To mark the first day of the celebration of Haute Joaillerie in Paris in January, we met Lionel Giraud, creative director at Chaumet. He talked to us in detail about the brand’s latest collection, based on the bee... not to be missed!
How did bees become the inspiration for this Chaumet collection?
We are partners and sponsors of an association called ‘Save the Bees' of which the aim is to protect the bees. This made sense for Chaumet, particularly since the bee has always been something of an emblem for our house. Indeed historically it was the symbol of Napoleon 1ST who was our first important customer. Thus it is a way of celebrating our 230th anniversary with a collection that celebrates the bee in all its forms.
How have you worked the bee into your jewellery?
We really wanted to break away from the stereotypical motifs that people would expect to see in a bee-themed collection. One would expect to see yellow and black pieces crafted in a naturalistic and realistic style but we wanted to move away from that image and do something a bit more fun and crazier in terms of the use of colours, shapes and general intention.
It is a genuine creation and we tried to use the most magnificent gems. We took two lines of beautiful, finely cut emeralds and instead of working them in a conventional manner to make two beautiful pairs of drop earrings, we decided to break up this double line and mix it with pink sapphires. So we ended up with clusters of pink sapphires and we decided to go for an Indian look in terms of style and colour. As for the necklace, it fastens with a small bee which is made out of violet sapphires.
Chaumet is particularly well known for its bejewelled head-pieces, which seem to have really come back into fashion over the last few months?
I really like the bejewelled head pieces and I am fortunate enough to work for a jewellery house that has always designed and crafted these pieces. We have always created wreaths, headbands, crests and tiaras. I don’t think that a jewellery collection can be complete without a bejewelled head piece, to be honest. For Chaumet not having a tiara in our collection is as unthinkable as not having a wedding dress in an haute couture collection.
Furthermore the tiara is definitely back in fashion. I remember making a commercial with the supermodel Stella Tennant who was dressed as a Greek goddess, and we recently shot our muse Sophie Marceau wearing a tiara. It’s a huge part of our history, and it seems that it-girls love it too! Traditionally we sold these head pieces for special occasions, like weddings but today they are fashion accessories. These tiaras will not just be we worn once.
We are also beginning to feature more reasonably priced models in our jewellery collections and all kinds of head pieces: like 1920s-style head bands and bejewelled hair pins. These pieces allow women to stand out from the crowd and are real fashion accessories. We always say that these jewels allow people to be spotted by God and I love this connotation. It is both the ultimate fashion accessory and a connection to the almighty power above.
View the Spring Summer 2010 Attrape-moi... Si tu m'aimes Collection by Chaumet.
More from Chaumet
Chaumet makes history, one tiara at a time