Boucheron 1858-2018: A Bright Anniversary

1858-2018: having marked 160 years in business, the company founded by Frédéric Boucheron has become an icon of style and a key player haute joaillerie. It is celebrating this important anniversary by bringing new luster to the historic atelier in Place V

  • Frederic Boucheron in a North African Souk

    Frederic Boucheron in a North African Souk

  • Bracelets and watch Boucheron

    Bracelets and watch Boucheron

  • Crown - Boucheron archives

    Crown - Boucheron archives

  • Crown - Boucheron archives

    Crown - Boucheron archives

If there is a place that has become universally synonymous with haute joaillerie it is Place Vendôme, the architectural flourish created at the behest of Louis XIV, the 'Sun King' himself. In 1893, it was Frédéric Boucheron who paved the way for the opening of boutiques overlooking Paris' 'salon' par excellence. This was the first in a long series of luxury brands to make their homes in the refined buildings around the octagonal square — which also inspired Coco Chanel in making the cap for her N°5 fragrance — that is perhaps one of the most valuable locations in terms of the number of carats and precious metals housed there. N° 26 was not chosen by chance. Actually, legend has it that Monsieur Boucheron, a man who was known as being quite meticulous and who left nothing to chance, noticed that this was the sunniest corner of the square. This meant that his creations would shine even brighter, attracting the curious and, most importantly, customers. And there is no doubt that, in 2018, this historic location will once again shine of its own light, back in fine form thanks to a renovation worth millions of euros.

  • Frederic Boucheron

    Frederic Boucheron

  • Necklace Boucheron archives

    Necklace Boucheron archives

  • Necklace gouaché Boucheron

    Necklace gouaché Boucheron

  • Necklace-Boucheron archives

    Necklace-Boucheron archives

  • Plume de Paon archive

    Plume de Paon archive

This is the way that Kering—the multinational company that has had Boucheron as part of its rich portfolio of luxury brands since 2004 — has decided to celebrate the 160th anniversary. Actually, when it opened its doors in Place Vendôme, the brand was already well-established and boasted fame and prestige, which it had earned thanks to more than 35 years of great creativity. In 1867, it was recognized and awarded the gold medal at the World's Fair. The first headquarters was located in the Galerie de Valois, in the Palais Royal, back in 1858. So, 160 years of activity from 1858 to 2018, that can be looked back on like a family album through the four generations of children and grandchildren that have led the company ever since. Even in the first decades of the brand, many celebrities chose to wear creations from this extraordinary man. He had the soul of a romantic journeyman seeking inspiration in exotic countries but, at the same time, he had the spirit of a great entrepreneur with an uncommonly good sense for business and new paths to take (or, better yet, be the first to embark upon). Actually, back in 1893 he had the idea to open a boutique in Moscow. Shortly after his death, in 1903, boutiques were opened in London and New York. These may have been seen more like risky choices than strategies, but, in just a short amount of time, the royals in half of Europe — following the example of Prince Felix Youssoupoff of Russia who had been a fan since the beginning — were wearing pieces that today are considered masterpieces in the history of jewelry.

  • 26 Vendôme flagship store

    26 Vendôme flagship store

  • Rings gouachés Boucheron archives

    Rings gouachés Boucheron archives

  • 26 Vendôme flagship store

    26 Vendôme flagship store

  • 26 Vendôme flagship store

    26 Vendôme flagship store

Since then, following in the footsteps of this man has become quite a challenge for anyone who wants to be a jewelry designer. While Boucheron's contemporaries would not have dared create pieces with lacquered gold — plated metal decorated with diamonds or engraved diamonds — his great passion along with delicate 'plique-à-jour' enameling — Claire Choisne, the creative director since 2011, seems to have the right touch and right sensibility for interpreting the brand's style and continuing the founder's work in the best possible way. This also includes reinterpreting historic pieces, as some of the most recent collections of haute joaillerie attest to: Artisan du Rêve, Hôtel de la Lumière, Rêves d’Ailleurs, Bleu de Jodhpur, and 26 Vendôme —one per year, from 2012 to 2016. Following the legacy left by Monsieur Boucheron, Madame Choisne delights in reinventing the brand's classic motifs, coming up with unusual combinations of materials, also in terms of proportions and ways such personality — rich pieces can be worn, such as the use of rock crystal paired audaciously with sand and marble. Her touch in the latest collections has certainly not gone unnoticed — Fourth, Serpent Bohemian, and Reflection are the latest must — see lines, one part of a story that began 160 years ago.
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