This Is a Feline World - Part II
04th March 2020
Since the mid XXth century, jewelers are highly inspired by the fierce walk and sensual lines of the cat family. Gracious yet powerful, the panthere, leopard, lion and tiger are roaring through the figurative and abstract creations of the most recognized jewelry brands.
Cartier, FRED, Chanel, Gucci and many others, take us on board for a thrilling trip with the most majestic animals of the world.
Enamel & Crystals Tiger Brooch, Gucci.
The iconic Leo of Chanel is roaring through the high jewellery and watches creations of the French couture brand. For the past 10 years, the luxury fashion house dedicated several entire collections to this powerful animal, paying tribute to the zodiac sign of Gabrielle Chanel who was known to be superstitious.
In 2013, Chanel unveiled Sous Le Signe Du Lion, a new high jewellery collection defined by a strong personality, a sculptural design and a fierce style. The 58 figurative creations presents important relief yet look very light thanks to this lacy setting work: the mounting is sculpted which creates an aerial effect.
Sous le Signe du Lion, High Jewellery Collection, Chanel, 2013
In 2018, the Maison released a second high jewellery collection L’Esprit du Lion, which appears as a perfect continuation of the first chapter. Smoky opaque quartz and yellow stones such as yellow diamonds, yellow sapphires and yellow beryls, are keys to the voluminous jewels. The king of animals is proudly dominating important center stones with its majestic and rebellious posture. It is also revealing dials of many secret watches by sliding its full paved or sculpted head.The same year, a fine jewellery line is launched to offer more accessible jewels, made of yellow or white gold, diamonds, with fine stones such as lapis lazuli and quartz. The jewels depict a lion head appearing as a protective talisman.
Esprit du Lion, High Jewellery Collection, Chanel 2018.
Sous Le Signe du Lion, Fine Jewellery Collection, Chanel, 2018.
Legends on pictures.
It is in the 1960s’ that Fred Samuel designed an original jewel representing two feline legs crossing. From there, the French brand FRED, belonging to LVMH since 1996, launched the popular and seductive Ombre Féline collection. It offers necklaces, earrings, rings and bracelets of fine jewellery up to 200k€, as well as a more accessible segment starting from 3k€. The jewels are composed of yellow gold, diamonds, black spinels or lacquer, and sometimes present a pear-cut diamond as center stone. To create the fur of the paws, the yellow gold mounting is scratched with thin lines. These jewels are easy to wear on an everyday basis, and have a rather soft and feminine design which contrast with other brands’ aggressiveness.
Ombre Féline collection, FRED. Legends on pictures.
Coming back to the 1960s’, David Webb was flooding the jewellery market with bold animal creations. His statement pieces were mainly representing exotic beasts including tigers, panthers and lions. These jewels had a more aggressive look with vibrant colors and strong features. The use of enamel was particularly important, creating depth and emphasizing the patterns. Coral and hard stones such as rock crystal were commonly carved to produce the strict lines of these powerful animals. Most of the time, they were represented in an attack posture, observing their prey and ready to jump. These jewels are designed for women (and men) that are standing out and willing to show off their prominence.
Feline Jewels, David Webb, 1950-70s'. Legends on Pictures.
If we look at other brands, we can notice that the cats have a wide influence on jewelers. Chopard repetitively designed tiger and panther necklaces. Chaumet unveiled in 2018 a colored sapphire lion for its Trésors d’Afrique high jewellery collection.
Back in 2003, Dior Joaillerie launched the Mitza rings that were representing a leopard paw with onyx and dark lacquer. Under the fine jewellery segment, there were several versions in yellow gold and full paved white gold.
This little iconic lion also contributed to the recognition of Van Cleef & Arpels. This 1950s’ brooch is part of the Lucky Animals collection which gathers pins with charming animals made of fine materials. The recent lion clip is made of tiger eye for the body part and onyx.
To conclude this feline selection, let’s have a look to Paul Flato’s tiger necklace. Designed in the 1980s’, this masterpiece presents a modern design in which the yellow gold tree branch is surrounding the neck, supporting a major diamond paved tiger at the center. The American jeweller worked on the bark effect by streaking the material and creating flexible links.