Chopard Jewelry: History & Facts - Jack Weir & Sons Jewelry

par {{ author }} User au May 27, 2024

Pieces of Chopard Jewelry on blue background with text reading "The Wonderful World of Chopard"


Today we know Chopard as a name synonymous with luxury, craftsmanship, and innovation. But the truth is that this famed house came from humble beginnings. We begin our story in 1860 in the small Swiss village of Sonvilier in the Jura mountains, a region renowned for its watchmaking tradition. It was there that a young Louis-Ulysse Chopard realized it was a more profitable endeavor to craft a finished watch as opposed to just producing its parts.

Explore the world of Chopard Jewelry at Jack Weir & Sons. 

Chopard Jewelry History

His early creations were pocket watches and chronometers, known for their high precision and reliability. His watches quickly gained recognition not only in Switzerland but also in neighboring areas like Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, where he quickly earned a reputation for his exceptional skills, producing timepieces that combined technical excellence with elegant design. Early milestones for Chopard included becoming one of the official providers of watches for Tir Fédéral (the Swiss federal shooting association) and the Swiss Railways. These were very prestigious commissions and helped cement Chopard’s reputation as one of the best watchmakers of his time.

By his death in 1915,  Louis-Ulysse Chopard had passed the reins of the company to his son, Paul-Louis Chopard. This transition marked a significant shift in the company's leadership, bringing new energy and perspectives to Chopard during a challenging period - the outbreak of World War I, just a year before.  World War I had created a difficult economic environment, and the watchmaking industry faced numerous obstacles including material shortages and a decline in demand. Despite these challenges, Paul-Louis was determined to uphold his father's legacy of precision and excellence. He focused on maintaining the high standards of craftsmanship that had become synonymous with the Chopard name. His dedication to quality ensured that Chopard's reputation for producing reliable and elegant timepieces remained intact.

After the war,  there were significant changes to the global economy and the luxury goods market. Paul-Louis demonstrated remarkable adaptability, steering Chopard through these transformative times. They diversified the company's offerings, introducing new styles and designs that appealed to a broader audience. One notable innovation during this period was the development of ultra-thin movements, which became a hallmark of Chopard's watchmaking expertise. These slender and elegant timepieces were highly sought after, further enhancing the brand's reputation for technical excellence and aesthetic refinement.

In 1921, the company moved to a larger town, Chaux-de-Fonds, in the Canton of Neuchâtel. In 1937 the company moved once again, this time to Geneva, where the grandson of Louis-Ulysse, Paul-Andre began to take charge. This move enabled the pieces made by the company to be certified with the Geneva Seal, a mark applied only to watch movements made in the Canton of Geneva and considered the gold standard. Under the leadership of Paul-Louis and Paul Andre, Chopard began to explore new markets and expand its product range. They recognized the importance of innovation in maintaining the company's competitive edge. This period saw the introduction of more technically advanced watches, including wristwatches, which were becoming increasingly popular.

They also focused on enhancing the company's production capabilities and invested in new machinery and tools to improve the efficiency and precision of the manufacturing process. This investment in technology allowed Chopard to produce more sophisticated timepieces, meeting the evolving demands of their clientele.

In 1963, With no heirs, Paul-André sold the company to Karl Scheufele III, a descendant of a German watchmaking dynasty.

The Scheufele Era

The Scheufele family brought a new vision and direction to Chopard, transforming it into a global luxury brand. This acquisition marked the beginning of a new era, where the fusion of Swiss precision and German craftsmanship would redefine the brand's identity. Under the leadership of Karl Scheufele III, Chopard expanded its offerings beyond watches to include fine jewelry. This diversification was a strategic move that allowed Chopard to tap into new markets and cater to a broader clientele. The Scheufele family’s expertise in both watchmaking and jewelry design played a crucial role in this transformation. This period marked the beginning of Chopard's evolution into a global luxury brand, renowned for both its watches and exquisite jewelry pieces.

Chopard Jewelry Facts

Innovations and Milestones

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Chopard continued to innovate, introducing iconic collections that would come to define the brand. The Happy Diamonds collection, launched in 1976, revolutionized jewelry design with its floating diamonds freely moving between sapphire crystals. This innovative approach not only captivated jewelry enthusiasts but also set new standards in the industry.

This era of Chopard was a true family affair with the son of Karl Scheufele, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, designing a steel watch in 1978 and his daughter, Caroline Scheufele, designing the first foray into fine jewelry and the maison’s logo, the happy clown, in 1985. 

In 1978, Seeking to optimize Chopard’s business, Karl Scheufele III invested in the company's own foundry workshop, enabling in-house production of its gold alloys and ultimately creating a closed-loop system, which results in up to 70% of their metal waste being recycled and allows them to largely depend on their own supply of gold as opposed to newly mined gold. This was the beginning of the brand's formal commitment to ethical sourcing and sustainability, well ahead of today's global emphasis on responsible luxury. 

Chopard Jewelry

The Happy Diamonds Collection

The Happy Diamonds collection is arguably Chopard's most famous jewelry line and  a testament to Chopard's innovative spirit. Introduced in 1976 with a watch, the collection revolutionized the jewelry world with its unique design concept. The first Happy Diamonds piece was a wristwatch featuring a clear sapphire crystal case with diamonds set between two sapphire crystals, allowing them to move freely. The diamonds were not fixed in place but instead floated within the case, creating a mesmerizing dance of light with every movement of the wearer’s wrist.

 The idea of allowing diamonds to move freely within a sapphire crystal case was a groundbreaking departure from traditional diamond fixed settings with an innovative design that allowed the diamonds to sparkle and dance with every movement and  create a joyful and dynamic effect.

The Happy Diamonds collection was met with immediate acclaim. The first piece won the prestigious Golden Rose of Baden-Baden, a significant accolade in the watch and jewelry industry. This recognition solidified Chopard’s reputation as an innovator and set the stage for the collection’s future success.

The playful and elegant design of Happy Diamonds resonated with customers worldwide. The concept of floating diamonds was expanded beyond watches to include rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. Each piece retained the signature feature of free-moving diamonds, capturing the essence of joy and sophistication.

Over the years, the Happy Diamonds collection has evolved, introducing new designs and incorporating various motifs. One notable evolution was the introduction of heart-shaped elements, adding a romantic and feminine touch to the collection. The Happy Hearts line, for example, combines the floating diamonds with heart-shaped charms, creating pieces that are both whimsical and elegant.

Chopard continued to innovate within the Happy Diamonds collection, exploring different materials and settings. The collection expanded to include colored gemstones and various precious metals, offering a wide range of options for different tastes and occasions.

The Happy Diamonds collection remains a cornerstone of Chopard’s offerings, celebrated for its originality and enduring appeal. The concept of floating diamonds has inspired countless other designs within the jewelry industry, but Chopard’s Happy Diamonds remain unmatched in their elegance and craftsmanship.

This collection not only revolutionized jewelry design but also reinforced Chopard’s commitment to creativity and excellence. The playful spirit and innovative design of Happy Diamonds continue to captivate and delight, making it one of the most cherished and iconic collections in the world of luxury jewelry. Today, Happy Diamonds is a symbol of Chopard’s legacy of joy, freedom, and timeless beauty.

The Imperiale Collection

Launched in the 1990s, The Chopard Imperiale Collection is a testament to the brand’s dedication to elegance, sophistication, and timeless beauty and draws inspiration from the grandeur and opulence of ancient empires, blending classical aesthetics with modern design elements. The result is a series of watches and jewelry that exude regal elegance and luxurious craftsmanship.

The Imperiale Collection was conceived with a clear vision: to create pieces that embody the grandeur and majesty of historical empires. Chopard's designers looked to the rich tapestry of ancient cultures, drawing inspiration from the intricate patterns, architectural details, and luxurious materials associated with royalty and nobility. The name "Imperiale" itself evokes images of imperial courts, grand palaces, and the timeless beauty of ancient artifacts.

The collection's aesthetic is characterized by its refined lines, intricate details, and the harmonious combination of precious materials. Each piece is designed to evoke a sense of regal elegance, making the wearer feel like royalty.

The Imperiale Collection is distinguished by several key design elements that set it apart. One of the most notable features is the use of intricate motifs inspired by ancient embroidery patterns and classical architecture.  The watches in the Imperiale Collection often feature a unique crown design, reminiscent of the columns found in classical architecture. This crown, along with the carefully sculpted lugs, adds a touch of historical authenticity and sophistication to each timepiece.

Another hallmark of the Imperiale Collection is the use of luxurious materials. Chopard selects the finest metals, including 18k gold and stainless steel, and pairs them with high-quality gemstones such as diamonds, amethysts, and sapphires.  The Imperiale Collection also reflects Chopard's commitment to sustainability and ethical sourcing. The brand's use of Fairmined gold and responsibly sourced gemstones ensures that each piece is not only beautiful but also ethically crafted.

The watches in the Imperiale Collection are a perfect blend of technical precision and artistic design. They are available in various sizes and styles, catering to different tastes and preferences. Some models feature mother-of-pearl dials, while others are adorned with diamond-set bezels and intricate engravings. The use of Roman numerals and baton-shaped hands adds a touch of classical elegance to the timepieces. 


The Chopard Mille Miglia Collection

Since its inception in 1988, the Mille Miglia Collection has been a testament to Chopard's dedication to precision, elegance, combined with the exciting spirit of motorsports. The Chopard Mille Miglia Collection is a unique fusion of high-performance watchmaking and vintage automobile design and  pays homage to the iconic Mille Miglia race, a classic car rally held annually in Italy, often described as the most beautiful race in the world. 

The Mille Miglia Collection was born out of  Karl-Friedrich Scheufele's passion for classic cars and motorsports. An avid collector and participant in vintage car rallies, Scheufele saw an opportunity to merge his love for cars with Chopard's horological expertise. This vision led to the creation of a collection that embodies the excitement and heritage of the Mille Miglia race.

The Mille Miglia race, first held in 1927, covers a thousand-mile route from Brescia to Rome and back. It is renowned for its challenging terrain and the beautiful landscapes it traverses. The race brings together enthusiasts of vintage cars from around the world, celebrating the golden age of motorsport. Chopard's Mille Miglia Collection captures this spirit through its design, functionality, and connection to the race. Each timepiece in the collection reflects the elegance and technical precision of the vehicles that compete in the Mille Miglia featuring racing dials, tachymeter scales, rubber straps (inspired by the tread patterns of 1960s Dunlop racing tires) and high performance movements.

But Chopard's connection to the Mille Miglia race extends beyond mere inspiration. The brand has been the official timekeeper of the race since 1988, underscoring its commitment to the event and the motorsport community. Each year, Scheufele participates in the race, often driving one of his own vintage cars. This hands-on involvement reflects Chopard's deep-rooted passion for the race and adds authenticity to the Mille Miglia Collection.

Chopard and Cannes: A Glittering Partnership

The partnership between Chopard and the Cannes Film Festival is a perfect union of glamour, luxury, and cinematic excellence. Since 1998, Chopard has been the official partner of the Cannes Film Festival, a relationship that has significantly enhanced the festival's allure and Chopard's global prestige. This collaboration highlights Chopard's dedication to the arts and its commitment to creating some of the world's most exquisite jewelry pieces.

The relationship between Chopard and the Cannes Film Festival began in 1998 when Caroline Scheufele, Chopard’s Co-President and Artistic Director, was tasked with redesigning the festival’s Palme d’Or trophy. This prestigious award, presented to the best film at the festival, needed a fresh, luxurious look that only Chopard could provide. The redesigned Palme d’Or featured a single piece of hand-cut crystal with a 24-carat gold palm branch, symbolizing both the festival's grandeur and Chopard's exquisite craftsmanship.

The success of the redesigned Palme d’Or marked the beginning of a longstanding partnership. Since then, Chopard has continued to create the Palme d’Or each year, alongside other trophies presented at the festival, solidifying its role as an integral part of the Cannes Film Festival.


The Red Carpet Collection

One of the most significant aspects of the Chopard and Cannes partnership is the creation of the annual Red Carpet Collection. Launched in 2007, the Red Carpet Collection features a new set of high jewelry pieces unveiled each year at the festival. This collection showcases Chopard’s creativity, innovation, and unparalleled craftsmanship, with each piece designed to capture the essence of red carpet glamour.

The Red Carpet Collection is presented on the opening night of the festival and worn by some of the world’s most famous celebrities. These pieces often feature rare and exceptional gemstones, intricate designs, and the finest materials. Each year, the collection is themed, reflecting current trends and Chopard’s artistic vision.


Frog Ring from 2024 Chopard Red Carpet Collection

Sustainable Luxury: The Green Carpet Challenge

One of the most significant moments in Chopard's history was the launch of the Green Carpet Collection at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. This collection, made from ethically sourced materials, was a bold statement of the brand's commitment to sustainable luxury. The Green Carpet Collection features stunning pieces that adhere to rigorous ethical standards, reflecting Chopard’s dedication to sustainability and social responsibility. Celebrities wearing these pieces on the Cannes red carpet help raise awareness about ethical luxury and the importance of sustainable practices in the jewelry industry.

The partnership between Chopard and Cannes has been mutually beneficial. For Cannes, Chopard’s involvement adds an extra layer of glamour and luxury to the festival, enhancing its reputation as one of the most prestigious film events in the world. Chopard’s stunning jewelry and the redesigned Palme d’Or have become synonymous with the festival’s opulence.

For Chopard, the association with Cannes provides unparalleled visibility and prestige. The brand’s creations are showcased on a global stage, worn by some of the most famous and influential people in the entertainment industry. This exposure helps reinforce Chopard’s status as a leader in luxury jewelry and watchmaking.

The partnership between Chopard and the Cannes Film Festival is a brilliant example of how two iconic brands can collaborate to elevate each other’s prestige and allure. Through the creation of the Palme d’Or, the Red Carpet Collection, and the emphasis on sustainable luxury, Chopard has cemented its place at the heart of the Cannes Film Festival. This enduring partnership continues to dazzle and inspire, bringing together the worlds of cinema and high jewelry in a celebration of creativity, elegance, and excellence.


Today, Chopard remains a family-owned business, with Karl-Friedrich Scheufele and Caroline Scheufele, the children of Karl Scheufele III, at the helm. We may be biased, but we think that's pretty significant. Chopard's journey from a small Swiss watchmaking workshop to a global luxury brand is a testament to its commitment to excellence, innovation, and sustainability.The company continues to uphold its legacy of craftsmanship, innovation, and luxury, while embracing modern values such as sustainability and ethical sourcing. Chopard's iconic collections and famous pieces continue to captivate jewelry enthusiasts and collectors around the world, ensuring that the brand's legacy will endure for generations to come. 


At Jack Weir & Sons, we’ve spent the last 40 years traveling to Europe and all over the world, curating extraordinary estate jewels. JWS is where the old world meets the new world. Celebrate life, preserve history, and discover your own priceless heirloom jewel. We are extremely grateful for our clients and the ability to help people celebrate their special moments through one-of-a-kind jewelry. To share that gratitude and our strong family values, we chose to partner with Baby2Baby. So far, we've donated $125,000. A portion of every sale goes towards children living in poverty to provide them with diapers, clothing, and all the basic necessities that every child deserves. 


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