Boucheron, the first jeweller to land on Place Vendôme in 1893, is also one of the most exciting. With Claire Choisne in charge of design, we have become accustomed to each new high jewellery collection bringing clever surprises and awe-inspiring ingenuity.
Like a Queen is no exception. Presented during Paris Couture in January 2023, six sets of jewels make up the new high jewellery collection. Choisne herself presented the collection, in a magnificently ornate corner room of the Place Vendôme maison overlooking the iconic Grande Armée column surrounded by a host of models in hip Courrèges outfits.
The jewels are all re-interpretations of the late Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond and aquamarine double brooch made by Boucheron and given to her on her 18th birthday in 1944. The brooch was made in 1937 and sold to Prince George, Duke of Kent who seven years later gave it to the young princess.
The Queen wore the brooch at key moments throughout her reign including her Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and the 70th anniversary of her coronation on 6 February 2022. In fact the Boucheron team calculated that Her Majesty was seen in public wearing the brooch on 37 different occasions.
Choisne explained that of the two high jewellery collections presented each year, the January editions have to be based on archival designs of the maison. July is another matter as Choisne has free reign. Despite what would sound like a constriction on creativity to some, Choisne managed to present a charming and witty collection that she described as: ‘high jewellery but easy going’ based on a historical design.
The original brooch has a strong Art Deco style evident in its geometry and clean lines that heralded the optimism of the age of machines. The brooch detaches into two mirror parts, a detail that Choisne plays with in her spin on this classic jewel.
Choisne picked up on the Queen’s love of colourful outfits and divided the jewels into six colour-sets. London’s Swinging Sixties was woven into the narrative with models in Courrèges mini skirts, capes, felt hats and blazers. The jewels and outfits were grouped into sets named Hypnotic Blue, Frosty White, Green, Garden, Rolling Red, Lemon Slice yellow, Moon White and Mega Pink. The jewels are all billed as unisex, an increasingly common approach chez Boucheron and to make the point, the jewels were worn by both the female and male models.
The Hypnotic Blue set is nearly identical to the original but brought up to date by exaggerating its size to become a bracelet set with vibrant Ceylon sapphires, aquamarines and diamonds on a blue lacquer cuff along with with a matching ring. The most impressive is the Frosty White set that features a spectacular 4- strand necklace with over 1,000 diamonds. The brooch clips and back chain allow the necklace to be worn in different ways or transformed into the ultimate cape fastener, or a cross-body corsage. A diamond solitaire morphs into a shield-shape cocktail ring thanks to a snap-on ring jacket. Like wise, the Green Garden ring has a similar snap-on surround and Zambian emerald drops of some 4 carats can be added to the clip earrings.
Rolling Red is named for the way in which the Art Deco motif has been extended, the rubies and diamonds cascading from one side to form a pendant that can be detached from the slinky serpent-like diamond choker and worn as a brooch. An all-diamond version of the brooch can be worn on leather chokers – including a Lemon Slice yellow one- in an array of colours or as a hairclip. The Frosty White diamond and mother of pearl version of the brooch becomes the clasp on a three-strand pearl necklace. Vivid pink tourmalines and lacquer to match add an electric excitement to the Mega Pink brooch, designed to be worn as one single clip or dotted about the lapel as two.