Lydia Courteille’s New Jewelry Collection Is Inspired by Marie Antoinette



It’s easy to see how the sale of Marie Antoinette’s jewels at auction last fall, and current discussions about women in roles of power, could influence an accomplished Parisian designer like Lydia Courteille to introduce a collection based on the infamous French queen. But it’s how Courteille uses this inspiration to explore the dark side of Marie Antoinette’s story, specifically her epic fall from grandeur to disgrace, that makes the jewelry so intriguingly unexpected.

It is not quite the gilded, beribboned, pastry-laden extravaganza that Sofia Coppola gave us in 2006’s Marie Antoinette, but rather something a little more Tim Burton in its expression—albeit with a resplendent haute joaillerie slant.

Launched last week during Paris Fashion Week, the collection encompasses soft Cinderella blues and golden sunshine yellows, a palette that gradually deepens and darkens, as a piece of ripe fruit loses its pigment to the shades of bruising and decay. Spiders (a favorite Courteille motif in general) creep in as they might have infested Marie Antoinette’s dank prison cell at the Conciergerie.

Lydia Courteille Marie Antoinette tiara
Marie Antoinette spiderweb tiara with fancy sapphires, rubies, and aquamarines in 18k gold and silver, price on request

An amphibious-looking creature resembling a sinister gargoyle, tongue out (and clutching a gorgeous pear-shape aquamarine), is also part of this beguiling assortment.

Lydia Courteille fish gargoyle ring
Marie Antoinette cuff with blue and yellow sapphires, aquamarines, diamonds, and brown diamonds in 18k gold and blue rhodium–plated silver, price on request

Less menacing are a parrot and a pair of monkeys who were part of the royal menagerie at Versailles. And the symbols of royalty and courtly life during Louis XVI’s monarchy: suns and stars, a scepter, fleur-de-lis, and a harp (Marie Antoinette was said to be a gifted musician in this regard).

 

Lydia Courteille monocle earrings
Marie Antoinette monocle earrings with black and brown diamonds, blue and yellow sapphires, aquamarines, and yellow quartz in 18k white and yellow gold

And looking down at one of the collection’s fanciful knuckle-duster rings (there are three), you can just make out the shape of the era’s elaborate headdresses and sky-high wigs.

Lydia Courteille ring with blue enamel
Marie Antoinette ring with sapphires, aquamarines, and blue enamel in 18k white gold

See more from the collection below.

Lydia Courteille parrot ring
Marie Antoinette parrot ring with black and brown diamonds, sapphires, and aquamarines in blue titanium, price on request
Lydia Courteille lace motif ring
Marie Antoinette ring with sapphires and aquamarines in 18k gold and blue titanium, price on request
Lydia Courteille light blue Marie Antoinette earrings
Marie Antoinette earrings with sapphires and aquamarines in titanium, price on request
Lydia Courteille monkey earrings
Marie Antoinette monkey earrings with white and black diamonds, sapphires, and aquamarines in 18k white gold, price on request
Lydia Courteille star openwork ring
Marie Antoinette ring with aquamarines and sapphires in blue titanium and 18k gold, price on request
Lydia Courteille dark blue sapphire ring
Marie Antoinette ring with aquamarine cabochon, sapphires, and aquamarine accent stones in 18k white gold, price on request  

 

Top: Marie Antoinette ring with sapphires and aquamarines in 18k white gold

 

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All That Glitters writer