Boucheron’s Creative Director Claire Choisne presented the Maison’s latest high jewellery collection via a virtual presentation earlier this year. The collection “Contemplation” was inspired by the beauty of the sky and brought together traditional craftsmanship and new technology to create really special one-of-a-kind pieces.
Claire Choisne said of the seventy-seven piece collection “For years, I have wanted to capture the ephemeral, to convey the poetry of present moments, the purity of the sky, light effects. The jeweller’s art is about stopping time in its tracks, making instants eternal when, by their very essence, they are not”.
This collection is very personal to the Creative Director who has long had a fascination with the sky and the chosen name “Contemplation” suggests a very emotional approach. Choisne worked hard to bring new techniques and materials to the table that have never been seen before in the world of high jewellery. Materials were sculpted to represent the true magic moments of the sky, from the precise second a droplet of raindrops from the sky, to the weightlessness of a cloud, to the lightness of air.
For the collection, the Maison developed new materials and even used a special substance used in space by NASA to gather stardust. This mystery matter – 99.8% composed of air and silica – varying in colour according to the light is enclosed in a shell of rock crystal set with diamonds. It’s unlike anything else in the world and really gives a unique touch to this collection.
Claire Choisne joined Boucheron in 2011 and was immediately inspired by the Maison’s 160-year archives. She draws her inspiration from the history of the house but reworks it in contemporary ways to create pieces that are truly unique. Her original style combines innovation and originality but doesn’t forget the tradition and values of the brand. Choisne likes to work with unusual combinations of materials and has introduced unexpected mediums such as sand or marble into high jewellery. Her pieces are wearable but also unexpected – perfect for today’s modern woman. Here we find out more about the latest high jewellery collection, as well as discovering what inspires Choisne to create such unconventional, unique pieces.
What was your inspiration for the high jewellery collection?
I visited the Naoshima islands in Japan. It’s a cluster of three islands where you can find art pieces in an open-air museum. I spent three or four days there and took time to contemplate and it was so peaceful. Two installations in particular had openings in the ceiling so you could see the sky; it was so pure and it was great for me to spend some time there. I was also inspired by the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia; these are the largest salt flats in the world. Of course, salt is white, but when it rains it starts to look like a mirror and it reflects the sky. So again it’s a really pure and calm place. I haven’t had the chance to visit yet, but I would love to go as soon as possible. Then the last inspiration is perhaps more personal, as we are always in a rush, running around and working hard, so I wanted to take time to calm down. So I went to my house in Portugal where i’s surrounded by a pine forest and it’s quite near to the ocean, I go there often to contemplate and observe the nature around me, and this is how I came to choose to work with the theme of contemplation.
What is a lesson that you have learnt from the recent challenging period that we have faced?
I have discovered this idea of really focusing on what is important. During the lockdown we were all scared and it was quite stressful, but at the same time we had time to think and for me, it was a good time to reflect on what was important for me, what I should focus on and what I should forget! I took the time to appreciate everything in life; the simple things and I focused on taking time to be calmer. I work in a creative world but you can spend too much time doing things that aren’t about creation, so I want to start balancing this a bit better.
How are you staying close to your clients this year with the challenges the world is facing?
I haven’t had the chance to see a lot of our clients yet. I don’t know if I’ll be able to travel, but I’m crossing my fingers because spending time with clients and talking about the creation of the collection is important in getting final feedback on the work that we have done. So I hope to meet them very soon.
If you were to design a piece of jewellery inspired by the Middle East what would be the first thing that comes to mind?
It would be inspired by the women from the Middle East that I’ve had the chance to meet. The thing I love about Middle Eastern women is how they truly love jewellery and they love to wear it. They like to wear bold pieces and as a designer that’s great as it doesn’t limit you with your design. I would use that to make something quite spectacular and opulent with femininity.
What in your opinion sets Boucheron apart from other brands?
I try not to look too much to other Maisons to be sure that I’m not influenced by them. If I had to find something that’s different for us, it would be the freedom that we have as a brand. I have the freedom to create, even if I come up with crazy ideas!
A Maison like Boucheron has a long history and legacy – as a designer and creative, what is a period that inspires you the most from this history?
Without any hesitation, it would be the first pieces of Boucheron made by Frederic Boucheron himself. I love the poetry of those pieces. The Question Mark necklace, the Ivy necklace, the Feather – the way he used nature – it was amazing. These are pieces that I would still love to wear today. I think it’s the goal of every jeweller to create a piece that is still beautiful after all this time. The pieces were very innovative at the time and they became something timeless, so for me, this is the perfect work for a jewellery designer. I am so happy to add some of my creativity to this Maison.
We always see elements of nature present in Boucheron’s design, but what really inspires you and what are the moments when you’re at your most creative state of mind?
We work a lot with nature because it’s in our DNA but also because it’s something that I love personally. I spend a lot of time in Portugal surrounded by nature and I think that is the moment when I’m most creative and inspired. When I’m there, ideas pop into my head easily. These moments when I’m travelling are the times that are the best for my creativity.
What is a favourite stone that you like to work with?
I don’t normally have a favourite stone because for me it’s really important to start with the idea or creative concept and then choose the stone that allows me to express this idea. But if I had to choose something that I work with again and again it would be the association between rock crystals and diamonds. Together this is the best combination and it gives modernity to the pieces as well as a visual lightness with its transparency.
What is a stone that you haven’t worked with yet that you’re interested to see in your creations?
It’s not easy for me to answer because I have had the chance to work with a lot of stones! But actually, for the Skydrop necklace in this collection or the necklace we made last year with the magical stone, we created our own stones. So maybe the one I would love to work with is one that I will imagine.
Who would you still love to see wearing one of your creations?
That is super difficult! It would be a woman with a strong character and style but at the same time; elegant.
What is something that you would still like to do at Boucheron that you haven’t done yet?
That’s the pleasure I have working at Boucheron because each year we dream of new ideas with freedom. I can’t say too much, but during the lockdown I worked with my team on the first ideas of the collection for 2022. I can promise it will be something exciting!
The Quatre ring is now an icon – in your opinion how do you achieve creating an object of desire like this?
Being recognisable is one of the key elements, but also matching really well with the philosophy of Boucheron. In the sense that this ring is made with all the iconic codes of the Maison, but putting it all together, creates something that is very modern. So it’s the balance between the past and the present.
And would it be the same for the Serpent Bohème?
I love the Serpent Bohème and I think it’s cool because you can have these two styles that are totally different but you can also wear them together. For me, Serpent Bohème is about femininity. It’s a super line for us and it’s a good balance between power and modernity and femininity and vintage.
What does elegance mean to you?
It’s something about the attitude and the confidence that you have in yourself. As well as being a woman who has perfect style.
Is there anything happening in the high jewellery industry that you think is wrong?
I wouldn’t say it’s wrong but something that I think is important that I don’t see everywhere is about the purpose of jewellery. For me and for Boucheron we create jewellery to be worn and not to be stored in a safe. So I want to see jewellery that is wearable. Also sometimes it can become more about the weight or size of the stone than about the poetry or creating something meaningful.
If you had one wish, what would it be?
Never stop dreaming.