As far back as Gabrielle Chanel could remember wheat always held a special place in her memories. Her birth date, August 19th, coincidentally fell during the harvest festival. This celebration, held at the end of summer, following the season’s plentiful harvest and the filling of the granaries, symbolized renewed prosperity and abundance. In May, the wheat stems sprout from the earth; tender and green. In June, when the temperature becomes warmer, the ears of wheat begin to form. July and August sees them basking in the sun, their smell enveloping the countryside during the warm summer nights. It is this moment that signals the crop is ready to be harvested.
For Gabrielle Chanel’s father, wheat symbolized all that was good and wholesome. How many times as a child had she heard him call it “my good wheat.” This expression echoed within her all her life. And this “good wheat” never left her, becoming one of her lucky charms. In its natural form, in wood, bronze or realized in a painting by her friend Dalí, wheat was present in all its forms in Gabrielle Chanel’s residences, including her apartment on rue Cambon, her suite at the Ritz or her home La Pausa in the South of France.
The High Jewelry collection “Les Blés de Chanel” celebrates for the first time this fundamental element of Gabrielle Chanel’s world; an eternal symbol of regeneration, abundance, luck, prosperity and endless creativity. The collection, comprised of 62 high jewelry pieces, celebrates the life cycle of wheat. Viewed in totality with their supple design, these pieces resemble a field of wheat dancing in the breeze.
“Premiers Brins”, “Brins de Printemps” and “Brins de Diamants” pay homage to the tender young wheat shoots of early spring. Diamonds, peridots and aquamarines play with transparency like young stalks of wheat. The harvest is evoked through the variations of “Moisson Ensoleillée”, “Bouquet de Moisson” and “Moisson de Perles” where diamonds, yellow sapphires and pearls bask in the golden light of summertime sunshine.
“Moisson d’Or” offers a sheath of wheat tied with a 16.8 carat yellow sapphire. This spray of diamonds and sapphires is the central motif in a long necklace made of 977 yellow sapphires for a total weight of 477.5 carats.
The same inspiration can be found on a brooch, earrings and ring whose center stone is a yellow cushion cut sapphire of 17.1 carats. “Fête des Moissons” celebrates crowns of braided wheat. At the middle of the necklace a 25 carat yellow radiant cut diamond illuminates a bunch of wheat, set with 121 multi-colored diamonds with a total weight of 46.7 carats, 932 yellow diamonds weighing 40.4 carats and 165 white diamonds. A ring, a bracelet and a pair of earrings complete this set.
“Champ de Blé”, “Impression de Blé” and “Blé Infini” offer many variations on the theme of wheat and reinvent the motif as a precious and sparkling pattern.The “Cascade d’Epi” necklace and earrings are supple and golden, curling gracefully around the body of the woman who wears them. This collection resembles the wheat in June, just as the ears begin to bloom.
“Champ de Blé” recalls the wheat of early summer in a more abstract series of pieces. Mounted on yellow or white gold, diamonds are entangled in a lattice of foliage.
Finally, the “Légende de Blé” necklace displays a majestic ear of wheat in white gold and diamonds that wraps around the neck, celebrating the precious remains of summer.
With this collection wheat makes a lavish entry into the realm of Chanel High Jewelry and pays homage to one of Gabrielle Chanel’s most intimate symbols.
Photo: Courtesy of Chanel