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"Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without." - Confucius

What could have been a better place to showcase Maison Chanel’s 2016 high jewellery pieces than the Coco Chanel Suite in the recently inaugurated Ritz Paris? Welcoming the comeback of the famous hotel and to hint at the theme of the new collection, Chanel and the French street artist Gad Weil turned the entire Place Vendôme into a wheat field.

 

 
Ritz officially reopened a little over a month ago on 6 June 2016 after refurbishments that lasted almost four years, after being delayed by a devastating fire earlier in January. The hotel with such a rich history and home to Coco Chanel for more than 30 years calls for a separate article, which you will find here.

Wind blew the seeds from the square right up to Coco’s Suite, where the crops gently cuddled up to the pieces on display. Real wheat was literally bowing her head everywhere in the apartment even in the bathtub.

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Suite Coco Chanel, Ritz Paris

Les Blés de Chanel

Wheat has an interesting connection to Coco: she strongly believed in luck and surrounded herself with her favourite charms and objects, such as lions, camellia flowers and wheat. The symbol appeared all around her in many forms: in bronze sculptures and on furniture. Her friend Salvador Dalí even painted one for her (Epi de Blé, Oil on canvas, 1947).

Wheat has special meaning in both art and religion. Harvesting wheat on paintings is the sign of fertility and productivity, and grains represent the cycle of life. In the Bible wheat is a sign of charity and love.

Wheat became the main motif of the Maison’s latest high jewellery collection too. Cast in gold with diamonds and precious stones, the 62 pieces took the shape of the plant in different period of its life-cycle: the young wheat in Spring, the ear in Summer or the wheat-sheaf during harvest. Some with an unequivocal interpretation and others that are more abstract.

The “Fête des Moissons” set (necklace, ring, bracelet and earrings) is the highlight of the collection which celebrates the harvest. The centrepiece of the necklace is a 25ct fancy intense yellow rectangular diamond surrounded by a bunch of wheat, adorned with 121 multi-coloured diamonds weighing 46.7ct, 932 yellow diamonds totalling 40.4ct and 165 white diamonds over 3ct.

 
The “Premiers Brins”, “Brins de Printemps” and “Brins de Diamants” play with the colours of the Spring sparkled by diamonds, peridots, crystalline and aquamarines.

Wheat and pearls – two favourite symbols of Coco are combined make up the the “Moisson de Perles”. Indonesian and Japanese cultured pearl on one half of the bracelet, diamonds in white gold cradle on the other. Three strands of pearls in varying sizes run on the necklace, clamped together by a cluster of diamond-set white gold wheat.

The golden rays of the summer sun and the colours of the ripe wheat are reflected on the “Moisson d’Or”. The set consists of a necklace, brooch, a pair of earrings and a ring with diamonds, yellow sapphire beads and on the necklace a 16.8ct oval-cut yellow sapphire.

The crop bundled into sheaf by a tiny little clock is a beautiful “object of art” Chanel complemented the collection with. Tiny wheat grains laying on the rock crystal pedestal surrounds the standing sheaf made of yellow gold, yellow sapphires and diamonds.

 

Photo credits: Chanel, Loupiosity.com.
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