It's no secret that Boucheron is a favourite among the KaterinaPerez.com team. The brand has been stewarded by Claire Choisne, who has served as its Artistic Director since 2011 and typically produces two High Jewellery collections yearly. The first tends to launch around January and usually dives into the Boucheron archives to reinterpret a theme from the past that's relevant to the Maison's history. The second bursts onto the scene for Paris Haute Couture Week in July 2022 and is always an exciting expression of creativity and craftsmanship. Occasionally, we will see some pieces ahead of time at the Cannes Film Festival, which is always an exciting glimpse of what's to come.
The Boucheron Histoire de Style Like a Queen High Jewellery Collection is inspired by an Art Deco double clip brooch owned by Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. This aquamarine and diamond piece is so iconic that it has inspired a new, modernised series of jewels, including cuff bracelets, rings, necklaces and brooches that put a colourful, monochromatic twist on the Upper-Class English aesthetic. Our favourite piece? The Mega Pink brooch with pink tourmalines, pink lacquer and diamonds, which is closely followed by the Green Garden ring with a 6.25-carat cushion-cut Zambian emerald.
To say this range blew us away is an understatement. The concept of 'elsewhere' is brought to life in five sets of jewels - Sand Woman, Leaf Woman, Earth Woman, Pebble Woman, and Volcano Man – and each one imagines what the quintessential person from each terrain or environment might look like. For example, Sand Woman uses natural shells and ratan to evoke desert dunes, while the Pebble Woman set uses hollowed and polished white stones injected with diamonds to look like treasures washed along a shoreline.
Histoire de Style New Maharajahs pays homage to Bhupinder Singh, the Maharajah of Patiala, who was an important VIP for the Maison during the height of the Art Deco era. In 1928, he commissioned Boucheron to create the largest special order in the history of Place Vendôme, arriving in Paris with 40 servants and requiring 35 suites to house his steel safes full of diamonds, rubies, emeralds and pearls. Boucheron created 149 designs in just six months, and some of these iconic creations were the starting point for Claire Choisne's collection. A highlight is the New Maharajah Necklace set with nine Colombian cushion-cut emeralds for 38.73 carats, diamonds, rock crystal and emeralds in platinum and white gold.
Experimenting with unusual and challenging materials is one of Boucheron's greatest strengths. In this 2021 High Jewellery collection, the Maison infused nine suites of jewels – Opalescence, Ondes, Illusion, Chromatique, Faisceaux, Halo, Laser, Prime and Holographique - with holographic rock crystal to capture different optical effects in action. The rock crystal is sprayed with powdered silver and titanium oxides to create a shimmering finish, and when combined with holographic ceramic, it looks futuristic and colourful all at once. The highlight of the collection is, in my opinion, the Opalescence necklace with a 71.69-carat white opal cabochon from Ethiopia, an additional 46.91-carat pear-shaped opal and a swimming, plique-à-jour betta fish that appears to glide in gold and powdered opal. This main element, which can be worn alone as a brooch, is set on a cacophony of opal bead strands with a total weight of 1,518.78 carats.
Paying tribute to one of the most extraordinarily creative times in jewellery history, the Boucheron Art Déco High Jewellery collection presents Claire Choisne's take on Deco architecture, materials, geometry, styling, and everything in between. It's not just a retelling of the past; what Boucheron presented in 2021 was purposefully pushing the boundaries of unisex jewellery by creating pieces that all genders could wear in different ways. For example, the Ruban Diamants choker can be worn as a bandeau or a belt. I appreciated this collection's lovely pops of green gems, especially the Col Émeraudes necklace with 28 emeralds of 24.59 carats set in rock crystal and bordered by black onyx in white gold and platinum.
Dare we say some of our favourite High Jewellery pieces of all time? This collection of 67 pieces was a study of tranquillity, blue skies, and the gentle sway of grass on a relaxing holiday. It took the concepts of calm, peace and getting lost in nature and channelled them into unique and unusual designs. Boucheron's designers and jewellers worked on Goutte de Ciel (A Drop of Sky) first because it features a quirky and delicate material – aerogel – encased in a rock crystal frame. But you can't truly appreciate this offering without studying two pieces in particular: the Fenêtre Sur Ciel necklace with airbrushed clouds atop hexagons of diamonds and mother of pearl (plus a 35-carat tanzanite cabochon) and the Nuage en Apesanteur necklace with more than 4,000 diamonds and glass beads arranged on 10,000 titanium threads in a cloud-like structure.
In 1879, Frédéric Boucheron famously presented a necklace in the shape of a question mark. Necklaces were notoriously difficult to put on in the late 19th century, so Boucheron developed a piece without a clasp that could be easily slid around the neck without losing any of its sparkling appeal. The shape could be easily reinterpreted, too, with lotus flowers, grapes, poppy petals, peacock feathers and snake motifs all appearing over time. In 2020, the design was given a modern overhaul by Claire Choisne, who presented eight magnificent variations, including an ivy version (Lierre de Paris) and a contemporary pearl iteration. The Plume de Paon XL peacock feather necklace with diamonds is perhaps the most ostentatious piece in the collection, but I have a penchant for the Nuage de Fleurs piece because of its spellbinding use of mother of pearl.
At the end of 2018, the restoration work on the historic Boucheron building on Place Vendôme was completed after 18 months. New shop floors, VIP rooms and even a suite with a view of the Eiffel Tower - which can be booked through the Ritz Hotel - were opened in the redeveloped boutique building. The 53-piece Paris vu du 26 High Jewellery collection was launched to celebrate this blend of jewellery and architecture. This collection has some unexpected designs, like a titanium parrot-inspired ear cuff with sapphires, aquamarine and beryl. But there are also more expected geometric creations that are utterly timeless, like the 26V necklace and ring with cacholong, onyx, rock crystal and diamonds. The multi-wear Verriere necklace with emerald beaded tassels in gold and titanium also stood out for lovers of colour.
For its 160th anniversary, Boucheron launched Nature Triomphante, formed of three lines: Naturaliste, Surrealiste, and Alchemiste. The latter contained the nine 'Eternal Flowers' rings that were created using real flower petals and requiring some of the most complex and secretive jewellery-making techniques the Maison has ever overseen. The Lierre Givre necklace, for example, was 'translated' into High Jewellery form from a live tendril of ivy, using around 14,000 diamonds in the process! However, I always had a soft spot for the hyper-feminine Nuage de Fleurs necklace with a 42.96-carat cushion-cut pink tourmaline, mother of pearl petals and pave-set diamonds in rose gold.
Again, Boucheron invited us to dive into its history books in 2017 with the launch of the Hiver Impérial (Imperial Winter) collection. The Maison was the first French business to have a presence in Moscow in 1897, and it sought to highlight this connection with a snow and ice-themed High Jewellery presentation. When the collection launched at Paris Couture Week, the room was transformed into a snowy forest that helped to set the scene and take us back in time. There was a real sense of romance and femininity in this collection, especially with suites like Les Femmes Boréales (the Northern Women), L'Anneau d'Or (the Golden Ring), and La Lumière de Nuit (the Night Light). A memorable piece is the Femmes Boréales Baïkal necklace set with a 78.33-carat Santa Maria oval-shaped aquamarine, moonstones and cultured pearls, paved with diamonds and further aquamarines in white gold.
This High Jewellery collection focused on honouring Boucheron's history, specifically its original flagship within the Hôtel de Nocé at 26 Place Vendôme. The collection had three core suites - Nature Triomphante, Architecture Inspirée and Porté Couture. The first was an ode to nature with animal-themed cocktail rings, jewelled orchids and ears of wheat making an appearance. The second set played on Art Deco architecture and geometry, while the third revisited the bows, drapery and haute couture fashion that Paris has long been known for. The ultimate piece in the collection had to be the Porté Couture 18K gold cape, decorated with an 81-carat pear-shaped citrine drop pendant.
High Jewellery isn't a destination; it's an ongoing journey. Each chapter builds on the next and helps to explain a Maison's signature style and personality. Boucheron is a fantastic example of how collections evolve, but the core ethos of the brand stays the same. It's always exciting when we receive an invitation to see what's next, and we look forward to sharing that with you.