The scintillating world of jewelry and the magnificent realm of couture usually share space on red carpets, celebrity wardrobes, and runways. But there is more in common between the two than meets the eye. From the painstakingly meticulous process of affixing every gem or embellishment, the precision it requires, to the artistic designs, the intricate universes of couture and jewelry often collide in the most beautiful way. This rings especially true in the case of Boucheron, who, unbeknownst to many, is rooted in the world of couture.
Louis Boucheron, the father of the Maison’s founder, Frédéric Boucheron, was a skilled draper specializing in silk and lace. Frédéric Boucheron, born in 1830, was influenced by his father’s profession, significantly impacting his perspective on crafting jewelry. Fueled by a shared desire for elegant and moldable embellishments, he dedicated his efforts throughout the 19th century to fashioning gold and gemstones into components inspired by the world of couture.
For her latest High Jewelry collection for the Maison, Creative Director Claire Choisne looks back at Boucheron’s couture heritage for inspiration.
Choisne elaborates on the rich influences from the past, stating, “Bows, knits, grosgrain, pompoms, and lace are plentiful in our archives.” In this fourth installment of ‘Histoire de Style,’ she chose to delve into the couture theme, bringing to life 24 extraordinary high jewelry creations.
Aptly titled ‘The Power of Couture,’ the new Boucheron High Jewelry collection prioritizes a consistent use of materials – rock crystal and diamonds – creating a monochromatic theme. This approach moderates the ornate nature often associated with traditional gold-tone embellishments and imparts a visual lightness to the designs.
Choisne highlights the challenge faced in crafting this collection, aiming to imbue the rigid gold and stones with the characteristics of fabric. In a testament to the Maison’s savoir-faire, Boucheron’s artisans successfully transformed rock crystal and diamonds into jewelry sets that mirror the sophistication and flexibility of the rarest silk fabrics.
Medallions–usually worn close to the heart–find a fresh interpretation in the form of 15 pendants. Meticulously shaped by Boucheron’s skilled artisans, the pendants are frosted with white gold, rock crystal, and diamonds. The grosgrain ribbon texture, engraved using glyptic art, allows the medallions to detach and transform into elegant brooches with diamond edges. Complemented by a pair of clip earrings and a ring set with a 2.04-carat D VVS2 diamond, this versatile ensemble demanded an impressive 2,230 labor hours.
The journey through Boucheron’s ‘Power of Couture’ High Jewelry collection continues with a breathtaking choker, a modern interpretation of knitwear chevron patterns. Composed of individually sand-blasted rock crystal links and interspersed with diamond-set links, this five-strand cascade is a testament to meticulous craftsmanship, requiring 1,070 labor hours. The central button, adorned with diamonds and a 2.01-carat D VVS2 diamond, adds a touch of sophistication. A coordinating cuff bracelet, set with a 1.02-carat round DVVS1 diamond, completes this remarkable ensemble.
Epaulettes, traditionally associated with shoulder broadening in couture, undergo an interesting transformation in Boucheron’s High Jewelry collection. Inspired by a headdress from 1902 designed for Mary De Teck, Princess of Wales, these diamond-spiraled épaulettes crafted in white gold pave the way for versatile styling, doubling as bracelets. This unique design, demanding 960 labor hours, also extends to a modern tiara and matching ear pendants, each radiating timeless elegance.
The grosgrain ribbon takes center stage in a graphic reinterpretation, paying homage to a couture classic—the bow. The necklace, composed of 435 hand-cut frosted baguette-cut rock crystals, intricately links elements of matte frosted rock crystal with the brilliance of diamonds. This versatile piece can be worn in six different ways, transforming into a brooch or shoulder adornment. The central bow features a dazzling pear-shaped F VVS2 diamond of 4.05 carats. The set, encompassing two rings, is a masterpiece that required an extensive 2,600 labor hours.
A nod to the ceremonial costume’s rigid collar comes to life in a lace-inspired necklace. Drawing inspiration from a 1900s tiara crafted by the Maison, the collar unfolds into a mesh of gold and light, offering three distinct possibilities. The ensemble includes earrings featuring 662 round diamonds, contributing to a total labor investment of 1,900 hours.
A set of 15 white gold buttons are adorned with diamonds and rock crystal. Versatile in application, these contemporary buttons can be worn individually or combined for varied arrangements. The set harmonizes with a ring and adjustable-length ear pendants, embodying elegance in a mere 120 labor hours.
Boucheron’s reinterpretation of the aiguillette, a braided decoration in ceremonial attire, takes the form of a breathtaking necklace of braided white gold, rock crystal, and diamonds. This unique piece splits into two brooches, replicating the traditional drape of the aiguillette. Pendants paved with diamonds covered in rock crystal enhance sparkle while coordinating pendant earrings offer flexibility in wear. The creation of this versatile necklace, boasting a 2.11-carat round E VVS2 diamond, required 750 labor hours.
Finally, the collection pays homage to nature with fern-inspired embroideries. Garnished with diamonds on a white gold frame, these leaves transform into brooches or hairpieces, capturing the essence of movement shaped by the wind. The set extends to a white gold and diamond fern tiara, as well as two pairs of matching earrings. The entire ensemble, an ode to Frédéric Boucheron’s admiration for the fern, reflects 980 labor hours of meticulous craftsmanship.