Ready for anything

Force 10 necklaces in white, pink and yellow gold with white diamonds.

Près de Noordhoek, sur la côte ouest de la péninsule du Cap.

Near Noordhoek, on the west coast of the Cape Peninsula.

Fred Samuel, founder of the house, in Nice in 1930.

When the jewelry house Fred explores notions of love, it draws inspiration from the iconic sailboat cable at the heart of its Force 10 collection.

Take a steel cable, like the ones used in sailing. Capable of resisting anything, unbreakable. Put it round the wrist and fix it with a shackle. At first sight, it has no romanticism, no link with passion or commitment. No flower or heart. Nothing. It is simple, crude almost, with a name befitting such an object: Force 10. And yet it is worn by a woman. It sways gently as she moves, brushes against her sleeve, catches the light. Above all, it evokes love. But you have to study this object, learn its history and step back to see it differently. And then everything will make sense.

It evokes freedom and attachment, a solidity that withstands hell or high water, and with a kind of audacity that goes straight to the heart. In 1966, Henri Samuel, Fred Samuel’s eldest son, gave his wife, as a token of their love, this Force 10 bracelet, named after a wind so strong that it is impossible to go to sea. This is a family that loves to travel and sail, a family of sailing champions. It is also jeweler to elegant society women and fond of appropriating objects, like these cables chiseled in gold and decorated with diamonds.

So with a cable you can forge a supremely delicate link, which encircles the wrist as you might sail round the world, passes over the hand, loops around a finger and leads up along the neck to fall back down in a long chain. “My mind travels for a moment and I hope it is the same for everyone who wears these bracelets. I believe they have a strong evocative power,” Fred Samuel wrote in his memoirs. A few pages later, he says he should have been “born a fish,” such is his love of everything connected with the sea. From this iconic jewelry piece, Fred has developed one of its distinctive vocabularies, Force 10, whose lines, curves and angles are varied to create watches, necklaces and cufflinks. It follows quite logically that the collection’s symbolism should be completed with an exploration of the wedding ring and engagement ring: pavé-set diamonds, delicately carved and interwoven links, to seal a union and sail off, as a couple, to new horizons.

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