Synonymous with Parisian elegance since 1780, Chaumet has been closely entwined with the history of France. Marie-Étienne Nitot, founder of the storied maison, was appointed court jeweller by Emperor Napoleon I, who was adamant on establishing France as the centre for luxury once again. The emperor would commission Nitot to create magnificent pieces of royal jewellery, one of the most noteworthy being his coronation sword that was topped with the massive 141-carat Regent Diamond.
Nitot’s royal connections soon garnered him a large following among Europe’s most elite, and he became the most sought-after jeweller in the continent. However, his most eminent client was Napoleon’s wife, Empress Joséphine, known to be a woman ahead of her time who eschewed convention. Combining her sense of spectacle and taste for exceptional gemstones, the jeweller created romantic yet audacious tiaras that the empress made fashionable during the Empire period.
The inimitable queen has been Chaumet’s precious muse since, inspiring its contemporary feminine creations for more than 200 years. Resolutely modern and free, the maison’s emblematic Joséphine collection unveils a new fine jewellery line and timepiece that encapsulate the progressive spirit of the eponymous empress.
Joséphine Ronde D’Aigrettes Fine Jewellery
Embodying the empress’ elegance and grace is this range of 13 pieces in contemporary, versatile designs that centre around her favourite gem shape, the pear. Comprising earrings, necklaces, bracelets and rings, the delicate Joséphine Ronde d’Aigrettes pieces feature an asymmetrical or vertical arrangement of pear-shaped bezel-set brilliant-cut diamonds in white gold, with the exception of one ring in rose gold.
Inspired by Joséphine’s love for layering her jewels, rings can be worn solo or stacked, while the other pieces can be mixed and matched with creations from the Joséphine Aigrette line for numerous styling options. For a splash of icy blue, there are four Joséphine Ronde d’Aigrettes pieces that each flaunt a pear-shaped aquamarine alongside white diamonds.
The Joséphine Aigrette Watch
In the tradition of avant-garde jewels and timepieces, the new Joséphine Aigrette watch features a unique pear-shaped case. Reinterpreting the maison’s historic artistry in trompe l’oeil (“to deceive the eye” in French) – a centuries-old technique that creates the optical illusion of depth – the dial showcasing graphic facets is accentuated with a single brilliant-cut diamond at 12 o’clock.
Precious like a jewel with a diamond-set or mirror-polished bezel in white or rose gold, the 27.3mm by 20.2mm timepiece is made even more extraordinary with a bracelet that wraps around the wrist without a buckle or clasp. A tribute to the empress’ joie de vivre and creative spirit, strap options for the quartz-movement watch include leather for day and satin for night. Highlighting Chaumet’s expertise in jewellery- making is the white gold Joséphine Aigrette model that flaunts a dial of scintillating snow-set diamonds and diamond-set bezel.
(Main and featured image: Joséphine Aigrette watch with pink gold case and diamond-set aigrette leather strap; Joséphine Ronde d’Aigrettes white gold and rose gold rings with brilliant-cut diamonds worn in a stack. All images courtesy of Chaumet)
This story was published in the April issue of Prestige Singapore.