Boucheron, Place Vendôme's first jewellers
Frédéric Boucheron was already renowned as a prominent designer in the world of luxury when he moved his workshop to 26 Place Vendôme. That was in 1893, and Maison Boucheron's address has not changed since then; indeed it was only renovated for the first time in 2018. The spirit of the brand, combining craftsmanship, creativity and design innovation, has similarly endured over time, combining craftsmanship, creativity and innovation in its designs.
Frédéric Boucheron, the son of haberdashers, became a jeweller's apprentice before founding his own company in 1858. He was known throughout Paris as a jeweller whose jewellery was impossible to find elsewhere. His inventiveness earned him his first gold medal at Paris' Universal Exhibition in 1867: Frédéric Boucheron launched a gold chatelaine watch with diamonds, pink agate, green enamel and amethyst. As a jeweller and watchmaker, Frédéric Boucheron was of course fascinated by stones, travelling the world to unearth the rarest. It goes without saying that his eyes would sparkle when he came across precious metals, but his reaction was the same in front of other kinds of exceptional stones, with their singular beauty and particular appeal.
Unique knowledge from exceptional encounters
Once the House of Boucheron's had taken up residence, other jewellers and watchmakers soon began to take over Place Vendôme, until it finally became the mecca for the French style of luxury for which it's so well known today. Number 26 retains all its originality as an address where watches "only chime happy hours" (Frédéric Boucheron's motto) and where the current owners are determined to create jewellery collections inspired by the present while still retaining that original freedom of expression. Following the death of Frédéric Boucheron in 1902, the company remained a family business for another century. His son Louis, grandsons Gérard and Fred, and then Alain Boucheron held the reins until the company was finally sold in 1994. Boucheron now belongs to the Kering Group, along with its former parent company, Gucci. From a 149-piece set created for the Maharaja of Patalia to one of Queen Elizabeth's favourite tiaras, from Edith Piaf who made the Reflet watch her lucky charm to the Ava Gardner collection, Maison Boucheron's story reads like a fairytale. Exceptional experiences like these create the opportunity to develop unique skills. Therefore, when Grand Duke Wladimir commissioned the reproduction of a scarf into a necklace, Boucheron created fabric gold, a kind of flowing fabric sewn with gold thread.
The avante-guarde brand
Boucheron has always been, and still remains, resolutely avant-garde. The first jeweller to work with the transparency of rock crystal, the first watchmaker to devise a watch with a strap that the owner can change themselves... In the workshop set up on the top floor of 26 Place Vendôme, one craftsman after another has created magnificent settings to enhance the brilliance of each and every stone. Just imagine a peackock feather style of necklace shaped like a question mark with an invisible clasp, a take on the triumph of nature, "free, proud and wild", to create iconic collections of high jewellery and jewellery. And how about Serpent Bohême jewellery, a collection that was treated to a makeover in 2017, or the overwhelmingly graphic style of the Quatre Collection inspired by Parisian cobblestones.
The House of Boucheron is definitely a brand of "firsts", both in terms of its creativity as a master jeweller and its ability to work with materials. You really need to bear the surname Boucheron to be able to imagine a piece of jewellery made with Makrana marble, the Jodhpur necklace or in... sand. The Nagaur necklace, inspired by the Indian fortress city of the same name, is made of sand from the Thar desert encased in quartz. In the same year, 2018 in this case, Boucheron used innovative scanning technology to create a ring collection using real flower petals, managing to immortalise their ephemeral beauty forever.
Boucheron conquering the world
Boucheron has achieved many other firsts, including in how the company is run. Since 2015, a female duo has been at the helm of the company, which is unprecedented in the jewellery and high jewellery sector: Hélène Poulit-Duquesne is the president and CEO, while Claire Choisne heads up Creations. Innovation often goes hand in hand with conquering spirit. The House of Boucheron has always endeavoured to seduce the great and the good of this world, never shying of going international. Think of the first overseas boutique opened by Frédéric Boucheron himself. That was in 1893 in Moscow. The opening of shops and offices in London and New York soon followed. From Japan in the 1970s to Shanghai, Dubai and Hong Kong in 2005, Boucheron has always had a presence in trendsetting cities. Today, the House has 55 boutiques worldwide, injecting its spirit into every corner of the globe. The brand's collections of high jewellery, jewellery and watches make this house one of the most worthy representatives of French know-how and "savoir-être".