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Chanel Jewelry, Watches, Sunglasses Review-Guide

Updated on January 6, 2015

Chanel Jewelry

We mentioned “charm” as a recurring trait in David Yurman, Tiffany & Co., and Cartier designer fine jewelry – yet in these brands it is of the regular, familiar kind. Chanel jewelry renders charm a kind of a mystical quality: indeed, it becomes charismatic (though these two words have different etymology) – not only radiating magic, but also attracting, continuously, energy from surrounding people, objects, and ambiance.

In other words, Chanel discovered a “two-way” kind of charm, which constantly renews and refreshes itself, eventually becoming the underlying reason for the brand jewelry's enduring appeal.

A Fashion House aware of its history and cultural significance to a global clientele, Chanel offers a broad range of products: fragrances (the iconic N. 5 hardly needs a mention), leather accessories (bags and wallets), couture garments, shoes, various sports gear (surf boards, bikes, tennis rackets), and more.

In this guide we focus on jewelry, watches, and sunglasses, discuss main themes, designs, and draw comparisons with other brands and competitors.

Design

Chanel employ several design principles that more or less define the company's jewelry oeuvre. First is the reliance on lines and contours (as opposed to surfaces, evident, for instance, in Judith Ripka): a basic yet powerful element whose flexible nature enables the artists to create differently themed collections. Eventually, lines dovetail to the brand's desire to project filigree execution and attention to detail as a state of mind – not just a manufacture guideline.

The second principle constitutes a common use of botanical and floral motifs: graduating from leaf and bloom shapes to bold, complex and unabashedly rich fruit configurations – reminding of vintage Trifari (and Chanel are generally on friendly terms with vintage, as the sunglasses also reveal) and other jewelry makers. The house continues to innovate in this sphere, offering in recent collections the country-inspired golden ear head patterns.

A third principle we would like to dwell on (several others show up in dedicated reviews) is the liberal approach to materials. Chanel will, and have treated gemstones, precious metals, and most recently the high-tech ceramic as auxiliary components that shouldn't overshadow the theme, the composition, or the idea behind each piece. Natural properties receive their deserved respect – but clearly designers won't compromise for a free ride at their expense. In this respect, the artifice of creativity and artistry gets the upper hand.

Jewelry

  • Earrings: while vintage items and collections often display a round and yellow-gold based design, a lot of modern creations opt for a horizontal, pendant layout, featuring more white aurum than yellow. Onyx and pearls further reassert the black and white dynamic – though brighter color is also common, making an appearance in pink tourmalines, corals, sapphires, and other colored stones.

  • Necklaces/Pendants segment includes classically, elegantly built pieces usually based on white 18K gold chains; onyx and pearls (as accents, pendants, or links) summarize Gabriele Chanel's love for the timeless black and white color scheme, while warmer yellow gold, cacholong, tourmalines, aquamarines, and turquoise (pendants in particular) add a touch of color. Interesting Mondrian allusions.

  • Bracelets, generally chain or cuff, feature two opposite design attitudes: one, semi-open filigree, which adds to classic Camellia and Cometes collections; another, closed cuff type, truly tests the use of ceramic as jewelry – examining how the black glossy bricks interact with gold and diamonds. Recent additions combine the two approaches, demonstrating scroll work bounded by a cuff template.

  • Pins/Brooches present arguably Chanel's most whimsical, playful jewelry – at last designers get some surface to work on and fill – lots of precious and semi-precious gemstones, including amethyst, peridot, aquamarine, sapphires, and others. More botanical and celestial inspired shapes.

  • Rings demonstrate one of Chanel's most emulated strengths, attention to detail, in its full force. Despite their relatively small size, the rings fully incorporate their respective collection themes, emphatically carrying a camellia bloom, a constellation of stars, a bed of pearls, and other jewelry motifs. Includes bands, gemstone rings, and diamond&white gold pieces that approach engagement rings in conception.

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