Very few brands have the rich history and archives of La Maison de Boucheron. It is one of, if not the oldest brand to grace Paris’s historic Place Vendôme. After releasing an Art Deco-inspired collection earlier this year, Claire Choisne, Jewellery Creative Director at Boucheron swapped clean lines and minimalist colours for a high jewellery collection that brings a whole new meaning to the word “holographic”.
“Each Boucheron high jewellery collection starts with a dream” says Claire. “Last year it was placing a piece of the sky around a woman’s neck. This year it was all about holographic colours. Opals principally”. After watching the colourful lights bounce off the reflective mirror bulbs on an airplane runway, Claire sat down with Boucheron’s in-house innovation cell and thought of how to best dream up a collection of pieces that could imitate the hundreds of rainbow hues she saw in that instant. Her dream led her to Saint-Gobain, a french company that produces a variety of construction materials, high-performance gear, and other jobsite machines. “ When I first presented them with the idea they thought I was insane”! From hard hats and railings to diamond drop earrings, it was a stretch for anyone’s imagination, but Claire’s boundless wonder and positive energy led them to present a bold and powerful collection.
After one hundred and fifty trial pieces and over sixteen hundred hours of labour (for a single piece!), Holographique was born. Composed of nine jewellery suites, this twenty-five piece series physically explores the very definition of the word “holographic”, a photosensitive phenome that in Greek etymology translates to, “the presentation of everything”. This is exactly what this collection does. The House of Boucheron, along with Saint Gobain, has created a strong metal coating by spraying precious metals at high temperature onto ceramics or rock crystal that results in a piece whose colour, clarity and very essence is ever changing, depending on the wearer’s skin tone, the surrounding light and even the angles from which it is being admired. Claire has managed to capture the beauty of nature’s most fleeting and euphoric wonder: a rainbow. The collection evokes the exhilaration of first glimpsing this natural wonder and the joyful nostalgia felt when appreciating its magnificent colours.
The first chapter, Opalescence, focuses on its namesake. At the core of this set is a transformable necklace and single ear cuff, both with jaw dropping cabochon opals at the centre. Aquatic in design, both pieces include a carved koi fish figure that appears to be swimming fluidly across the wearer’s body. Peaceful and quiet, this piece induces a uniform sense of calm.
Following is Ondes. More subtle in appearance, this earring and necklace combination is made from a river of opals intertwined with streams of brilliant diamonds. The sensuality of light is captured as it dances off the diamonds and bounces onto the vividly coloured opal’s rounded figure.
Illusion, the third set, is a series of three opal cocktail rings, all of which are impressive in design and size. Dark, black and white opals are surrounded by a sea of pavéed rainbow precious stones, highlighting the reflective lights in each stone, playing with the meaning of the word itself: seeing things differently than they really are.
The Chromatic rings and brooch are where we are first introduced to the revolutionary reflective colour coating created by Saint-Gobain and Boucheron. Made by dipping ceramic into the thinnest layer of molten pulverised metal, this material is inexplicably futuristic in appearance yet nostalgic in sentiment. The longer you stare at it’s shifting hues, hundreds of fantastical images come to mind. A continuation of Boucheron’s infamous Fleurs Eternelles design, Claire challenges the realism of the floral petals on pansy flowers, creating pieces with a kaleidoscopic feel, contrary to the monochromatic colouring of the flower itself.
Faisceaux, defined as “an ensemble of luminous rays shining from the same source, but in different trajectories”, is where Claire introduces Boucheron’s Savoir Faire of rock crystal, with a graphic twist. A pavé diamond cuff and a Jack de Boucheron-shaped brooch is encapsulated with a generous layer of rock crystal, which, once coated with the rainbow metal mixture, creates constant bursts of iridescent colours one associates with the Northern lights, or a mother of pearl shell. Strongly graphic in appearance, this is an incredibly nostalgic set.
The Halo is the most colour fluid suite of this collection. A series of sleek rock crystal and diamond cuffs, rings and an open-back necklace, the uniformity of their shape allows the chromatic coating to spread smoothly across each piece. The emotive memory that inspired this look is the soft and comforting vibrations of a weightless soap bubble floating carefree through space.
Next, celebrating the iconic pear-cut motif of the Serpent Bohème collection, the Laser suite uses pigmented ceramics to enhance the colourful shades on each jewellery piece. Here, the usual high jewellery practice of “the gem dictates the design” is tossed aside, as Claire had to find a stone that would best suit the reflective quality of her innovative coating. Her choice? A series of lagoon-nuanced aquamarines which adorn the links of a necklace, earrings and solitaire ring.
The Prism chapter, in contrast to the Halo range, is pixelated and more sharp in shape and colour. Light refractions inspired the design process behind the bracelet, earrings and ring. Multiple rows of rock crystal and diamonds form a pallet of angular rainbow colours, creating seemingly baguette-like shapes along each piece.
Last, but most certainly not least, comes the pièce de resistance of this entire collection: the Holographique necklace. To build this architectural and modern design, sheets of crystal blades were layered together to play with shadow and shape. The end result is a voluminous necklace with a shifting pattern that imitates that of sunshine hitting a stained glass window. A central Ceylon yellow sapphire focuses the colouring. Extravagant and awe-inspiring, this piece is a celebration of light.