What to do with a heritage jewelry house with over 160 years of design history? The answer is to break every rule while creating your own playbook of what is precious, all the while paying homage to the exquisite design history that came before. It’s a delicate balance and one that Claire Choisne of Boucheron has perfected. Like the natural diamond itself, Boucheron has a long and storied history replete with romance, artistry, and technological advances. Claire Choisne, part of the Maison for over a decade, has sought as creative director to bring a lightness of touch and more than a hint of the off kilter to breathe life and excitement, as well as humor, into the luxurious designs of the Maison. The pictured collar in rattan and natural diamonds, part of the newest high jewelry collection shown this July, is the consummate design of her stylistic philosophy. Here, she explains exclusively to Only Natural Diamonds the backstory of this extraordinary piece.
You challenged yourself to work with both fragile and ephemeral materials: was this a message?
Claire Choisne: I am lucky I’ve been in this industry for over 25 years and at Boucheron for more than 10 years now. Looking back at what I did, I realize how important it is for me to question and understand what precious is today in high jewelry because I, most of the time, disagree with others. For me, there is something around the emotion. For this collection especially, I wanted to show that not only big stones and shiny designs are precious, I wanted to show that nature can provide wonderful raw materials that are precious, too. It’s important to be aware that preciousness is all around us, even in these fragile and/or ephemeral materials. So, I bring them into this collection but also previous ones such as Fleurs Eternelles. Working with these raw materials is an ode to mother nature.
This piece features an amazing center stone. What came first in this piece, the stone or the design?
CC: The design, and even before that the creative idea, was the starting point. The idea of using rattan and making an impressive faceplate out of rattan and diamonds. The center diamond is a touch of light that came last. This is the part in which the clasp is hidden. Just lift the diamond to open the necklace.
How did you preserve the rattan to last as long as the diamond?
CC: Rattan is by nature a strong and resistant material, but we were not sure that its color or visual aspect would last over time. Like other raw materials in this collection, we subjected it to the strictest quality tests in the industry and we realized that using perfume, for example, could alter the necklace and the visual aspect of the rattan. We decided to protect the material with a secret material that allows us to keep the color and the matte aspect, which was important for me.
Why is it important for you to work with natural diamonds?
CC: That’s a really good question. I like the idea that it’s a gift from the earth. And the notion of time: the number of years, million, billion years needed to create diamonds.