Now that we’ve covered the main jewelry eras and precious gemstones, it’s time for us to dive into famous, world-recognized jewelry designers. Signed jewelry has always been desirable due to its credibility, top quality materials, and exquisite craftsmanship. The industry's famous jewelry names include Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany & Co, Bvlgari, David Webb, Graff and many others. This week we will be discussing the oldest jewelry Maison in Place Vendôme - Boucheron.
In this blog post you will learn:
- Interesting Facts
Vintage Boucheron Jewelry
Frédéric Boucheron, founded the Maison Boucheron in 1858. To this day, the Boucheron jewelry house is known for its intricate, free spirited style. Boucheron’s designs are always creative and display outstanding French craftsmanship and characterful stones. Frédéric Boucheron opened his first boutique in the Galerie de Valois, under the arcades of the Palais Royal which was the epitome of Parisian luxury trade at the time.
In 1866, The Maison Boucheron created a workshop to educate and teach other goldsmiths the signature Boucheron style of craftsmanship.
Mrs Mackay - this name appeared 102 times in Boucheron’s Special Orders book between 1876-1902. Marie-Louise Mackay was a wealthy American woman. To impress the love of his life, her husband asked Frédéric Boucheron to secretly seek out the most exceptional sapphire to match the intense color of her deep blue eyes. Boucheron finally found a 159 carat blue sapphire from Kashmir that he had set onto a necklace. Kashmir sapphires are extremely rare and display a vivid cornflower blue color.
The Russian Imperial Family - From 1860, and lasting for almost 40 years, Russia’s Imperial Family became one of Boucheron's major clients. The Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna, the Tsarina Maria Alexandrovna, Alexander III and the grand Duke Alexei all visited Boucheron’s Paris flagship store every time they found themselves in France. His name became synonymous with luxury within the Russian court. In 1897, Frédéric Boucheron opened his first international shop in Moscow. In 1921 Boucheron created an outstanding diadem for Queen Mother Elizabeth and it became one of her favorites.
Frédéric Boucheron was raised in a family of generational clothiers. Although he did not pursue the family business, he remembered the intricate fabrics from his childhood. The Grand-Duc Wladimir became entranced by a young woman when he picked up a scarf she had dropped during a ball they were both attending. To remember the extraordinary moment forever, he asked Frédéric Boucheron to create a gold necklace that could mimic the finest scarf, as a symbol of his eternal love for his wife. Since then the Maison works on gold as if it were a fabric, a supple and flowing cloth, transforming it into jewels that seem to be woven from gold threads.
Le Point D’Interrogation (The Question Mark) - Grand Duke Alexei of Russia bought an outstanding emerald and diamond peacock feather necklace. The necklace became a sensation due to its innovative “question mark shape”, that wraps around a female's neck without needing to be clasped, giving the woman freedom of movement and enhancing her natural beauty. The necklace was designed by the head of Boucheron’s workshop - Paul Legrand and later formed a collection that won the Gold Medal at the World's Fair in 1889.
The most extraordinary order - In 1928 Maharajah of Patiala arrived at Place Vendôme, escorted by servants carrying six boxes full of precious stones, including 7571 diamonds and 1432 emeralds. He ordered luxurious sets of jewelry made using gemstones from his treasury. To this day, it's the most outstanding jewelry order placed at Boucheron.
After this international success, the Shah of Iran commissioned Boucheron to appraise one of the world’s most fabulous treasuries. The treasury of Iran compiled the most gorgeous precious stones and peculiar objects Louis Boucheron had ever seen. For instance, a solid gold throne adorned with precious gems and a terrestrial globe set with 51,336 stones. It took Boucheron several months to complete the appraisal and the final estimation was kept a secret forever after. Louis Boucheron and his descendants became the official Curators and Guardians of the Iranian Treasury.
Cat Wladimir - Gérard Boucheron’s cat, Wladimir, was a much-loved feature of the Place Vendôme boutique: he was perfectly at home, weaving through displays of jewels and precious stones. Wladimir’s presence in the private townhouse at 26 Place Vendôme added a genuine feeling of being in a family home.
Vintage Boucheron Jewelry
In 1962, Gérard’s son Alain took control of the firm. Under his control the firm incorporated rock crystal quartz, wood, coral and turquoise. Typical for the period, in the 1970s and 1980s, Boucheron incorporated these materials with diamonds and other precious gemstones to create large, and bold statement pieces.
Here are some vintage Boucheron pieces that we currently have for sale at Jack Weir & Sons. Click on the item for more information.
The Bottom Line
Favored by the royal families, and true appreciators of French Classicism Boucheron has established themselves as a pillar of the jewelry world. Highest quality craftsmanship, intricate designs, and intricate metalwork, Boucheron will always be at the heart of the jewelry world.
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