It wasn’t just tourbillons and calibres that captured the attention of participants at Baselworld this year – carats and cuts of various gemstones were also on display. Credited as the world’s biggest watch and jewellery fair, Baselworld undeniably drew in crowds of hard-to-please jewellery connoisseurs looking for striking pieces that could impress.
We take a look at a few of the most breathtaking pieces from Baselworld 2017.
Grabbing headlines this year was a ruby and diamond necklace by Faidee worth over US$35 million. The necklace, named The Grand Phoenix, features 24 rubies worth a total of 59.83ct paired with 100.21ct of diamonds. It took four decades to collect the unheated pigeon-blood Burmese rubies, the rarest and most valued type of rubies in the world.
This is not the first time Faidee has made waves. Its creations have often fetched jaw-dropping auction prices, including the Ratnaraj ruby and diamond ring which was auctioned for US$10.2 million at Christie’s Hong Kong Autumn Sale in 2016.
Welcoming guests to Mikimoto’s booth at Baselworld was a stunning white South Sea cultured pearl necklace starring a 22.7ct black opal as the centrepiece.
Two strands of pearls, the outer measuring 94cm in length, and the inner measuring 46cm, complement the glittering blue and green shades of the opal. Shielding the opal is a cluster of diamonds worth a total of 13.31ct.
Jacob & Co
Jacob & Co proves two is always better than one with its pair of Mystery of Muzo cuffs featuring two large Colombian emeralds. The 74.33ct and 70.57ct vivid green pear-shaped emeralds are set on spinel and complemented by a total of 118.13c of round, brilliant-cut diamonds.
The brand puts it aptly when saying the Mystery of Muzo “enchants onlookers with a slightly wicked air of seduction”.
The house’s blinged-out opera binoculars named Broadway Glasses – part objet d’art and part timepiece – were one of the definite highlights of Baselworld. The bold design was inspired by bright Broadway lights, the glamorous New York skyline and the prevalent art deco style that was popular in the 1930s.
The almost blinding effect is thanks to more than 480 diamonds set on the binoculars and the detachable handle. It also features a diamond-studded watch dial at the top of the binoculars, framed by emeralds and black onyx.
Delicate open-worked lacework comes to life in the Precious Chopard high jewellery necklace. Some 59.3ct of sapphires and 8.7ct of diamonds are linked together in such a way to make the necklace resemble fine embroidery work, an effect that is achieved by incorporating an open space into the design.
Although not a high jewellery piece, Gübelin’s new Emerald Paternity Test is worth mentioning because of its promise of what the future of greater transparency in the jewellery industry could look like. The Gübelin Gem Lab’s new cutting-edge technology allows jewellers to embed, or ‘tag’, their emeralds with the mine’s information using DNA-based nano-sized particles that adhere closely to the stone.
The information can withstand the cutting and polishing processes, making it useful for future paternity testing. Perhaps most importantly, as the particles are invisible to the eye and can only be viewed using a Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), it does not compromise the beauty of the emerald.
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