As a continuation of the maison’s previous high jewellery capsule collection, Torsade de Chaumet, Déferlante is an ode to life and movement. In this collection, the designers focused on key Chaumet jewellery techniques: they turned to archival drawings, created a new tiara (not a single high jewellery collection created by the house can do without one), added transformations and exceptional D-E-F diamonds of VVS clarity. Unlike Torsade de Chaumet, in which rubies, sapphires and emeralds were used, all the Déferlante jewellery is monochrome, set with colourless diamonds.
The story of this collection begins with the waterfall ornament that was presented by Joseph Chaumet at the Exposition Universelle in Paris back in 1900. Renowned for its finesse and technical skill, this precious object inspired the critic Roger Marx to write the following lines: “Of all jewellery, the largest, the most sumptuous, the most magical, the Devant de Corsage exhibited by Mr Chaumet owes its splendour less to the number than to the size of the diamonds, to the composition which controlled their use and which made the limpidness of the gems sparkle like the waves of a waterfall, like bursts of light.”
After 122 years, the same can be said for every Déferlante piece. Inspired by an archival drawing of a fountain, the tiara realistically captures the effect of rolling waves. This extremely complex motif is masterfully realised in white gold and 1,600 colourless diamonds cut in two different ways: step and brilliant. I want to draw your attention to the fact that if you compare two square stones, where one is a princess-cut diamond (a square, brilliant-cut), and the second is step-cut, you will see that they sparkle in different ways. In the case of the princess, there is a more intense play of light, while the radiance of a step-cut diamond is calmer, nobler. This is due to the fusion of not only different shapes and sizes of stones but also types of cutting, through which the maison’s craftsmen manage to convey all the power and energy of water.
The theme of the movement of water is continued by a three-row necklace. As if carried away by the current, the diamonds flow to the neckline and illuminate everything that surrounds them with a stream of light, reminiscent of drops of a wave hitting the shore. The central 3.57 carat diamond, which is especially clear and transparent, is cut in the shape of a pear, so beloved by Josephine de Beauharnais for its resemblance to a dewdrop. Why do her predilections matter to Chaumet? Because over the years she became the maison’s most devoted and renowned client, actively participating in its development in the jewellery industry.
While we are on the subject of prominent protagonists, when it comes to stones in the Déferlante collection, the 6.05 carat diamond that adorns the asymmetrical ring wins the title of the stone with the largest carat weight. But this is not the ring’s only surprise: thanks to its transformation, it can be worn with or without a diamond “froth”, like a solitaire. Whichever option you choose, the essential thrust of the collection will still be easy to read. It is difficult to imagine how many hours it took to select the composition for this metamorphosis because all the magic of Déferlante is based on the carefully calibrated placement of stones, their angle and the most open setting. It’s a wonderful illusion of chaos, behind which there are so many hours of painstaking work!
Finally, let’s take a look at the one-of-a-kind secret gold timepiece. The watch’s dial is covered with a wave of diamonds, but, oddly enough, it’s not that element that I associate with water, but rather what is hidden under it: a gold engraving reminiscent of underwater sand.
The opening of the Déferlante collection was a pleasant journey to the sea in winter. It also offers something else that is no less disarming: unlike drops of water that evaporate in the sun, diamond ‘drops’ will stay with you forever.