From Mine to Store: The Sea Inside the Maritime-Inspired Opal Necklace by Lydia Courteille



The intense oceanic hues of the blue Australian opals used in this statement-making Lydia Courteille necklace informed its maritime design. The gems even started out in the sea—as knots of plankton that over time filled in with the opal mineral. The opals “are a beautiful blue,” says the Parisian designer. “When you look at them, you think immediately of the deep sea.” Courteille, a veteran antiques dealer, adds that the critter-filled design was also inspired by “René Lalique and the Art Nouveau…also Jean Schlumberger.” She created the sapphire-and-amethyst necklace—a new addition to her ever-growing bestiary—for a lover of bold jewelry, to be sure. But also “to wake up the siren who sleeps inside every woman.” Consider ours roused.

Seahorsing Around

The 18k gold necklace includes two blue Australian opals (102 cts. t.w.); 1.58 cts. t.w. white diamonds; 1.41 cts. t.w. black diamonds; 18.42 cts. t.w. fancy sapphires (671 total); three faceted amethysts (29.5 cts. t.w.); and 51.19 cts. t.w. blue sapphires (1,680 total).

Swim Team

The necklace, Courteille says, “is a team story—you need a good designer, a good workshop, a good supplier for stones, and a lot of boldness.” The piece required a year to complete—plus roughly three years to source the stones. It’s currently for sale in her Paris atelier for $181,500.

Purple Reign

Courteille followed her emotions when selecting the stones and purple-and-blue color palette. “If you look at [any] necklace or ring, it should make you reminisce about your last wonderful vacation,” she says. The ideal wearer for this deep-sea masterpiece is someone “romantic or hippie-chic,” she adds. “Maybe a gypsy girl?”