Maison Piaget: Love Affair With the Rose

by Susanah Cheok

No other flower has inspired more passion in words, pictures and songs. No blossom has been quite so elevated. The rose is the perfect symbol of love and beauty – delicate but empowering and desirable in every way. This enduring icon has naturally captured the heart and soul of Maison Piaget, which welcomes 2 new exquisitely set rings and 4 new ornate timepieces that each depict a whole bouquet of glorious, blossoming Piaget roses.

The famous Bard wrote in Romeo and Juliet: That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet. In it he implied the irresistible essence of the rose – soft, layered petals, sweet scent, beautiful but thorny. Roses enflame intense passion and delight in most everyone. No one is indifferent or immune to the rose.

And neither is Piaget, the distinguished Swiss luxury watches and jewellery house. Having fallen in love with the rose, the marque has crafted exquisite emblems of it in a series of Piaget Rose Collections comprising jewellery and timepieces.

Maison Piaget’s storied history with the rose is famous. The significance of the rose to Piaget has its roots in the life of Yves Piaget, who grew up in La Côte-aux-Fées in Switzerland surrounded by lush gardens of wild flowers, including roses. “I remember these wild roses that we called églantines with affection. They would grow at altitudes of 1,000 metres,” he says.

Since then, the president of the Swiss Maison has been committed to promoting this unique flower. His life-long dedication was rewarded in 1982, when the rose created by the Maison Meil-land (responsible for creating and selecting new varieties of roses, and the protection and promotion of varieties), which also won the International new Rose Competition, was named after him.

Honoured by this gesture, he returned it by generously offering an 18-karat gold, life-sized rose to each new winner of the competition for several years. Through Yves Piaget’s efforts, the prestige of the rose lives on. He has since created the Monaco International Rose Competition, which awards a trophy donated by Maison Piaget.

A Rose is Born

It was inevitable that in 2002, the Piaget Rose, incarnated as wearable art to be admired and treasured for posterity, was born in the Maison’s High Jewellery collections. The initial dream creations were of elegant gold and diamond bouquets, which were followed by more daring concepts featuring diva-pink tourmalines and candy-pink opals. Over the years the Maison has created an array of jewels inspired by the Yves Piaget Rose.

The latest creations, made up of 2 rings and 4 timepieces, are unabashedly bigger and bolder, in a bouquet style that accentuate the rich colours, textures, and volume of a beautiful bunch of Piaget Roses. Each piece is designed and developed by the artisans in Piaget’s “Ateliers de l’Extraordinaire”, but also introduces collaborations with external craftsmen and women who are leaders in their artistic fields.

Extraordinary Rings

The Piaget Rose Rings, in stunning pink or gorgeous green tourmaline, are set with said extraordinary stones in equally exceptional cuts, and then some.

Pink represents the vibrant colour of the Piaget Rose petals and green is for the deep hue of the flower’s foliage. At the centre of each ring, a stunning tourmaline of approximately 5 carats is surrounded by gold and diamond buds and Piaget Rose flowers.

Each layer of rose petals is meticulously finished and set before being mounted on the ring in an avant garde asymmetrical design. The unique setting is inspired by Piaget’s high jewellery creations and shows an outstanding level of detail that includes a delicate “Rose ajourée” openwork decor that is secretly hidden on the back of each ring, privy only to its wearer and at very intimate scrutiny. It takes an incredible 50 hours of craftsmanship to complete each ring.

Art Timepieces

How has the Piaget Rose Timepieces not already been imagined?

Over the years, they have been interpreted with an array of Métiers d’Art, including micro mosaic, wood and stone marquetry, embroidery, engraving, guilloché, and miniature enamel.

This year’s 4 new Piaget Rose Altiplano timepieces combine a mesmerizing and eclectic mix of gold engraving, ornamental stones, glyptic (the process of carving or engraving on gems), and enamel. Glyptic is mainly used on large stones in jewellery, and it is rare to see it on this miniature scale, on the precious dials of each of the four timepieces, each depicting a bouquet of Piaget Roses in all their magnificence.

The sought-after artists and experts behind the phenomenal iterations are watchmaking artisan Dick Steenman, an authority in glyptic, and who is also a jeweller, gem-setter, and engraver, and Anita Porchet, the watch industry’s most renowned enamel artist and a regular collaborator of Maison Piaget’s.

The formidable pair have created four unique dials using gold, imperial jasper, coral, chrysoprase, mokaïte, enamel, and mother-of-pearl of various colours. These ornamental precious stones and materials have been combined with Piaget’s ultra-thin 430P movement in the creation of four exquisite limited editions of eight pieces.

All four limited editions come in an ultra-thin 36mm,18-karat gold cases set with baguette-cut diamonds. Three of the four timepieces are adorned with ornamental stones as well as pink sapphires, green tsavorites and diamonds. The fourth one features an engraved solid gold dial adorned with pink sapphires amethysts and diamonds. Each timepiece is limited to eight pieces worldwide.

Precious bejewelled rose bouquets aside, the unapologetically feminine time-telling art pieces are seamlessly strapped in 4 hues of alligator leather to steal every woman’s heart – in raspberry, coral and pink – sweet reminders of the shades of a rose. Each strap is adorned with an 18K rose gold ardillon buckle that is set with 23 brilliant-cut diamonds (approximately 0.04 ct).

In this spectacular collection, Maison Piaget’s ode to the rose is truly quite unmatched.

Images courtesy of Piaget, artwork by curatedition. All rights reserved.

Related links:

Piaget: Journey of the Sun

Piaget Possession: Gemming With Good Vibes Only

Piaget: Chasing Rainbows

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