Watch & Jewellery
A ROOM OF ONE'S OWN: Dior's Gem Dior Collection
Text by Kee | Photos by Jeff Ip
(From left) Gem Dior watch in yellow gold with diamonds and onyx; Gem Dior watch in steel and yellow gold with diamonds and lapis lazuli; and Gem Dior watch in yellow gold with diamonds, ornamental stones and mother-of-pearl (Dior)
(From left) Gem Dior ring in pink gold and diamonds; Gem Dior ring in yellow gold with diamonds, lapis lazuli, malachite, and chrysoprase; and Gem Dior ring in yellow gold with diamonds (Dior Joaillerie)
Gem Dior earrings in yellow gold with diamonds; Gem Dior bracelet in pink gold with diamonds; and Gem Dior bracelet in yellow gold with diamonds (Dior Joaillerie)
Gem Dior ring in yellow gold with diamonds, lapis lazuli, malachite, and chrysoprase (Dior Joaillerie)
Gem Dior earrings in white gold with diamonds; Gem Dior ring in white gold with diamonds (Dior Joaillerie); Gem Dior watch in steel with lacquered mother-of-pearl; and Gem Dior watch in steel with diamonds and mother-of-pearl (Dior)

In Gem Dior, creative director of Dior Joaillerie Victoire de Castellane revels in the perfection of imperfection. Seven watches and 11 pieces of jewellery are now the new symbols of empowerment for women who don’t fit the mould.

It was three years ago in Paris that we stood in front of a few trays of new Dior wristwatches at Avenue Montaigne. We have come to expect a high-level of consistency with how Dior crafts its timepieces and jewellery. However, there was a surprise on that particular tray. One piece stood out more than the rest simply because it just wasn’t what you would expect. (A case in point would be Victoire de Castellane’s skull-themed line of jewellery for the house.) It was as though this wristwatch stumbled onto the tray by accident, dropped by a mysterious creator hoping to give a different viewpoint of Dior. In a crowded space of standard horological shapes – namely circles and squares and rectangles – this Dior creation had eight sides, an octagon. Eight is of course the lucky number of Monsieur Dior, which only goes to show the effort to tie-in newness with the respect of tradition. What made it even more remarkable was that de Castellane managed to apply her penchant for asymmetrical designs to the case, proposing something entirely fresh in the process of age-old timekeeping. On the dial was a piece of malachite with its unique organic features that appear to fit right into place like a missing piece of the puzzle. The attitude portrayed by the result appeared to reflect the subversive nature of Cartier’s Crash, the uniqueness of a rough gem, and the elegance and femininity of a Little Black Dress. We were told it was named Gem Dior, a wristwatch that took some time to piece together as the sourcing for the ideal stone dial became a task for only those with patience. Under the directions of de Castellane, there was no compromise on the malachite of choice as it had to be of a high standard, even if it was meant to look rough around the edges compared to a well-polished diamond. While that proved to be a sleeper hit in 2018, Dior quietly took the next few years to consolidate its ideas to create a much stronger line-up that could prove to be future icon for the house. If 2018’s original was just the teaser, then 2021 was Dior’s roll out of the mains. The new Gem Dior series consists of seven watches and 11 pieces of jewellery. “The spirit of this collection is modern, it’s a style that I would describe as abstract-organic, an organised disruption that turned out to be a true technical challenge for our ateliers,” she said. This tinkering of ideas led her to develop a bracelet for the wristwatch that featured the same asymmetrical viewpoint as the case. One example of a bracelet construction features a mix of gold and splices of coloured gemstones in blues and greens. There is a raw energy about this design visual that captures the peak of Studio 54 and the bright neon lights of a cosmopolitan city. What must also be credited to the design of the bracelet is the stone step-like texture that urges its wearer to cop a feel every now and then. Malachite wasn’t just the only dial choice as Dior now has black lacquered mother-of-pearl, white mother-of-pearl, and lapis lazuli as options. That said, there is also a collection of matching jewellery that has emerged from this series, in a variety of gold and diamonds. It’s not hard to predict the type of women that Gem Dior attracts. They are the group who are perfectly fine living life by their own rules.

Photography: Jeff Ip
Styling: Sarah Lam
Make-up: Eddy Liu
Hair: Dennis Tsui
Model: Caroline Santos
Wardrobe courtesy of Dior

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