One of the most iconic and instantly recognisable fine jewellery collections inspired by romance is Cartier's Love collection, which was first imagined in 1970s New York. The design is among the most famous in the world - and the Love bracelet has earned its place in jewellery history thanks to numerous celebrity endorsements, including modern stars like the Kardashians piling these bangles up their arms. Designed in 1969 by Aldo Cipullo for Cartier, the fascinating lock mechanism requires another person to ‘unlock’ you from the design, symbolising dependence, trust and commitment. The simplicity of the design adds to its appeal, and the entire Love collection follows a similar form: available in platinum, white, rose or yellow gold, and with or without diamond embellishment.
Chaumet has a rich tradition in classic fine jewellery, designing for royal figures and creating many of the most spectacular tiaras in history. One of the key motifs of the house has become the ‘liens’ - meaning, 'connections’ - thread that attaches objects, drawing them closer and bonding them for eternity. Liens appear as early in the history of Chaumet as its creation in 1780, and punctures through the maison’s archives of jewellery from the Belle Epoque and Art Deco years on the preliminary designs for tiaras, brooches and necklaces. Continuing through to the modern day, the chic, clean aesthetic of the liens symbol has achieved timelessness, and it’s charm is built on this subtle nod to the characteristics of loving relationships.
This French Maison is known for its dedication to romantic designs, and their 2019 Romeo and Juliet collection is no exception. Van Cleef & Arpels designers chose the greatest love story of all time to inspire its high jewellery: “for us, the choice of Romeo and Juliet was a natural one for a number of reasons. First of all, literature is one of the main sources of inspiration for the House,” explains Nicolas Bos, President and CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels. The collection featured more than 100 unique pieces of jewellery that communicate the themes of Shakespeare’s romantic classic. Depicted in gold and precious stones are the lovers themselves, the balcony from which Juliet yearns, the gardens and architecture of Verona, as well as many more tropes of this classic tragedy.
While you may want to celebrate Valentine's Day with Chopard Happy Hearts jewels, these are not the only ones dedicated to love from Chopard’s collection - the 2019 High jewellery Red Carpet designs are all dedicated to a modern day love story. Hearts are paid homage to in a suite with magnificent heart shaped tanzanites, Paraiba tourmalines, amethysts, and diamonds affixed in circles of white gold and titanium - taking more than 500 hours of work to create the necklace alone. Another conventional symbol of love is flowers, and a hero piece of the line is the Divine necklace; an open ended choker with an 111.00 carat cabochon emerald, yellow and colourless diamonds, sapphires and tsavorites.
Another love story is depicted in the collection of the German brand Stenzhorn. The ‘Butterfly Lovers’ collection is inspired by the Chinese legend of the same name. It tells the tale of an ill-fated love story which ends in the subjects transforming into butterflies and having their souls live on together forever. The butterflies in Stenzhorn jewellery are decorated in channel set pink and blue sapphires, rubies and diamonds, and adorn long necklaces, open rings and earrings. Stepping away from strictly conventional designs, Stenzhorn offer their clients rings and earrings with kimono jackets, which create the effect of layered butterfly wings.
In an ode to a very specific type of love, the new Sentimentals collection from Solange Azagury-Partridge conveys familial devotion and sentimental attachments. Amongst the 40 pieces of jewellery in the line, some declarations of love are openly conveyed; such as in the phrase “I Love You to the Moon and Back” crafted in the eponymous necklace and earrings suite with moons and stars made of gold, diamonds, opal representing the moon, and a heart cut ruby symbolising love. Another, more quaint example of Solange’s dedication to this theme is the Family ring, with mother of pearl, malachite, tigers eye, diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald in yellow gold, and clearly depicting a conventional family scene in a naive form.
While there are many options for Valentine’s Day jewellery, consider pieces with a story of love behind them, whose designers have dedicated whole collections to this theme - and who have created jewels which can be worn all year round.