Hermès emphasises the beauty of light with a celebration of the dark in a new high jewellery collection. Shadow is as essential as light in ‘Les jeux de l’ombre’, with diamonds edged in shadows of jade or titanium in an arresting and contrasting interplay.

For his seventh collection, creative director of Hermès jewellery Pierre Hardy explores ideas of duality, with pieces that are split in two in an extension of children’s desire to escape their shadow. ‘We always talk about light and sparkle in jewellery, so I wanted to take the opposite approach,’ he says. ‘In the performing arts, I’ve always loved the incandescent effect of the spotlights as well as the shadows they cast onto the stage floor. I find this distortion of light very appealing. The collection is a response to this desire: to poeticise the form taken by shadows.’

Woman wearing earrings by Pierre Hardy for Hermès high jewellery

This approach takes shape in jewellery that distorts natural silhouettes by placing gems on billowing clouds of titanium. The contrast becomes embodied in the design of the jewellery itself, with black spinels and blue sapphires making a seductive foil for flat-cut white diamonds in the ‘Chaîne d’ombre’ necklace. In other pieces, the gradients of colour are highlighted, with rough, uncut stones adding a sharp intensity.

‘It’s been a dream of mine: to leave the stones as they are,’ Hardy adds. ‘It came from something I experienced when visiting a gem-cutter, who showed me diamonds and tourmalines. When I shined my phone’s flashlight on them, the light cast shapes around each of them. I have simply highlighted the shadow projected by the stone. I have invented as little as possible, even in terms of how the colours are distributed over the pavé settings. I worked almost like a geologist, as close to the mineral as possible. Projecting light onto a rough stone is a revelation, a wondrous experience.’ §

woman wearing necklace by Pierre Hardy for Hermès high jewellery
necklace by Pierre Hardy for Hermès high jewellery