If These Jewels Could Talk | Solitaire Magazine

If These Jewels Could Talk

Relationships are built on communication, trust, and love. They are two-way streets and not just limited to interactions between people. When we hanker after objects of desire, a specific colour, a simple accessory ― or piece of jewellery ― it is partly an expression of our identity. A facet of our relationship with the world at large, so to speak.

Beth Bernstein; If These Jewels Could Talk cover jacket
Beth Bernstein; If These Jewels Could Talk cover jacket
Beth Bernstein’s new book, If These Jewels Could Talk, is partly a jewellery encyclopedia, part fiction, and part history lesson. It follows a timeline where precious gems travel from their origins, to transformation, adoration, and ultimately their destiny as timeless treasures. From coloured gemstones to polished pearls, each style of jewellery has taken a different spotlight in different eras. And in a never ending circle of style and elegance, they always seem to come back in a brilliant and reassuring renaissance.

Tutti Frutti necklace by CARTIER
Tutti Frutti necklace by CARTIER
Bernstein schools us on popularly used gemstones, with a focus on coloured gems, diamonds, and pearls. In particular, she shares on blue-hue sapphires, symbolises love, truth, and fidelity. Royal families in the 14th and 15th centuries presented betrothal rings adorned with a significant sapphire. Today, diamonds seem to be nuptial favourites, but the re-emergence of sapphires to be used in engagement rings unknowingly pays homage to its origins.

Grace Kelly on her wedding day
Grace Kelly on her wedding day
Nicole Kidman in Grace of Monaco. CARTIER reproduced the 10.47ct emerald-cut diamond engagement ring that Prince Rainier III gave the real Grace Kelly in 1956.
Nicole Kidman in Grace of Monaco. CARTIER reproduced the 10.47ct emerald-cut diamond engagement ring that Prince Rainier III gave the real Grace Kelly in 1956.
ewellery plays a glamorous role in the world of film, as addressed in the chapter Real to Reel. In the 2014 film Grace of Monaco, Nicole Kidman’s role as Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco, was dressed in the original royal jewels and recreated pieces by Cartier. Jewellery presents itself off screen, too, when houses like Harry Winston, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Cartier loan important pieces to celebrities for red carpet events.

Fleur de Mer brooch by Tiffany & Co.; 1930 Paris platinum, diamond and rock crystal bracelet by CARTIER; Naturalia earrings by BULGARI
Fleur de Mer brooch by Tiffany & Co.; 1930 Paris platinum, diamond and rock crystal bracelet by CARTIER; Naturalia earrings by BULGARI
Barbara Streisand in 1975 Funny Lady
Barbara Streisand in 1975 Funny Lady
In the chapter Owning It, Bernstein reflects on the inseparable relationship a woman has with her jewels. Actresses and femininity at large develop a taste for jewellery that embodies their respective personalities. When people notice an actress wearing her own jewels on or off screen, it inspires the everyday lady that she, too, can emulate her favourite screen siren.

La Peregrina pearls necklace by CARTIER; Grace Kelly's pearl and diamond earrings
La Peregrina pearls necklace by CARTIER; Grace Kelly’s pearl and diamond earrings
It wasn’t long before celebrities caught up and started designing gemstones themselves. Hollywood actress Elizabeth Taylor was one such example, who had an eye for modifying original pieces and transforming them into one-of-a-kind haute jewellery. Her famous 55.6ct La Peregrina pearl necklace, crafted by Cartier, was one she never parted with until after her death. It then sold at auction for USD 11.8 million.

Ludo bracelet by Van Cleef & Arpels; Serpentini belt by BULGARI
Ludo bracelet by Van Cleef & Arpels; Serpentini belt by BULGARI
High jewels, as Bernstein presents them, are more than adornments or accessories. They are items of relationship, comfort, and reward. As any lady of style will attest to.