Legendary designer Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel (1883-1971) broke the rules of fashion and established new style codes that are as influential today as they were revolutionary in her time. Her daring designs borrowed heavily from both menswear and the world of sport as she sought to create a relaxed and liberated wardrobe for the modern woman.
Always forward thinking, she popularized both costume and fine jewelry as essential parts of her couture presentations. She hired Fulco di Verdura as head designer for her costume jewelry line who created iconic pieces including the Maltese Cross cuff before opening his own fine jewelry salon in 1939.
In 1932 Chanel presented her first high jewelry creations in a collection she called Bijoux de Diamants. The collection, the only one she designed herself, featured diamond necklaces, rings and bracelets with motifs of stars, comets and moons, design elements, along with camellias and lions, that would come to represent the house moving forward. Continuing that couture tradition today, each piece of Chanel High Jewelry is one-of-a-kind and made entirely by hand in the house’s atelier.
Chanel produces three distinct jewelry collections: costume, fine and high.
Chanel Costume Jewelry was originally created to accompany specific clothing and a client would purchase the entire ensemble. Today, Chanel costume jewelry consists of pieces based on its four yearly prêt-à-porter collections and a revolving mix of brand classics.
Chanel Fine Jewelry is crafted in the house’s jewelry workshops of precious materials and is released in collections several times a year. Fine jewelry pieces reference iconic Chanel design motifs and are produced in multiples.
Chanel High Jewelry is the equivalent of the house’s Haute Couture creations, though only one of each jewelry design is produced. With fewer than 75 pieces in each collection, these are the most highly coveted of Chanel’s jewels, prized for their rarity, craftsmanship and one-of-a-kind status.