PARIS – Picture this: The year is 1928, and Place Vendome is flooded with rumors of a prince who has arrived with 40 servants, booked 35 suites at the Ritz, and possesses an appetite for jewelry as great as his wealth.
Bhupindar Singh, Maharaja of Patiala, and his retinue of Sikh guards carrying six iron chests enter the Boucheron boutique – and its history. “His order is the stuff of legends. Imagine this colossus of a man pushing the door of the house,” said artistic director Claire Choisne in preview.
To use the thousands of precious stones and pearls he inventoried, Louis Boucheron, son of the founder Frédéric, drew 149 sketches, which are the basis of Choisne’s new 14-piece high jewelry collection, entitled “History of Style, New Maharajahs”.
Seeking to reinterpret these creations for today, Choisne said she wanted to subvert what she saw in the archives in terms of scale and colors, while focusing on original shapes and age-old Indian techniques, especially gemstones. sculpted glyptics.
“Starting from scratch is easy because everything is contemporary – the ideas, the techniques, everything. Starting from a centuries-old aesthetic and creating something of our time, that’s where it gets tricky,” Choisne said.
At the heart of all of these designs is the idea of multiple wear. For both women and men, according to Choisne, who demonstrated how certain patterns could be worn instead of a tie.
The platinum New Maharajah necklace is constructed around nine Colombian emeralds – totaling just under 40 carats – and its central motif can be worn as a brooch, transforming it into a choker.
Unlike its 20th century predecessor, which featured green gems on its ends, pavé diamond drops covered with a layer of rock crystal increasing their halo were used here. Also in this set are earrings that replicate the original sunburst design, including its 58 emerald drops, scaled to fit the size of an ear.
“The only colorful setting – to tell the story of the Maharaja of Patiala without the weight of the story,” noted Choisne.
Three necklaces are the centerpieces of the New Maharani set, all exploring the lotus motif. The eponymous choker resembles a diamond lace necklace, with a central cushion-cut diamond over 4 carats; the “Crystal” version plays on transparency with its three rows of diamonds; while the “Nacre” long necklace, which totals 5,178 pearls and melon-cut rock crystals, can be worn seven different ways.
The most surprising of the collection are the “New Churiyans” bracelets, a set of 10 bangles inspired by Indian brides as adornments imbued with protective symbolism. The Choisne version in white gold with diamonds, mother-of-pearl and pearls can be assembled into a coil that nods to Boucheron’s art objects.