To celebrate the reopening of the Milan boutique, Cartier presented “Sixième Sens” – its new High Jewelry collection, at Lake Como in Italy. Jacqueline Karachi-Langane, High Jewelry director, explains three of the more emblematic pieces.
By Sandrine Merle.
The staging by architect Patricia Urquiola, with its play of angles, colors and perspectives over Lake Como, was a beautiful introduction to “Sixième Sens”. The pieces are intended to provoke extra-sensory perceptions, to act as a “particle accelerator,” writes Cyrille Vigneron, CEO of Cartier. This is an old and recurring preoccupation and for good reason: one of the founding acts of this house was the mysterious clock imagined in 1912 based on the idea of a magician (Jean-Eugène Robert Houdin). Its hands give the illusion of being suspended in the void!
Meride: polished mirror
“This necklace is the most explicit of Sixième Sens,” explains Jacqueline Karachi-Langane. From the front, it is a simple black and white checkerboard made of onyx, rock crystal and diamonds. It comes to life when the wearer moves, and the viewer discovers a kinetic game: the pixels burst into life under the effect of light colliding and reflecting endlessly against the reflective walls of the mirror-polished gold. The latter plays a central role in the precious mosaic. And the optical effect is all the more striking because the elements are in relief: rock crystal and onyx are cut into cubes. “Let’s imagine that we became infinitely small – we could move through this jewel like a maze,” notes Karachi-Langane.
Phaan: ruby on diamond
Another facet of the wondrous of “Sixième Sens” is the superposition of stones – in this case a ruby and a diamond which for the first time, is found underneath. “I got the idea at the Tucson Fair when I was looking for stones that could suggest this Sixième Sens theme,” recalls Jacqueline Karachi-Langane. “A dealer presented me with a 4.01-carat rose-cut diamond that I love, but it lacked soul… Then a few days later, the same dealer offered me a Siam ruby (from Thailand) of an exceptional red with a density, a material and a very beautiful crystallization but that one lacked depth… “. By associating them, by placing the diamond under the ruby, the effect is fascinating: the light projected by the diamond illuminates the red crystal from within and creates the ideal stone – almost supernatural.
Alaxoa: spider threading
“The softness and lightness of a feather is due to thousands of small architectural elements arranged in relation to each other,” she explains. In the high jewelry version, we arranged hundreds of emerald beads using one of our favorite techniques: threading. For this necklace, the emerald pearls are not threaded one after the other like the house’s famous twists but arranged in a spider’s web. “In order to preserve their mobility, we worked extensively on the joints of the emerald balls linked together by micro metal bridges and then attached to a metal structure.” And that’s where another challenge arose: knotting the delicate silk thread without it being apparent, while losing none of its strength… The virtuosity of simulating symmetry through asymmetry.
The magic of new technologies
These perceptions are often made possible by new technologies such as CAD (computer-aided design). “20 years ago, Meride would have been impossible to make,” says Jacqueline Karachi-Langane. Like all unique pieces, there was no advance prototype: it would have had to be finished before we could assess its wearability: otherwise, thousands of hours of work would have been spent for nothing! With CAD, you can make as many resin prints as you want, so you can validate each experiment until the end. This makes it possible to innovate more than ever, opening up dizzying perspectives…
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