Boucheron’s Histoire de Style high jewelry collection, presented every January, is inspired by pieces in the house’s archives. But this year, for its fourth iteration, it also highlighted a little-known bit of history: the house’s founder, Frédéric Boucheron, was the son of a textile merchant who specialized in silks and lace.
“When I looked at the archives, I saw tons of references to couture — a bow here, a pompom there, a grosgrain there,” said Claire Choisne, the house’s creative director, “but it had never been treated thematically, so I wanted to tie it all together.”
The Power of Couture, as she named the collection, was inspired by the high collars, braiding, fastenings and ornamental braiding (frogging) worn by royalty for ceremonial occasions. And on her mood board was a photograph of a young Prince Philip, in full naval dress, waving to the crowd after Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953. (Last year the collection featured jewels inspired by an Art Deco brooch given to the future queen on her 18th birthday.)
“For a long time, I’ve had this fantasy about playing with the paradox of knitting or braiding with stones,” Ms. Choisne said. “Obviously, it’s a contradiction and it seems impossible but I liked the idea of creating that illusion.”
The first piece she designed was Tricot, a supple five-strand choker. It looks as though it was knitted but, like the rest of the 24-piece collection, the necklace and its matching bracelet were made entirely of rock crystal, diamonds and precious metal.
Each crystal was cut, polished to a matte finish and enameled by hand, then interspersed with diamond-set chevron links on cables of nitinol, a lightweight alloy of titanium and nickel first discovered by the United States Navy. The choker’s central feature was a two-carat diamond set within circles of rock crystal and round- and baguette-cut diamonds.