There’s a lot to be said about a watchmaker and jeweller whose history dates back to 1874. Piaget is renowned for its ultra-thin watches. The same attention to detail is applied to its jewellery collections – some decked in precious stones that take months to obtain.
The house started off in La Côte-aux-Fées, a small village in the Swiss part of the Jura. Georges Èdouard Piaget opened his first workshop and devoted himself to making high-precision movements for renowned watchmakers. But it was Gérald and Valentin, the founder’s grandsons, who worked on the brand’s international recognition.
Today, Piaget is a member of the Richemont Group. Piaget continuously renews itself, while preserving its heritage. “Indeed, style has to evolve to remain updated,” says Jean-Bernard Forot, Piaget Jewellery Marketing Director. “Our challenge is to remain Piaget while being inventive and daring. Our first pieces of jewellery were creative, audacious, and radiant, with a strong emphasis on gold craftsmanship and colourful gemstones, and still are today. Piaget has also expanded its offer to younger clients worldwide with more accessible jewellery such as Possession or Piaget Rose for instance.”
The jeweller announced Jessica Chastain as its ambassador in 2015, signalling an era of independent women. Piaget Possession, the first collection in which the actress appeared in, is made to be a woman’s talisman. Its tagline “turn and the world is yours” reflects both to the collection’s revolving ring and its tribute to the power of women. “To me, I love that movement, a woman can truly change her life. She can be herself, someone who is in charge of her life, and someone who takes control and constantly evolving,” says Chastain about the collection.
The ad campaign offers a new perspective on jewellery: something precious that women buy for themselves, rather than gifts from a lover. With that, Piaget wins hearts of contemporary women. “We play on a fast growing market, benefiting from the increasing purchasing power of women, with a very international approach, enriched by many historical culture, surrounded by passionate artisans and
people,” says Forot. Prestige talks to Forot in an exclusive interview about today’s jewellery industry and developing a house with a long heritage. Highlights:
How would you describe your job?
I have the chance to have an amazing job: to develop Piaget Jewellery worldwide, animate creativity, develop new collections, share our reactions with our clients and also attract the interest of new clients. Daily, I’m often simultaneously working on collections which are at very different stages of development: from the validation of new jewels that will be launched in a few months to a brainstorming on a new creative theme, or choosing gemstones for a special order.
How do you turn your ideas into jewellery creations?
Everything starts with a story or a gemstone. We always need to have an inspiration to express a new idea. Creation is essentially a personal point of view. Inspiration can come from anywhere, nature, architecture, art, fashion.
Piaget is both a jeweller and a watchmaker. How do you combine the two disciplines?
Historically, we started creating jewels as special orders for our clients wishing to pair their watch to their jewels. Since then, we have developed pieces of jewels and watches within the same collection. For example, a modern woman in her thirties will pair her turning Possession rings with her turning Possession watch. Another possibility, an elegant and glamorous woman will dazzle in her Piaget Rose earrings associated with her Piaget rose watch. In our yearly high end collection we want to surprise both men and women, in proposing different creations but from the same inspiration. Therefore during an event, both men and women can enjoy Piaget creation and style.
What makes the jewellery industry so interesting for you?
The jewellery industry is inspiring and very exciting. We play on a fast growing market, benefiting from the increasing purchasing power
of women, with a very international approach, enrich by many historical culture, surrounded by passionate artisans and people.
What’s unique about Piaget?
Piaget is a jeweler with a vibrant personality and a creative singularity. Piaget jewellery creations are driven by hedonist values, pleasure and
freedom, and express a positive vision of the world, giving birth to a radiant and daring allure. Piaget jewellery celebrates joyful people and
What are some of the signatures we can find in a high jewellery creation by Piaget?
The allure of Piaget lies in its unique style made of ornamental and stylised designs, highlighting exceptional gemstones, offering a unique savoir faire in gold treatment. We are also famous for our Manchettes, a typical maison signature and the audacity of our métier d’art expression in jewellery such as feather marquetry.
What are some of the highlights from Piaget this year?
In February, we had launched the Extremely Piaget Medium Jewellery collection, and the Sunny Side of Life High Jewellery collection in July. Extremely Piaget is a new and exclusive capsule collection, so Piaget, as it revisits its legacy and passion with surprising goldsmith expertise, mixing jewellery and watches together, which differentiates Piaget form other maisons. Sunny Side of Life, the new high jewellery collection from the Maison Piaget, is like a jubilant burst of laughter marking the start of a summer party. The kind of which Piaget has always been the life and soul, through the Piaget Society uniting charismatic talents and personalities sharing the same energy and flamboyance. A vibrancy clearly perceptible everywhere here in Palm Springs, not far from Hollywood, the source of inspiration for this collection.
What are some of the most popular Piaget jewellery items in recent times?
The Possession jewellery collection. More than a piece of jewellery, Possession is an intimate companion for today’s woman, firmly rooted in
her times and supremely confident in her choices. It is to her that Piaget dedicates an evocative and addictive jewellery ritual. A collection of iconic rings, earrings and pendant necklaces, enriched this year with bangle bracelets – to be worn alone or in generous combinations.
How do you find stones?
Our gemologists are constantly travelling the world searching for the most amazing gemstones. Due to the scarcity of exceptional gemstones, some of them may require months before we find them.
How has finding gemstones for the pieces changed?
Two major changes have shaped the gemstone market in the last years: an increasing desirability for the same type of gemstones, particularly true with the arrival of clients from the emerging markets, and a scarcity of these same gemstones which are natural material renewable on a geological scale, and not on a human scale. The rise of the demand crossed with the scarcity of the offer for exceptional
gemstones explain the complexity and fierce competition that prevails in the gemstone market.
How does the company make sure that each stone is ethically-sourced?
As concerns gold, diamonds and platinum group metals, Piaget joined the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) in 2005. Piaget requires that all its diamonds receive the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) certificate, and applies the rules of the World Diamond Council (WDC) guarantee system to the letter. Currently, 74 member countries apply KPCS international regulations, including Switzerland. The goal of these regulations is to guarantee to the buyer that the proceeds of the sale of a diamond are not being used by rebel movements to overthrow legitimate governments. In addition, given serious infractions in Zimbabwe, the brand stopped purchasing diamonds from the Marange region in 2009.
What kind of jewellery should a woman own in her 20s, 30s and 40s?
Fortunately, jewellery is not correlated with age. It is a question of femininity and expression of yourself.My belief is that jewellery is intended for daily wear, that today’s jewellery must be stripped of its mystique; it is an integral part of a modern woman’s wardrobe and must therefore be considered as such.