“Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” – Confucius

Masters of Dreams

I am a frequent flyer, so for my longer trips I always stock up on things to read or watch to pass the time. I bought the Masters of Dreams DVD in Paris, at the book store in the Centre Pompidou. The series consisting of four episodes, each about one hour in length, has proved to be an excellent travel companion for me.

You could think that making a film about jewellery, jewellery houses with a great legacy and sparkling diamonds is an easy feat as the images speak for themselves. However, truly conveying to the viewers the great extent of labour and experience, as well as the vision and inter-generational tradition that characterize these brands, is not an easy task. The Masters of Dreams film, directed by Guillaume De Ginestel, Eric Ellena, Jane Lipman and Sean O’Sullivan undertook a large challenge: following company managers, designers, creative directors and gemstone experts from Paris to New York, Geneva to Milan to showcase their excessively colourful, exciting and unique line of work.


We can find out how under the leadership of new artistic director Claire Choisne the Place Vendome’s oldest jewellery house Boucheron creates the haute joaillerie collection for the Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris.  Caroline Scheufele talks about how a little clown pendant prompted Chopard to embark on jewellery design in addition to creating watches. At Chaumet their unpaired tiara collection, archive and Béatrice de Plinval’s expertise serves as the source of inspiration for the design of the new Josephine tiara.

It was exciting to follow one of the Christie’s auctions, in the framework of which they auctioned off Elizabeth Taylor’s Bulgari jewellery collection in December 2011. The work of renowned author and jewellery historian Amanda Triossi is particularly interesting, she bids on the exceptional pieces and her knowledge is a great asset in returning emblematic pieces to the Bulgari house.

The Damiani family discusses the communication campaign of the Burlesque set, inspired by women’s corsets during a business breakfast. The viewer can accompany them on diamond acquisition in Antwerp – a process requiring tremendous routine, expertise and excellent relations.

Gianmaria Buccellati, – who to this day designs jewellery by hand on cartridge paper and creates unbelievably fine lace-like pieces with a fascinating technique – talks about one of his favorite items in a sincerely captivating way. Watching him, his jewellery designs take on a brand new meaning and value.

John Hardy visited Bali in the mid-1970s, moved there and founded his local company. Using the methods learned from Balinese artists as a source of inspiration, and later fusing these with modern design led to the birth of the first creations. In 1996 the company developed a compound that is at once an artistic centre and a living space for the workers with an organic farm and low-impact buildings.

A young Jewish immigrant arrives to Rio de Janeiro and embarks on his own gemstone business. At the onset of the millennium his son, Roberto Stern takes over the management of the company, and today they possess the world’s largest Brazilian gemstone collection. H.Stern’s colourful gemstones and stunning jewellery captivated Diane von Fürstenberg too, and we can hear details about the birth of the collaborative collection.

Every Chanel fan is familiar with Coco’s emblematic bracelets, the Maltese Cross cuffs. The movie answers how Fulco di Verdura created these bracelets together with Chanel, and what versions have been made of this iconic piece ever since.

There is great labour, creative energy, family and corporate traditions, as well as professional humility and passion behind the breathtaking sparkle that is visible on the exterior. No true luxury jewellery brand could exist without this, and by the end of the film the viewer can feel a little closer to this world, and can perhaps learn to understand and actually experience the passion that drives those who work in this field.