A crystal-clear brilliance and a sleight of hand with a surreal touch are at play in Boucheron’s new high jewelry that brings a smile to the lips.
After an 18 month refurbishment, Boucheron’s flagship 26 Place Vendôme home opens its doors to ‘Vu du 26’ a new high jewelry collection that celebrates the founder, Frédéric Boucheron’s boldness and originality. In 1898 as the first jeweler to make the move to Place Vendôme, Frédéric Boucheron chose the corner location over the smaller premises of rue de la Paix, where the light flooding in on both sides through the double-height windows illuminated the brilliance and size of his precious stones.
‘Vu du 26’ alludes to the Maison’s address at 26 Place Vendôme, just across from the then-brand-new brand new Ritz Hotel as well as a panoply of whimsically different viewpoints on Paris. From Place Vendôme and beyond, the jewels reference the architecture, history and even the animals of the city. But this is no pastiche of Paris icons.
A soaring bird’s eye view of the glass roof of the Grand Palais becomes a removable clip that adorns the Verriere emerald tassel necklace. Like many of the jewels, this outsized wonder can be worn in different ways by altering the length and taking off the tassel or the diamond bar of the jewel.
It’s all about perspective or ‘Vu’; with feet placed firmly on the ground, the Acanthus necklace encourages us to look up at the carved stone leaf fronds that adorn the capitals of Paris’ elegant Doric columns. The very same fronds now curl around the neck dressed in shimmering diamonds. The question mark shape of the necklace is a Boucheron house classic that now takes on a contemporary look. In another necklace of the same inspiration, the same resolute columns that hold up Paris’s great monuments become an elongated pearl tassel, remarkably lifelike as the drapes of pearls cleverly mimic the fluted marble. Rigid yet fluid, the pearl column, a contradiction in itself, plays games with our eyes.
Carved out of frosted crystal – another Boucheron house specialty – the famous horses of the Opéra Garnier are shrunk down to bracelet and ring proportions. Despite their reduced dimensions, they maintain their sculptural solemnity. Look closely and you will see that their manes are bristles of baguette diamonds.
Or you could be looking out of the windows over Place Vendôme at its rain-slicked cobblestones that reflect back an almost white light as captured in the Pavé de Cristal bib necklace made from frosted crystal and baguette diamonds. A raindrop shaped diamond trickles from its tip that can be detached and worn in a ring.
The emerald cut, which is also the house’s logo, and the shape of Place Vendôme viewed from above, takes on monumental dimensions. The Duo Taille Émeraud rings that span two fingers are ambitious in their boldness, matched by the beaming brilliance of the 32-carat emerald-cut heliodor beryls tightly framed by a black onyx border.
Onyx, so popular during the first decades of Boucheron’s residency in Place Vendôme, makes another appearance in the Perspective cuff bracelet. The dense black backdrop of onyx dramatically offsets the geometric Art Deco pattern of diamonds that surround a 20.45-carat Ceylon sapphire. Here, perfectly matched to the cat’s eyes.
The refurbishment of 26 Place Vendôme revealed the full majesty of what was previously a hôtel particulier known as the Hôtel des Nocé. Today clients and friends of the brand can spend the night surrounded by the 160-year old history of the Maison. Linking the architecture of the hotel to jewelry, the scrolls of the gilded moldings on the walls and ceilings of the Salón des Fiancés are transformed into the Armoiries necklace. Like many of the jewels in this collection, it can be worn as a necklace that reaches from neck to navel or as a choker or brooch. A 32.22-carat Imperial topaz holds court at its center radiating a golden glow echoed by the many strands of yellow gold chain and diamonds.
If you have ever looked down a stairwell and felt been gripped by stomach-lurching vertigo, then you will immediately understand the 26V necklace and ring. Mind-Boggling three-dimensional stone marquetry of rock crystal, onyx, and white agate mimics the black and white staircase at the heart of the Maison. Peer into it at your own peril.
No Boucheron collection would be complete without an animal and Vu du 26 brings us Wladimir 1er and 2, the house cats. The moggy comes in two versions, either with a coat of black sapphires or white diamonds and emerald eyes. Their noses are pink sapphire and they have their own gem-set collars. Out of the newly refurbished winter garden flies a parrot in the form of the Nuri earrings. Nuri perches on the top of the ear with her resplendent plumage of multi-colored sapphires, aquamarines, diamonds and heliodor beryls draping beyond the lobe. A single pear-cut aquamarine for the other ear complements this exotic asymmetric ear cuff.
Credit to: Maria Doulton
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