaget commitment to excellence. Her latest film, Coming Home, marks her highly anticipated return to the screen and a new milestone in her dazzling career.

“The Extremely Piaget collection also represents a return. In this case, a return to classic and traditional forms of craftsmanship paying tribute to the century-old art of jewellery and watchmaking,” Gong Li said. With Coming Home, I, too, looked back at the essence of filmmaking. I believe that the final test of a film is the response of the audience, and so I am thrilled that the film has received round praise. I think both Piaget and I share something in common: respect and love for the essence of art,” she said.

Piaget’s global ambassador GONG Li dazzles in Extremely Piaget Jewellery © FENG Hai

The 125 items on exhibit this year mark the continuity of Piaget’s influence in the world of High Jewellery. For the past 140 years, Piaget has followed its motto, “Always do better than necessary.” And its persistent exploration of new designs and colours, along with an intensive study of craftsmanship, have led to the Extremely Piaget collection. At the Biennale, this new collection presents to the world refreshingly modern versions of a century-long tradition of glamour, all under the timelessly elegant dome of the Grand Palais.