Chopard has been on a remarkable journey to sustainable luxury since 2013, thanks to the initiative launched by its co-president and artistic director, Caroline Scheufele.
A blend of ethics with charming aesthetics, Chopard drives numerous projects geared to protect the environment and vulnerable communities. All while creating stunning sustainable fine jewellery and timepieces worth of the red carpet and everyday living full of joie de vivre. The Scheufele family strongly believes that grand contemporary luxury must be ethical and responsible, and they walk the talk.
Since 2018, Chopard has built a 100% ethical gold supply chain that safeguards human and labour rights. Today, only Fairmined-certified ethical gold, diamonds and coloured gems sourced from suppliers certified by the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) comprise the maison’s precious collections. Following the ground-breaking milestone, Caroline was honoured with the Designer of the Year award in 2019 at the second annual Sustainable Style Gala. “Sustainability is a moving target. It’s a journey that never ends. And today, more than ever, it must be our priority to protect the people on the ground who make our business possible,” Caroline asserts.
Working in partnership with the Swiss Better Gold Association (SBGA), Chopard is a part of a trailblazing initiative to source gold from Barequeros in El Chocó, Colombia. Despite being Colombia’s second-largest gold producer, El Chocó remains one of the nation’s poorest regions.
The Barequeros are artisanal gold miners with whom almost half are women. They employ local traditional alluvial mining techniques such as sluicing and panning with handheld tools. Their methods make no use of mercury, which help conserve the region’s diverse biodiversity that is some of the most unusual in the world. To be legally registered, the Barequeros must obtain a special permit that allows the manual production and sale of up to 420 grams of gold per year.
As a part of this project, the Barequeros contribute to the supply of gold as part of a fully traceable, transparent, and responsible international supply chain. Moreover, the value chain enables them to know the exact destination of their gold. This value chain is a part of a larger initiative supported by the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the SBGA to shape responsible and small-scale gold miners.
The programme guarantees that the Barequeros receive a competitive price and a special SBGA Better Gold Incentive of US$0.70 per gram. The additional income allows them to reinvest into bettering their living and working conditions. To date, 500 Barequeros have had their lives changed through support from this programme.
Additionally, Chopard has also nurtured a philanthropic relationship with the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM), an influential South American mining NGO. ARM has participated in initiatives to recognise, formalise, and improve mining practices, benefitting more than 150 mining organisations in 15 countries across Latin America and Africa, collectively impacting over 44,000 beneficiaries to date. The luxury jewellery and watchmaker are the world’s first maison to directly support mining communities through training, social welfare, and environmental aid.
It is one matter to commit to protecting resources and another to celebrate the captivating beauty of its origins. Nature was selected as the central theme for Chopard’s Red Carpet Collection 2020 by Caroline Scheufele, owing to her deep love of the enchanting natural world. It is not the first occasion that flora and fauna serve as an inexhaustible source of inspiration for Chopard’s artistic director. She once composed the Animal World Collection, designing 150 haute joaillerie creations in honour of the maison’s 150th anniversary in 2010. Nine years later, she explored striking lifelike orchid motifs in a flower-themed Red Carpet Collection.
In honour of the 73rd Cannes International Film Festival, the 2020 collection features 73 models. One creation for every year the festival has existed – an ambitious tradition that has endured since the 60th anniversary of the Cannes International Film Festival. Skilled artisans of Chopard’s haute joaillerie ateliers in Geneva applied the expertise of more than 30 different crafts in a joint effort to bring to life the beauty of Mother Nature. The collection reflects the maison’s continued efforts to promote sustainable luxury within the luxury industry.
A centrepiece of the assemblage is an impressively structured piece made of Fairmined gold, expressed as a majestic eagle with outstretched wings. As though in flight, the wings unfurl to create the necklace. Clutched in the talons of this bird of prey is a pear-shaped diamond of an unusual yellowish-brown hue. Each feathery plume is finely articulated, providing a setting for white diamonds, with every precious stone used satisfying the standards set by the RJC.
For horology enthusiasts, the maison has crafted a gorgeous owl timepiece from ethically sourced 18k white gold, set with diamonds totalling 9.24 carats and 4.16 carats of multi-coloured sapphires. An elegant pair of orchid earrings complete the sneak peek. These titanium treasures feature sapphires, tsavorites, tourmaline and opal cabochons. Chopard’s continued exploration of environmental motifs serve as a crucial reminder of the beauty, fragility, and magic of the world we live in, through lives great and small.
Designed by co-president of Chopard, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, the Alpine Eagle is driven by his commitment to the conservation and protection of the Alpine environment and especially of the eagles that reign supreme there. To that end, Chopard has launched the Eagle Wings Foundation of which Karl-Friedrich is a founding member.
Furthermore, Chopard celebrates the success of producing a new ultra-resistant metal dubbed Lucent Steel A223 which required no less than four years of research and development to perfect. Complex, the repurposed steel is the result of a re- smelting process that creates a material comparable to hypoallergenic surgical steel, 50% more resistant to abrasions than conventional steel and capable of reflecting light uniquely. Most importantly, the material is conflict-free and sustainable.
The Alpine Eagle is dedicated to contemporary eagles, aspiring men who go above and beyond with foresight and determination. The collection is dedicated to those who act on the challenges of tomorrow, with a keen awareness of the importance of environmental issues.
The future looks bright as Chopard continues forward with its ambitious journey. Setting industry standards for sustainable production, contributing to charitable partnerships to raise awareness of social and ecological issues to impact meaningful change, inventing innovative new materials, and continually showcasing the beauty of the natural world. The maison’s vision of life is full of positivity, passion, and absolute joie de vivre – it is a world we should all aspire to live in.
(All images: Chopard)
This story was first published Prestige Malaysia’s June 2021 issue. To read the latest issue, pick up a copy from the nearest newsstand or subscribe on Magzter.