Diamonds are Forever, as Swarovski launches an Ethical Diamond Collection in Cannes
The brand that made crystals into the greatest supporting act in modern fashion design, Swarovski, has a new project: diamonds. The Austrian-owned label today in Cannes unveiled its first collection of diamond jewelry, entitled Atelier Swarovski Fine Jewelry Collection. Along side a new brand ambassador – UK super actress, and Bond girl, Naomie Harris.
“The thing that is so important about this project is that we are here to support female empowerment. My great, great grandfather Daniel, when he founded the company, said he wanted every woman to know what it feels like to wear a diamond. And, that empowerment has been so important to us,” said Nadia Swarovski, at the diamond collection launch in Hotel Eden Roc, the home from home of world’s movie stars during the film festival.
The launch marked the 10th anniversary of Atelier Swarovski, the house’s haute couture jewelry. Though these are diamonds with a difference – not mined, but created in laboratories in California and Germany out of the same chemical composition as classical diamonds. Both are 100% carbon, and have similar hardness and brilliance – though with notably lower impact on the environment. The product is man-made; laboratory grown, and the collection embraced fine jewelry and the creative diamond and emerald industry.
“It’s not a synthetic diamond. It’s a creative diamond,” insisted Swarovski.
The range includes earrings, necklaces, bracelets and pendants, generally in a geometric style. The debut collection is made up of three themes: Mosaic, Art Deco and Concentric – all handcrafted in Swarovski’s Parisian atelier.
“When I look at the sparkling material it reminds her of women sparkling inside. And how important it is to shine and not hold back. And that to me is such a strong message,” said Harris, who starred as a drug addled but loving mother in Moonlight, the movie that eventually won the best Oscar picture this year.
With a new president in France, one senses a new air of optimism at the festival, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. Some things, however, don’t change. As Harris made her exit in a high-powered speedboat, half-dozen paparazzi were busily snapping her from the rocks outside the hotel.
Another element of empowerment of this collection is that it is sustainable. No blood diamonds here.
“We worked so hard over the last 20 years to be sustainable. We are partners of the UN. Our product is clean; our crystals are clean. We have embraced creative diamonds and emeralds. In this day and age when the world seems very unpredictable so it’s important to stand for something,” said Swarovski.
Atelier Swarovski was also celebrating its 10th anniversary with the re-launch of its iconic Christopher Kane collection, alongside new collections from Jason Wu, Paul Andrew and Iris Apfel, and an exclusive hair accessories collaboration with John Nollet, who joined the lunch on the Cap d’Antibes.
Swarovski has always had a strong presence in Cannes; since back in 2001 when it feted Moulin Rouge, starring Nicole Kidman as the crystal encrusted courtesan – helping to earn the movie’s designer Catherine Martin an Oscar for costume design.
Though the house’s links to the silver screen date back to 1932 when Marlene Dietrich emoted in crystallized costumes in Blonde Venus. In the same decade, the burgundy gown Vivien Leigh wore in Gone With The Wind sparkled in crystals, as did Judy Garland’s ruby red slippers in the Wizard of Oz. More recently, Swarovski provided the custom-made chandeliers for Tom and Daisy Buchanan’s mansion in The Great Gatsby; while over in Los Angeles, Swarovski celebrated ten years illuminating the Oscars stage, with a dazzling Art Deco set designed by Derek McLane and shining with 300,000 of its crystals.
Few brands have done as much to sponsor fledgling fashion talent as Swarovski. Past collaborators for jewelry include Jean Paul Gaultier, Viktor&Rolf, Maison Margiela and Mary Katrantzou. Past collaborators for home décor include Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind and Ron Arad.
Daniel Swarovski founded the brand back in the Austrian Tyrol in 1895, and his heirs have grown it into Austria’s greatest luxury brand – with estimated annual turnover in 2016 of 2.6 billion euros. The bedrock of the business has always been crystal cutting. Now the house has cut a new swathe into a new sustainable era in diamonds.
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