Prestigious French jewellery house. Before opening his own jewellery store in 1858, Frédéric Boucheron apprenticed at the fashionable Parisian jewellery house Deschamps. When Deschamps retired, he discouraged Frédéric from entering the jewellery trade, calling him “not cut out to be the proprietor of a business.” Nonetheless, Boucheron persevered. The firm he founded, Boucheron, has become one of most important jewellery houses of our time.
Though he started with little capital and a small stock of jewellery, Boucheron quickly attracted Parisian trendsetters’ attention. Among his specialities were lacy gold metalwork embellished with diamonds, engraved diamonds (uncommon still today) and delicate plique-a-jour enamelling. The gemstones he used were carefully selected for color and quality. Even Boucheron’s most accomplished competitors, like André Massin, praised the firm's pieces for their “faultless craftsmanship.” The jewels were also unusual.
As fellow jeweller and historian Henri Vever said, Boucheron made pieces that “very few of his colleagues would have dared to make at the time.”The firm thus developed a faithful and growing clientele. Among its clients was Tiffany and Company.
In 1867, Boucheron won a grand prize for jewellery at Paris’s International Exposition for pieces in the archaeological revival and Louis XVI styles. In 1876, the French government presented Frédéric Boucheron with a Legion of Honor award for his jewellery. Awards from international expositions woudl roll in for the next fifty years.
Frédéric would not see all of them. He died in 1902, leaving the firm to his son Louis. The business was in good shape. Nine years earlier, in 1893, Boucheron had taken up residence at 26 Place Vendôme, Paris.
By the turn of the century, the firm had enough name recognition, and capital, to open branch stores in London and New York.
In the early 1930’s, the firm expanded its presence to the Middle East and South America. Fred and Gérard Boucheron, Louis’s sons, literally carried Boucheron’s jewellery all over the globe, offering private showings to important clients.
As the twentieth century reared its head, the firm stayed at the cutting edge of fashion. It produced exquisite Art Nouveau, Edwardian, and Art Deco pieces. During the 1930’s and 40’s, Boucheron popularized detachable dress clips, i.e., clips that could be worn separately or combined into a single piece, depending on one’s outfit or mood. Like others during the Retro period, its designers made ample use of three-dimensional motifs, flexible chains, and tassels.
In 1962, control of the firm passed to Gérard’s son, Alain. Under his direction, the firm returned to materials it had used at the beginning of the century: rock crystal quartz, coral, wood, turquoise.
In the 1970’s and 80’s, Boucheron designers were keen to mix such materials with diamonds and other precious stones to create large, impressive pieces. To this day, the firm’s designs often feature bubbly, carved multicolour gemstones. Geometric lines, tassels, mesh— design elements from the firm’s past—are combined with modern design components. Its reputation for unsurpassed quality and design continues.
His ruby, emerald and sapphire butterflies, enameled dragonflies decorated with brilliants, silver and gold leaves attracted the attention of the famous and the noble right away. Animals and plants were his sources of inspiration. But rather than copying nature, he was inspired by nature and recreated nature. The Art Nouveau’ trend famous for the plant, flower and animal motifs worldwide, overlapped with Boucheron’s style. Frederic Boucheron decorated the roses, lizards, ladybirds, bees and tortoises with pearls, brilliants, enamel and sapphires. He was an expert in gem stones. A 152- karat sapphire he placed in the middle of one of his jewels made history as the biggest and clearest example of its kind.