Think “tweed” and Chanel comes to mind. There is no separating Gabrielle Chanel and the lush handwoven Scottish woollen fabric — traditionally worn by men — that she introduced to women’s fashion in the 1920s. Coco had a 14-year love affair with Hugh Richard Arthur, the Duke of Westminster, and fell in love with the lifestyle of the English aristocracy. She famously borrowed his tweed jackets and gave reinterpretations of them in her collections. The Chanel tweed suit became a staple of the mademoiselle’s designs and it continues to be an iconic symbol for the couture house to this day.
Tweed made its debut in Chanel high jewellery in 2020 — a first collection of 45 astonishing creations dedicated entirely to the epochal fabric that opened a whole new chapter for the maison. The brainchild of Chanel Fine Jewellery Creation Studio director Patrice Leguéreau, “Tweed de Chanel” was inspired by the intricate woven structure, depth and richness of the fabric, and craftsmen were put to task to articulate their mastery over metal and precious stones, and develop pioneering techniques that would allow them to imitate tweed’s warp and weft.
Three years later, Leguéreau revisits Tweed de Chanel and finds new inspiration in the magic of this lush material — this time returning with 64 new show-stopping high jewellery pieces.
“For this new high jewellery collection dedicated to tweed, I wanted to go further in the interpretation by creating a veritable fabric of precious stones that is light and supple,” says Leguéreau.
The making of the Tweed Royal necklace
The crown jewel of the 2023 Tweed de Chanel collection, the Tweed Royal is a plastron necklace of yellow gold latticework, intricately crafted and trimmed with a chain, and then set with diamonds and a dazzling ensemble of 37 rubies. The lion’s head, at its centre, can be worn on the plastron or as a brooch when removed. The magnificent 10.17-carat D FL Type IIa pear-cut diamond that adorns it can be detached to be worn as a ring.
Step 1: Chanel craftsmen construct a resin maquette to create the Tweed Royal necklace’s form.
Step 2: Pavé-set diamond elements are placed on the design and then polished.
Step 3: The placement of the pavé-set elements are checked and adjustments made before resin rubies are dropped into their brackets to ensure a correct fit.
Step 4: Once the necklace’s structure is ascertained to be sound, craftsmen prepare to position the rubies in the centre.
Step 5: The entire necklace is dismantled and every detail is polished.
Step 6: A craftsman assembling the Tweed Royal lion head, which is transformable into a brooch or ring when detached from the plastron.
Step 7: The finished Tweed Royal necklace.