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Chopard’s extraordinary bestiary

Chopard's extraordinary bestiary

14 December 2010

To celebrate the occasion of its 150th anniversary, Chopard has taken on the new challenge of signing an Haute Joaillerie collection of 150 unique animal-themed pieces.

Species from every latitude are represented in the form of bracelets, necklaces, brooches, earrings and rings.

Along with animals that are often represented in jewellery – wolves and cats, for example – the Swiss jeweller did not hesitate to honour other beasts that are more exotic (hippopotami) or unusual (seahorses), at first thought less pleasant (rats), or imaginary (dragons) or endangered (polar bears, koalas). Instead of the usual plain depictions of animals or birds, the Geneva company offers a whimsical and enchanting zoo that dares to idealise frogs and clownfish and does not hesitate to bring them to life through what are virtually little scenes.

Built around gemstones of exceptional quality, of all shapes and sizes, the pieces of the Animal Planet collection also feature more unexpected stones and materials, such as quartz, kunzites, pearls, Paraiba tourmalines, moonstones, red gold, titanium, and precious woods, for a “natural” effect of startling realism.

Chopard's extraordinary bestiary

Each animal to be made represented a new challenge for the goldsmiths, rhodium-platers, chain-makers and other jewel setters.The Clownfish plastron necklace alone, shimmering like a Byzantine mosaic, is a triumph of jewellery making. Designers, sculptors, jewellers, founders, stone setters, lapidarists, and polishers worked together for 750 hours to create this necklace. No fewer than 2160 stones of all kinds – diamonds, apatites, aquamarines, chalcedonies, moonstones, Paraiba tourmalines, quartz, topazes and sapphires – were fitted together.

Chopard's extraordinary bestiary

Another jewel of aestheticism and technical skill is the necklace depicting monkeys stealing fruits. In this mischievous scene, two rubellite chimpanzees are stretching out on vines of red gold to reach a bunch of mangoes represented by a cluster of orange-red sapphires.

Chopard's extraordinary bestiary

The Frog with Crown ring is both an amusing nod to fairy tales and a very detailed figure. Mounted on a ring of white gold, a frog of emeralds and black diamonds seems ready to jump out and offer up its tiny crown of yellow gold set with brilliants, amongst which is a yellow diamond. A frog is also featured on necklace

The Turtle ring was designed around its central stone, a magnificent 11.43-carat pear-cut brown diamond. The shell is set with 370 tiny champagne, cognac and dark chestnut-brown diamonds.

Chopard's extraordinary bestiary

With wake antennae and legs stretched out, the bee brooch appears ready to gather pollen from a beautiful flower. The body of this tiny animal is a miniscule mosaic of yellow and black diamonds of varying sizes. The extreme fragility of its translucid winds is simulated by a loose and irregular meshing of white gold, enhanced by brilliant-cut diamonds.

With just as much work, the rabbit bracelet brings once again a fresh and humorous feature to the collection. This white gold cuff, set with diamonds, shows these adorable rodents searching for carrots.The vegetables have been skilfully represented by pear shaped orange sapphires, oval shaped tourmalines and green marquise tourmalines.

Chopard's extraordinary bestiary

The seahorse earrings represent a gracious little cavalier of the sea with onyx eyes and a body adorned with brilliant-cut diamonds. The unusual fish appears to ride in a shower of micro-bubbles of air, represented by 108 rose-cut diamonds.

Another virtuoso creation is the Sardines bracelet in diamonds and sapphires, which took nearly 200 hours of labour and thousands of micro-welds; each fish had to be handled individually. To create the illusion of a school of fish being carried along by the current, every single sardine had to be placed with incredible accuracy.

Chopard's extraordinary bestiary

Leaving the depths of the ocean to join the ice-floe one can discover a piece that defines once more the sensitivity and extreme dexterity of the designer. What could be more endearing than this polar bear whose body holds a white gold ring? Laying calmly, it has no fear of the cold with its fur of sparkling diamonds. An onyx marks its nose while 2 small sapphires of 0,1 carats evoke pleading eyes.

Chopard's extraordinary bestiary

After the fairy tale of Prince Charming turned into a frog, Chopard revisits that of birth with the Storks earrings. In this composition, the male stork, of white gold set with black and white diamonds, carries in its beak a bundle made of blue topaz, in which a baby boy is sleeping. The female, just as finely cut, delivers a baby girl. This time, the infant’s wrap is represented by a pink briolette-cut kunzite. As a mark of the extremely fine quality of the jewellery, the backs of the earrings bear a fine gold honeycomb weave.

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