French jeweller Chaumet, which is owned by luxury giant LVMH, has reopened its global flagship at the iconic Place Vendôme in Paris, a year after it closed for major renovation. The French house, whose history stretches back 240 years, was the first jeweller to arrive on the square – now considered the spiritual home of Parisian high jewellery – in 1812. The maison celebrates that legacy and puts its stamp on a glittering future with an elegant and expanded series of private salons and public spaces in which visitors can immerse themselves in Chaumet’s universe of nature, romance and exquisite craftsmanship.
Alongside a new, enlarged boutique, there is the opportunity for a lucky few to explore its vast archives, its historic grand salons and its crowning jewel, the high jewellery workshop, which, for daily inspiration, now overlooks the architectural jewel that is Place Vendôme itself. The boutique of the newly restored Chaumet flagship marries the jeweller’s storied past and signature motifs with contemporary elegance.
“It looks and feels completely different,” said Jean-Marc Mansvelt, Chaumet’s chief executive. “Even though I’ve seen every plan and have visited every week for a year, each time I ask myself, ‘Is this really the same place I knew before?’”
He was speaking exclusively to British Vogue shortly after returning from his final site visit, where he had been surrounded by a throng of more than 150 craftspeople from all over the world who had descended on the French capital to put their finishing touches to the building’s interior.
Balancing tradition with modernity, no detail has been overlooked in the redesign, whether it be the ground-floor boutique’s alabaster walls engraved with Chaumet’s traditional wheat motif, or the Napoléon III-style wall panelling of the grand Salon des Perles upstairs, which is now painted in the maison’s signature royal blue, in dramatic contrast to the original 18th century bucolic scene on the ceiling above.
The building’s original dining room has been reimagined for the 21st century in midnight blue and gold tones. Its Napoléon III-style panelling creates a harmonious contrast with a bucolic ceiling scene painted in the 19th century by Pierre-Victor Galland, nephew of Jean-Baptiste Fossin, the then head of the maison’s workshop.
The sense of refinement and attention to detail visible at every step throughout Chaumet’s new home is matched in miniature by Trésors d’Ailleurs, a high jewellery collection that the Maison has created to celebrate the reopening.
In keeping with the architectural theme, it features 16 exceptional one-of-a-kind rings that reimagine the medieval Jewish tradition of wedding rings, which were designed as exquisite, tiny houses to represent a couple’s commitment and future life together.
Back at the turn of the 19th century, Chaumet’s founder Marie-Étienne Nitot was a favourite of Napoléon Bonaparte, whose reign heralded a new wave of lavish adornment. (It was Nitot’s son, Francois-Regnault, who brought the maison to Place Vendôme in 1812, originally at number 15, which is now home to the Ritz).
Empress Joséphine, Napoléon’s first wife, appointed Nitot to become her official jeweller in 1805, and helped Chaumet to become the celebrated home of the tiara, something for which it is still renowned today. Step into the newly restored and magnificent Salon des Diadèmes and a Parisian romance that began with an emperor looks set to stretch far into the future.
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