SIGNATURE HJ JEWELRY COLLECTION-QUESTION MARK NECKLACES
January 2020:Under the expert eye of Claire Choisne, eight new Question Mark necklaces are being added to Boucheron’s Signature High Jewelry collection in January 2020.
The Question Mark necklace first appeared in the Parisian High Jewelry history at Boucheron in 1879. Here it is again, brought to light by its Creative Director, who wanted to put a personal take on this timeless icon to establish it as one of the Maison’s recognised and unmistakable signature creations.
“The Boucheron style is above all a state of mind,” says Claire Choisne. “In my opinion, it is captured perfectly by the Question Mark necklace, which I wanted to reinstate as one of Boucheron’s main signature pieces as soon as I arrived at the Maison. This necklace encapsulates the philosophy of a Maison that throughout its history has incorporated in its creations the ethos of innovation with a focus on emotion, and the beauty of expression with a focus on women’s freedom. Its modernity – designed to promote freedom of expression – seems to have defied time, which for me is the hallmark of High Jewelry. And above all, its technical sophistication, almost imperceptible and invisible, is totally oriented towards emotion.”
The original necklace combines simplicity with opulence: the simplicity of the clean lines of the circular part that wraps around the neck, the opulence of a main motif, consisting of lotus flowers, bunches of grapes, poppy petals, and even a snake. “The apparent simplicity of the choker and the off-centre motif represented a total break with the subtle harmony commonly found in naturalistic jewelry at that time,” says Claire Choisne. “This stylistic approach, based on asymmetry, profusion and the aesthetics of curved lines, was reinforced by a technical feat that was totally innovative in jewellery: the absence of any clasp, which allowed women, if they so wished, to put on their jewellery alone, without the assistance of another person.”
Marcel Proust, in “À la Recherche du Temps Perdu” (In Search of Lost Time), says it several times: Boucheron is the jeweller of choice for Parisian women, whatever their background and circumstances. And not without good reason. From the courtesan to the socialite, Frédéric Boucheron demonstrated an empathy that allowed him to fully grasp the uniqueness of his clientele: their desire for innovation which they knew how to temper with a remarkable sense of proportion, their taste for simplicity and harmony, their wish to free themselves from the daily shackles of habit, their ability to take frivolity seriously.
This philosophy of pleasure – as Frédéric Boucheron knew – often helped Parisian women to escape the state of inactivity to which they were subjected and gave them some degree of empowerment. By designing a necklace that was flexible, light, unrestricted and without a clasp, the jeweller promoted the independence and freedom of stylish women. He added practicality to the graceful design and introduced the idea of personal fulfilment to his creation, redefining the laws of style in the process. Boucheron was the jeweller of free-spirited women.
The carefully studied natural motif, the true-to-life shapes and the required flexibility resonate in a Plume de Paon necklace studded with rose-, triangle-, brilliant- and baguette-cut diamonds. The Creative Director wanted the settings, the adjustments and the methods of working precious metal used in the late nineteenth century to be reproduced as faithfully as possible. She also wanted to retain the necklace’s large dimensions. “I love the XL scale of this necklace, which I see as the masterpiece of this collection and which will set the tone for the dimensions of future creations,” says Claire Choisne enthusiastically. Different versions of the Plume de Paon necklace – in which the feather can be transformed into a brooch if desired – evoke the lustre of pearl, the femininity of pink gold, the soft, moon-like glow of morganite or the intoxicating velvetiness of a 10.98-carat, oval-cut Burmese sapphire.
The Lierre de Paris necklace, whose emerald-set leaves move, is a powerful demonstration of the technical prowess of the Maison’s workshops. A reinterpretation of a white gold necklace from the Nature Triomphante collection, this striking green version has been accomplished using all the most complex jewellery techniques. The ripple effect, the arrangement, the volume, the movement of the leaves activated by a switch… all this is in keeping with the spirit of innovation that has always characterised Boucheron, and in keeping with Claire Choisne’s predilection for realism pushed to its extreme.
Claire Choisne’s sensibility is also reflected in the Nuage de Fleurs necklace, which features a cluster of hydrangeas. “This is the first flower my daughter gave me,” says the Creative Director. “I love this flower because it looks simple, almost humble to me.” Each hydrangea petal has been scanned in order to capture the sense of ephemeral nature in the timeless mother-of-pearl relief.
A completely new version of the Question Mark, the Perles necklace accentuates the purity of an arabesque with exquisite mother-of-pearl drops. While the Feuilles d’Acanthe necklace transforms the symbolic decorative motif into a graceful latticework of sensuously curving yellow gold leaves. This link between plants and architecture can also be seen in the single, unique and striking earring that reflects the contemporary spirit of the collection.
Over and above the technical expertise behind its creation, the Question Mark necklace as reinterpreted by Claire Choisne expresses Boucheron’s extraordinary ability to produce High Jewelry creations that combine the spirit of the times with the essence of eternity.