Sneak Peek – Chanel’s 1932 Collection: Fine Jewels & The 1932 Perfume

In 1932, in the midst of the Great Depression, Chanel launched her first collection of haute jewelry. It consisted of diamonds set in platinum and was shown in an exhibit entitled “Bijoux de Diamants.” In 2012, on the 80th Anniversary of that exhibit, Chanel debuted a new fine jewelry collection and, in homage, called it, quite simply, The 1932 Collection.

In February 2013, the perfume that went along with that jewelry launch will be released. It too is called, quite simply, 1932 and it is part of Chanel’s Les Exclusif line of fragrances. I have a sample of it already and will do a review sometime in the next 10 days but, in the meantime, I thought I would share some lovely photos I came across from Elle magazine as well as information first posted exclusively by the blog, The Scented Salamander.


coco chanelElle‘s October 2012 article states:

To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the exhibit, Chanel has created a new collection of diamonds, pink sapphires, pearls and more, called the 1932 Collection. Though the gorgeous high-end baubles aren’t on display to the public—Chanel built a giant dome outside the Museum of Modern Art in New York to house the display starting next week (and for one week only)— you can view part of the collection right here. has a sneak peek at the goods and a look back at Coco Chanel’s (pictured) original exhibit from 1932.

You can see the full 42 photos of the original Chanel jewels on the Elle website (linked up above), but I thought I’d share a few of them here:

1. Star-themed jewelry on display at “Bijoux de Diamants” in 1932. Coco Chanel was often inspired by celestial motifs.

The Comète necklace created by Coco Chanel in 1932 for her “Bijoux de Diamants” exhibition. The 80th anniversary collection plays hommage to many of the same motifs which inspired Chanel, including stars, comets, and moons”:

“From the 1932 collection, the Cosmos watch in 18K white gold set with 537 brilliant-cut diamonds, 29 fancy-cut diamonds, and 31 princess-cut diamonds”:

“The Céleste brooch uses Coco Chanel’s heavenly motifs and showcases the solar system at work. Set in 18K white gold set with 881 brilliant-cut diamonds, 24 baguette-cut diamonds, a 79.3-carat Australian baroque cultured pearl, three Indonesian cultured pearls, and 15 Japanese cultured pearls”:


“The 2012 Comète necklace—which references the original 1932 piece—comes in 18K white gold set with a 14.8-carat round-cut diamond, 823 round-cut diamonds, and 34 princess-cut diamonds”:

2. Diamonds necklaces on mannequins. First up, the “Noeud Papillon necklace, displayed on a mannequin. Using wax busts instead of jewelry trays was considered revolutionary in 1932.

3. Random pieces that you can read more about on the website but which caught my eye:

You can see the remaining photos of past and present fine jewelry at the Elle website.


Onto the perfume! On February 1, 2013, Chanel will launch a new perfume as part of its Les Exclusifs perfume line. This one will be called, quite simply, 1932.

[UPDATE: I have now posted a preliminary, but long, review of 1932.]


MimiFrouFrou at the Scented Salamander seems to imply that February 1st launch date will apply only to Chanel’s Paris store. She states: “Chanel will launch a new perfume called 1932 from February 1, 2013 in France in their boutique collection created in 2006 entitled Les Exclusifs.” [Emphasis added]

I don’t know if the perfume will launch in U.S. Chanel boutiques at that time, but I do know that the perfume is already being sold over the internet with photos being posted on random sites. I’ve also read that Chanel handed out sample bottles of “1932” to guests at a special VIP showing of the special 1932 jewelry collection. I obtained my 10 ml decant from my eBay secret weapon, Deborah, who got it as part of a split with a friend in Michigan.

I haven’t tried my decant yet, as I prefer not to test out perfumes until I’m ready to focus on them in-depth for a full review. I also wanted to get some background on it beforehand from Chanel. So I contacted Chanel twice to ask them about the notes in the perfume. The responses indicated that either the Chanel representative had absolutely NO idea what I was talking about and had never heard of 1932, or that she couldn’t talk about it prior to its official launch. Despite my very clear question, I was simply given a run-down of the perfume notes in all the existing perfumes in the Les Exclusifs line. There was no reply to my more pointed follow-up question and email about 1932 in specific. (I’m a lawyer. I know how to ask follow-up questions that are pretty damn clear.) Silence and no response.

So, I set out to try to hunt down more information and do a little detective work. I had read that the perfume would center around jasmine and powder, but the Scented Salamander has much better and more detailed information:

In 2012, Chanel issued the high jewelry collection entitled the 1932 Collection featuring 80 pieces reprising this galactic inspiration to fête the 80th anniversary of the diamonds exhibition.

The Eau de Toilette follows this year; inspired by this homage to a forgotten chapter of the Chanel legacy it is described as a delicate powdery floral.

1932 centers on the ingredient jasmine, for which the house of Chanel is reputed to hold particularly exclusive harvesting rights in Grasse. The floral accord is said to have been worked upon, petal after petal, chiseled thanks to that other luxurious floral, iris. Vetiver and musks anchor the perfume.

Price: 130€ for 75 ml.

Via Marie-ClaireElleElle France

A bottle of 1932 was recently offered for sale on eBay. Here is a photo of the ingredients listed on the box:

Chanel 1932

The box adds to the possible list of ingredients. Between the notes mentioned on the Scented Salamander and those from the box, we seem to have:

Jasmine, vetiver, musk, coumarin, cloves (ie, eugenol), cinnamon (?), citrus (lemon and lime?) and some other technical things.

Those are some interesting notes. Some, like eugenol, I was previously aware of but the rest were too technical to mean anything to me. So, I decided to do some further detective work. From my understanding, eugenol (an essential oil found in cloves) is one of the main foundations of my beloved Opium and its use has been strictly limited in terms of quantity due to fears of it causing health problems in high doses. The Reuters article that was the foundation of my post on 2013 perfume changes, IFRA and the EU stated:

When it was launched in 1977, the original Opium was full of eugenol and also contained linalool, and limonene found in citruses. In large doses, Eugenol can cause liver damage, while oxidized linalool can cause exzema and prolonged exposure to pure limonene can irritate the skin.

Obviously, no perfume in 2013 will have any of those ingredients in anything remotely close to dangerous quantities. Not a chance in hell. Still, it’s interesting that Chanel’s 1932 will contain at least 3 of Opium’s more iffy notes: eugenol, linalool and limonene. Frankly, and speaking only for myself, I couldn’t care less if it means that 1932 will smell something like Opium!

Farnesol seems to be a similar target of IFRA attention. According to the Lisa Lise blog, it is one of those ingredients that IFRA is concerned enough by to mandate a sort of disclaimer notice on perfumes containing it. She states that farnesol is:

One of the 26
In perfumery, farnesol is used to anchor and enhance the components of a perfume. Because it is a key ingredient in perfumes (and therefore a possible allergen), it is one of the 26 specific fragrance ingredients that have to be declared according to the EU cosmetic directive.

[…] [Y]ou’ll find it in as a component of citronella, lemongrass, tuberose, rose (and more). It’s a versatile, controversial and complex ingredient.

Cinnamyl alcohol is another substance that, like bergamot and other ingredients, IFRA restricts in terms of quantity. According to Wikipedia, it can come from peru balsam, storax or cinnamon leaves, and its smell is “described as ‘sweet, balsam, hyacinth, spicy, green, powdery, cinnamic.'”

Alpha-isomethyl ionone is yet another IFRA-restricted ingredient that needs to be mentioned. I read on a number of sites that IFRA banned its use in perfumery, but research seems to indicate that that is an incorrect claim. Instead, as a few people have noted, it’s only its quantity which has been restricted. One Basenoter, Irina, also states that its use is permitted so long as there is a disclosure or notice on the box. She mentions that it is “a wonderful violet and orris root smelling material.”

Going down the list of ingredients, linalool is an essential oil which the Aroma Library classifies as a floral scent. It describes linalool as: “Fresh, floral, lavender, bergamot, coriander. Used in a wide variety of perfume’s. [sic] floral bouquet.”

According to the BASF, geraniol is an “aroma chemical for a floral and deep scent with a warm rose note.”

So, if you’re still with me, it seems that — based on all the various sources — the notes to Chanel’s “1932” are possibly:

Jasmine, rose, some possible rose enhancers (farnesol), bergamot (or lavender or coriander), cinnamon, cloves, violet or orris/iris, coumarin (hay), musk and possibly vetiver.

Again, I’m not going through the ingredients because I am personally concerned about allergens. I’m not. For myself, not even remotely. Plus, to me, learning the chemistry terms and the technical details of perfume is a bit like finding out how a sausage or hot-dog is made; I prefer just to eat it. In short, I’m merely trying to get a bloody clue of what’s in the damn perfume since Chanel refused or failed to answer my questions.

That said, I have to admit, I find it incredibly sad how many wonderful and key ingredients are the source of IFRA restrictions. Yes, they haven’t banned the use of the ingredients flat-out, but the quantities are so reduced nowadays that one has to wonder what “1932” would have been like if it had been made in…. well, 1932.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the sneak peek at Chanel’s magnificent diamond jewelry and at “1932,” along with my attempts at playing amateur perfume detective. If you’re interested, I can get the perfume review up sooner rather than later and without waiting for some sort of official press release on the subject. Have a good week!

[Update: My review of 1932.]

26 thoughts on “Sneak Peek – Chanel’s 1932 Collection: Fine Jewels & The 1932 Perfume

    • Thank you, dear Lucas! I’m hoping to try it soon, but I think I may do another Chanel from the Exclusif line first. Perhaps Sycomore or 28 La Pausa. So many perfumes, so little time. 😀

          • I love seeing how we all approach and react to perfumes. I think our differences are a huge part of the fun! 😀 I think you and I have polar opposite tastes, as I like stronger, more spiced or incense fragrances, while you seem to like much lighter ones. Like the Ambre de Merveilles which you adore and which… well, I don’t. You hate patchouli and frankincense, I adore them. You like lavender and powder, I stay away. I think that’s pretty cool, to be honest. Plus, between the two of us, we pretty much cover the spectrum of scents — though we both stay away from soapy ones, I think. LOL. The best part, though, in my opinion, is getting a good sense of another’s perfume taste. It makes us friends of sort, even though we’re separated by thousands of miles and many hours. *hugs*

          • I think it’s great to have different perfume style. This way it’s definitely more funny and bloggers usually review fragrances according to their preferences so we cover different notes and perfume families that way.
            Making friends through blogging is a great thing, especially when someone on the other side of the screen shares the passion. Hugs for you too.

            My new review is coming up tomorrow morning (in your time you’ll be probably still asleep?)

    • Thank you, dear Ferris. I like research at times because it’s like a jigsaw puzzle or detective work. I just wish I didn’t have to guess quite so much at what exactly and precisely is in this damn perfume! At least it sounds much more interesting now with the cloves and cinnamon than back when I had the impression that it was just a powdery jasmine scent!

  1. The line of jewerly is extremely eye catching and certainly stands out. I can tell the pieces were intricately designed and the end result, nothing short of breathtaking. Who wouldn’t want to be covered in all those platinum set diamonds and cultured pearls! I know I wouldn’t mind at all! LOL

    • I certainly wouldn’t either! I absolutely adore that diamond watch on the black velvet! Coming out with these outrageously expensive pieces at the height of the Great Depression must have been pretty controversial, but then Coco always love controversy. 🙂

  2. The jewelry is fabulous- I want the Celeste brooch, and the leaf earrings, and the star headpiece, and- well, a girl can dream, can’t she?

    • We can dream together. You, me and half the jewelry-loving population. Did you look at the full 44 or 46 page gallery? I loved the super-long, elegant dangling diamond rope necklace with a tassle! I wasn’t too crazy about one of the bracelets that seemed to drip long strands onto the hand though. I wanted to post more photos but I had to remind myself that I was theoretically posting to talk about perfume as well! LOL.

  3. I think you have found your second calling as an investigator! I have yet to try any of the Chanel Les Exclusifs, but have heard nothing but raves about Coromandel which I thought it was funny that Lucas didn’t like it. Since I love my patchouli, it is currently sitting on my “must try” list. As for the jewelry, magnificent, but I would rather have the juice! xoxoxox Steve

    • Thank you, Mr. Hound. Between my blasted curiosity, my passion for details, and my tendencies towards OCD, investigator may be a definite career path. 😀 I just need to find more people who will put up with my tendency to go down off-beaten paths when I’m on the hunt for details. *grin* (You have no idea how weird even *I* found myself to be when looking up chemical compounds and going to chemical company websites in an attempt to find out just what hell was in this bloody perfume!)

      I’m with you on the patchouli love. Do you have a sample of Coromandel? I’m still trying to figure out what to send you beyond the ones I’ve told you about already. Every time I think I may have some niche perfume that might appeal to you, you seem to already have a sample. LOL. I think I have about 1/3 of a vial of Coromandel left, so I’d be happy to include that in the package if you don’t have it already.

        • Aha! Good! I just hunted it down and the 1 ml vial looks almost all full! Yay! I have samples of some other things (like Chanel’s Cuir de Russie) where there is very little left and that makes me hesitate to send them to you but there is enough for a one time sniff and try, I think. Do you have Borneo 1834 since you are a patchouli fan? Also, any interest in some TF stuff?

          I promise, I will get my act together enough to start decanting very soon. I just need to get over my utter fear of the process, dig out the box which arrived late last week and do a few test runs.

  4. Chanel was definitely ahead of her time as she was a trend setter. The half mannequin is provocatively dressed (if the dress was cut any lower you would see nipples of lack thereof.I.e. Barbie chest) and the designs are over the top, but beautifully done though.

  5. Okay I am pea green with envy! And I can’t wait for your review. From your incredible investigative work I am sensing (Or hoping) 1932 will fall somewhere in the uni-sex area. As if that really matters to me. LOL. So I just can’t wait for your review.
    The jewelry is fabulous of course and I have several wonderful books on great jewelry houses and those play major roles. The watch is to me magnificent and could even be great as a lapel brooch for a woman or a man.
    Thanks for the wonderful diamond jubilee of a post!

    • Awww, thank you, Lanier. I’m so glad you liked it. It’s funny to me how all my non-perfume obsessed friends are dying over the jewels while the hardcore perfumistas are like, “Yeah, fine, the jewels are nice, but let’s talk about that PERFUME!!” ROFL. We’re a funny, obsessed crowd, aren’t we? I saw that NST put up one of the preview posts today for 1932 and they had far less details than I did, so I’m a little proud of myself at this moment. 🙂

  6. Pingback: Preliminary Review – Chanel Les Exclusifs 1932: Sparkling Jasmine | Kafkaesque

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