To bee or not to bee? That isn’t even a question when faced with these killer Bee My Love earrings by 231-year-old Parisian jeweler Chaumet. “The bee has been an icon for Chaumet since the first jewelry pieces made for Napoleon as the imperial symbol of immortality and undisputed power,” says artistic director Lionel Giraud. (Chaumet was the official supplier of jewelry for the diminutive French emperor.) These gold, diamond, and yellow and orange sapphire drops were created for the Attrape-moi si…tu m’aimes (Catch me…if you love me) collection, a 30-piece line that’s dotted with honeycomb motifs. “The bee and its honeycombs become a symbol of the foundation of a strong and lasting relationship,” says Giraud, citing a quote from French writer Raymond Radiguet: “Comme l’abeille butine et enrichit sa ruche, un amoureux enrichit son amour (As the bee gathers pollen and nourishes the hive, a lover nourishes its love).” If that weren’t sweet enough, each Chaumet bee jewel supports Terre d’Abeilles’ save-the-bees campaign. Well, that takes some sting out of the price: EUR?19,000 ($27,500).
The colored stones—3.4 cts. t.w. of round-cut yellow and orange sapphires—capture “the sweet and warm universe of the beehive,” says Giraud. “It is the natural environment of the bee, where she creates and stores honey, the treasured nectar surrounded by legends of immortality and miracles throughout the ages.” Rich 18k yellow gold and 0.87 ct. t.w. brilliant-cut E-F VVS diamonds give the honeybee’s home some extra sparkle
THE SMART SET
Chaumet’s artisans employed four stone-setting techniques: a four-prong setting (for, most notably, the bee’s head), a six-grain setting (the diamond-paved hexagons), a three-grain setting (the honeycombs), and a bezel setting (assorted orange and yellow sapphires). It took about a year to create. “The impression of volume and roundness was tricky to materialize into graceful earrings,” explains Giraud.
LONG LIVE THE QUEEN
Chaumet didn’t choose just any old drone for this piece. “The bee in the previous collection, playful and cute, was the prey of a seduction game played with a spider on a web,” explains Giraud. “Here, the iconic Queen Bee stands for itself, reigning on the beehive, as a strong emblem of countless myths in the popular imagination.”