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High jewellery has embraced semi-precious stones

Lapis lazuli sits alongside diamonds on Cartier's new "Magnitude" collection.

As the name of its newest collection “Magnitude” might suggest, something earth-shattering has just taken place at Cartier. While high jewellery has always been about worshipping the four most popular girls at school, this time, Cartier has boldly decided to mix crowds. The “big four” precious stones – diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds – are now having a sit-down dinner with rutilated quartz, matrix opal, and their other earthy friends. Stones in the latter group are typically filed under the “semi-precious” category, and often serve a supporting role when used in high-jewellery pieces.

No longer. Just look at Equinoxe, a spidery constellation of yellow, orange, and white diamonds, orange- toned yellow sapphire, and vibrant beads of lapis lazuli. They are having a conversation (or perhaps clash of opinion?) about opacity versus transparency, soft curves versus hard lines, unadulterated colour versus subtle nuances. Only time will tell if this is a hi and bye – or if it’s the start of a friendship that’s, well, set in stone.

(RELATED: The new Clash de Cartier jewellery collection is a study in chic contrasts)