Cannes: De Grisogono Pays Tribute to Technicolor With Jewelry Collection

de Grisogono_Cannes_Jewelry - Publicity - H 2019
Courtesy of de Grisogono

The 70-piece collection "celebrates the art of moviemaking via the art of high jewelry; both share a common thread not just of color, but about layering those colors and playing with light," says the brand's CEO, Celine Assimon.

Fashion and film have been intertwined since the earliest days of Hollywood’s golden era, from the bias-cut gowns Adrian designed for Jean Harlow in 1933’s Dinner at Eight (a silhouette still in demand on red carpets) to present-day designers who unabashedly look to their love of the movies to create collections (Michael Kors designing clothes based on the preppy-chic style of Love Story or Christian Louboutin’s passion for Alfred Hitchcock are two examples). It only seems natural, then, that a jewelry house likewise would employ elements of cinema in a collection, especially when it focuses on the process that helped introduce color to the silver screen.

On Wednesday morning during the Cannes Film Festival, jewelry house de Grisogono debuted its latest high-jewelry collection. Dubbed Technicolor, the designs honor the color-processing system that dates back to 1914. “It just seemed natural to celebrate the art of moviemaking via the art of high jewelry,” explains Celine Assimon, CEO of de Grisogono. “Both share a common thread not just of color, but about layering those colors and playing with light. It seemed like a very natural marriage that also pays tribute to our love of film.”

De Grisogono has been coming to Cannes for 17 years — Zoe Saldana, Sharon Stone and Hailey Baldwin are among the actresses who have worn the brand at the festival — and once again has installed itself at the Hotel Martinez, the site of the 70-piece collection’s official debut. Assimon and her team researched the history of Technicolor when conceptualizing the pieces, discovering that the earliest processes involved exposing black-and-white negative film behind red and green filters.

That’s the reason for such pieces as a high-jewelry ring that showcases an 11.60-carat cushion-cut Colombian emerald, surrounded by 532 black diamonds and set in 18-karat white gold, or the one-of-a-kind necklace crafted of 1,156 brilliant-cut rubies, 1,255 brilliant-cut diamonds, 41 baguette-cut diamonds and one pear-cut diamond for a total of 83.83 carats set in 18-karat white gold. “On the side with the rubies, we did black rhodium plating on the gold to create a contrast between the rubies and the pure white of the diamonds,” Assimon adds.

It’s an atypically large high-jewelry collection for de Grisogono, though the number is even more impressive when Assimon reveals that the atelier has been working on the collection only since late last year (high jewelry often can take up to two years from concept to completion). “It was crazy, but we had no time to wait,” says Assimon, who joined de Grisogono in December after high-profile positions at Louis Vuitton and Piaget. “I’m so proud of what the atelier has been able to create since we first started these discussions. ‘Miraculous’ is the word I keep using.”

Other pieces in the collection range from a one-of-a-kind pair of earrings featuring the brilliant lilac tones of more than 83 carats of amethysts, mixed with 3.51 carats of rubies, all set in rhodium-plated 18-karat white gold and titanium. The latter metal is used primarily for its lightweight appeal, an added value particularly for any piece that must hang from the ear, Assimon says. “We also did a very dramatic ear cuff featuring black and white diamonds and pearls; it’s roughly seven inches,” she notes. “To do that ear cuff in gold, that would probably be 100 grams of gold, very heavy, but in titanium, much lighter. One of my pet peeves is comfort, but titanium is also a very hard metal and can be difficult to control. My jewelry artisans kept telling me that they were breaking their tools.”

The Technicolor collection also highlights the contrast between black and yellow diamonds, seen in both a ring and a pair of earrings, the latter featuring two emerald-cut yellow VVS1 diamonds totaling a little more than 11 carats each. “They really are among the stars of the show,” Assimon says. Indeed, many pieces in Technicolor put a spotlight on stones of a hefty size, an unusual hue or sometimes both, like the one-of-a-kind necklace that features a 20-carat orange-brown fancy colored diamond as its center stone, flanked by two strands of white diamonds.

“To me, high jewelry is about putting a spectacular center stone on the stage — each one is our lead actress,” Assimon says. “And all around them, the craft and design, that’s what has been produced to showcase them. If the complexity of the design is done well, then whenever you look, all you see is that center stone. You can’t help but keep your eyes on her.”