The French phrase Toi et Moi loosely translates to you and me in English. But to a jeweller, it details the concept of a ring with two gems, often sitting closely together. The style is symbolic of the love between two people, with origins in one love story in particular. In 1796, Napoleon Bonaparte married Joséphine de Beauharnais a short three weeks after their meeting. It was a contested union, she was a widow and six years older, but they were smitten and love prevailed. Bonaparte gifted her with a Toi et Moi ring – a pear cut diamond and sapphire dyad – a high jewelry depiction of those words, ‘you and me’. The style now is typically dated to the Belle Epoch, but has imprinted on the romantic ideations of jewelry ever since, from Jackie O’s emerald and diamond ring to the dual engagement diamond worn by model and activist Emily Ratajkowski.
For Dior Jewelry Artistic Director Victoire de Castellane, it was this piece of history that acted as the creative impetus behind Dior et Moi, a transgressive new high jewelry collection that brings together exceptional and semi-precious stones. For de Castellane, this new collection stems from the historic symbolism of pairing, but plays with proportion, colour and shape. A rolodex of gems – red spinels, tourmalines, rubellites, kunzites, turquoise, opals and pearls – sit pretty among vivid lacquers and brushed gold, putting on a hypnotic and bold display as far as high jewelry is concerned. De Castellane, who has held post at Dior for some 20 years, is revered for her animated use of colour, so the far-reaching spectrum is like a look inside her creative mind.
The collection is comprised of 39 items, some of which exist outside the ring medium. The centrepiece, a super-sized opal, is encased by tiny rainbow-hued diamonds and suspended on a string of creamy pearls – a testament to the quirky detail and abstract artistic essence that is aligned with the house of Dior. The complete collection can be seen here, but scroll on for a selection.
Image courtesy of Dior