Boucheron’s Creative Director Claire Choisne has dared to change the world of high jewelery. From the hallowed haute joaillerie ateliers, Choisne is creating jewels for twenty first century earthlings and beyond by deftly fusing high tech materials with centuries old craftsmanship. As unexpected as aliens landing in Place Vendôme, the Holographique Carte Blanche collection deploys cutting-edge materials such as holographic coatings and film made from micro particles of precious metals to create jewels that challenge our concepts beauty. Solid forms melt into liquid, light moves in mysterious new ways and nothing is as it seems in this euphoric collection beamed in from a brighter universe.
The Holographique Carte Blanche collection follows on from Choisne’s previous high jewelery collections such as Contemplation that plundered NASA’s stock room for materials such as Aerogel that found itself not insulating a rocket, but rubbing shoulders with majestic diamonds and rock crystal. This collection follows the thread of the work of two very different men: the Mexican architect Luis Barragan famous for his brilliant use of colour and simple shapes and the Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson known for his explorations in light and hues.
For all its futuristic force, Choisne was inspired by the simple beauty of light in its many forms and its ability to transform a moment: be it ripples of light flitting across the water or a fleeting a sun-ray diffracted into myriad colors through a windowpane. By capturing the deconstruction of light, all colors are revealed and each jewel shimmers with the full rainbow brilliance of holographics. However groundbreaking these jewels may appear to be, they are true to the style of Boucheron, as Choisne links them back to the house archives using materials such as rock crystal and themes such as animals.
The brilliance of Holographique is its focus on light, the most basic force of nature, and each jewel creates dazzling effects the likes of which we have never seen before. In the futuristic Holographique necklace (above), the rock crystal fins that fan out around the neck seem to be illuminated from within. At one angle they shimmer brighter than neon, at another they have a tender, dusky luminosity.
In Prisme, high tech meets traditional craft. The rock crystal ring (below) radiates color with a mind warping intensity thanks to both the holographic coating applied to the rock as well as the notches hand-carved into the back of the stone magnifying the play of light.
With one eye to the future and the other rooted in the earth, the petals of the Chromatique rings (below) were scanned from freshly plucked peonies and pansies to perfectly mimic their delicate shape. These were then molded into white ceramic onto which micro particles of precious metals were sprayed on at high temperature. The juxtaposition of the hyper-real holographic flowers and earth-born precious stones such as aquamarines and pink and mint green tourmalines create an otherworldly beauty.
One of my favorite pieces is the Halo bracelet where I can most clearly see the influence of the artist Olafur Eliasson. Bands of light flash around the bracelet as if on a pixelated screen with a joyous luminosity, a semaphore for a new approach to the most traditional luxury product that is moving ahead of its time.
But not all the jewels are about pushing the boundaries of material science. Star of the show is the transformable Opalescence necklace is very clearly in the tradition of Boucheron animal jewels and relies on age-old crafts including plique a jour enamel from which the rippling fins of a betta fish are made. The life-like fish skims around a 46.91-carat Ethiopian opal all suspended from an asymmetric Y-shaped necklace of opal beads, making this a thoroughly contemporary interpretation of a Boucheron house classic. The fish can be removed and worn as a single ear cuff or with the opal as a brooch. Outsize Australian and Ethiopian opals nestle amongst the soft contours of gold set with a riot of different colored gemstones for a new take on the traditional cocktail ring.
Claire Choisne and Boucheron are riding high on the back of a new wave of jewelry that she has almost single-handedly created by daring to look to the future, with an eye to the best of the past. High jewelry has broken through a new force field and there is no turning back.
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