Chaumet’s library welcomes a second box-set of three books published by Assouline. Celebrating the High Jewellery collections and two of the Maison’s founding themes, these works mark an annual invitation to delve into Chaumet’s culture.
Parisian jeweller on Place Vendôme, Chaumet has been creating tiaras, high jewellery pieces and unique timepieces since 1780.
The birth of a legend
For five centuries, Paris has been renowned for the quality and creativity of its jewellery artisans.
It was in this tradition in the late 18th century that Chaumet's founder, Marie-Etienne Nitot, made his mark.
Napoleon's marriage to Joséphine, then to Marie-Louise of Habsburg-Lorraine, Queen Marie-Antoinette's great-niece, meant some sumptuous commissions for Chaumet.
Nitot became the most sought-after jeweller in Europe and established a loyal and prestigious clientele.
Gold, silver and diamonds - Chaumet Paris collection
The First French Empire, women's passion
Napoleon's taste for jewellery was political. He wanted to make France the centre for luxury and fashion design, as it was before the French Revolution. Nitot became his official jeweller.
A creative and innovative man, Nitot passed on that same attention to quality and originality to his successors.
First Chaumet wristwatch
Pair of wristwatches belonging to Princess Augusta of Bavaria, daughter-in-law of Empress Josephine.
Gold, emeralds and pearls
Chaumet - Nitot circa 1811
Breguet movements / Private collection
Gold, silver and diamonds - Private collection
The Romanticism or the triumph of nature
Following the fall of the Empire, Nitot's successors dedicated themselves to romantic jewellery inspired by the decorative arts of the Italian Renaissance and of the French 17th-century.
In 1853, Paris resumed its glamorous life and revived its international reputation as the capital of luxury and fashion. This atmosphere was particularly conducive to designing jewels to be worn during the day or in the evening with sumptuous ball gowns.
the Duke of Doudeauville on the occasion of his daughter Hedwige's
marriage to Prince Sixte of Bourbon-Parme.
Joseph Chaumet, 1919
The Belle Époque, a delicate audacity
With rather exceptional creativity and inspired by the re-enchantment of nature, Joseph Chaumet came to be recognised as an undisputed master of the Belle Epoque and gave his name to the Maison.
Aigrettes and tiaras, as social symbols and fashion accessories, are a speciality of Chaumet.
Choker necklace convertible into a headband, with crossed ribbon motif. Gold, silver, sapphires and diamonds. Joseph Chaumet, circa 1907.
Joseph Chaumet. Private collection.
The time of the Maharajas
With steamboats allowing for faster travel in the early 20th century, the Indian princes developed a taste for European pleasures. As avid jewellery collectors, they would bring their stones to Place Vendôme to have them set into light, flexible platinum settings.
The finest stones were often reserved for men, as was the case with the pair of pear diamonds that Chaumet supplied to the Maharaja of Indore in 1911.
Art Deco, the era of novelty
Jewellery styles became more geometric in line with the boyish look of the 1920s that would become more feminine in the 1930s.
This style gave rise to art deco, culminating in the Exposition des Arts décoratifs in Paris in 1925 and characterised by strong contrasts in colours and materials, the use of semi-precious stones, black and white, as well as exotic inspirations.
Marcel Chaumet, 1931. Mary, Countess of Bessborough.
From tradition to modernity
In the wake of the 1930s, Chaumet continued its style while giving it a certain modernity that echoed fine Parisian taste, ever in search of novelty and the avant-garde...
The art of style
Gold jewellery, sometimes set with hardstone, bronze or mother-of-pearl, was now on offer in a new boutique concept.
12, place Vendôme, the heart and soul of the Maison Chaumet
The Chaumet workshop at 12, Place Vendôme is a testament to this expertise in high jewellery that has been continuously passed on from one workshop manager to the next since 1780.
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