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"Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without." - Confucius
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Boucheron

26 Place Vendôme in Paris has been an institution for the fans of fine jewellery for 120 years. In addition to the local aristocracy, the French House of Boucheron was a popular jeweller among the Indian and Russian nobility too. Boucheron, which is present on every continent today, also have their own eyewear and perfume lines in addition to creative jewellery pieces.

History

In 1858, Frédéric Boucheron, who was 28 at the time, opened his first jewellery store under the arcades of Galerie de Valios in Palais Royal. The chatelaine watch which was a product of his atelier in 1866 won the Gold Medal at the Paris International Exposition a year later. His themes were mainly inspired by nature, and in addition to gems and precious metals he was fond of using unusual material combinations such as transparent enamel, crystal or wood. He also developed new gem cutting, engraving and setting techniques. At the end of the century Paul Legrand designed the ethereally light Boucheron question mark necklace which triumphed at the 1889 International Exposition.

Frédéric Boucheron quickly earned a good reputation and the aristocrats of the time frequented his store one after the other, as did the celebrated stars of Parisian nightlife. In 1893 he started the line of jewellery makers who found a new home in Place Vendôme. Ever since, 26 Place Vendôme has served as the headquarters of the House of Boucheron.

Fréderic Boucheron passed away in 1902, and his son Louis took over the jewellery store. Louis studied to become an engineer, but inherited his father’s business acumen, adoration of gems and his refined flair for low-key elegance. Under his leadership the House of Boucheron entered the international arena. They opened stores in London, New York and Moscow too. His jewellery designs were influenced by Art Deco and Cubism as well as Asian and African art. His passion for travelling led him to India where in addition to creative inspiration he also won over prominent clients.

The Boucheron House dreamt up and created the jewels of numerous princes and rulers from Russia through Iran all the way to India.

Following the death of Louis in 1959, his sons Gerard and Fred continued the family business, and made their mark by creating jewellery using various gold metals and filigree bird and floral motifs. At the end of the 1970s Gerard’s son Alan took over the company and led Boucheron to new territories, thus in addition to watch and jewellery artistry, the portfolio now also includes perfumes and eyewear too.

Boucheron, which now has 34 stores and a history exceeding 150 years, was acquired by the Gucci Group in 2000, which was in turn purchased by the French PPR in 2004.

Trivia

  • Collaborations:
    • 2006: Alexander McQueen – Novak bag
    • 2007 (initiated): Girard-Perregaux:
      • 2010: Girard Perregaux Hommage a Boucheron
      • 2010: LadyHawk Tourbillon
      • 2011: Héra Tourbillon
      • 2012: Swan Tourbillon
    • 2006: Vertu – Signature Boucheron: mobilephones feature ornate jeweled snakes
    • 2010: MB&F has partnered with Boucheron to create  HM3 JwlryMachine Watch. It is a bejeweled owl with pretty impressive mechanical innards
    • 2008: Richard Mille – Hommage à Boucheron RM 018 timepiece: this tourbillon watch has a case and movement produced by Mille and features the precious and semi-precious stones selected and magnified by Boucheron.
  • Famous customers:
    • Alexander Tsarevich (later Czar Alexander III) and wife, Maria Feodorovna
    • Leopold II, King of Belgium
    • Madeleine Astor and husband, John Jacob Astor IV, were also loyal patrons of the Boucheron House. They both travelled on the fateful Titanic, but only Mrs Astor survived as John Jacob gave his place on the lifeboat to another lady. Mrs Astor lost her husband and many of her Boucheron jewels in the tragedy, and only wore a sapphire-diamond ring upon her escape. This ring reminded her of her heroic husband to the end of her life.
    • Queen Mother Elizabeth
    • Maharaja de Patiala commissioned a total of 149 exclusive pieces from the jewellery house to be made from his own gems and diamonds

Facts

  • The first store opened in 1858
  • CEO: Pierre Bouissou
  • Member of the PPR Group (previously known as Pinault-Printemps-Redoute until 18 May 2005)