Creative Director Claire Choisne pays homage to original designs from the Maharajah of Patiala’s 1928 commission with the New Maharajahs collection, a modern renewal that epitomises ancestral Indian elements and androgyny.
The year is 1928. Place Vendôme is buzzing in anticipation of Bhupindar Singh, Maharajah of Patiala, and his company of 40 servants. A man with the utmost (immoderate to some) taste in jewels, the Maharajah pushes open the door of Boucheron and entrusts Louis Boucheron with his many iron safes and thousands of diamonds, rubies, emeralds and pearls within.
It is the largest commission in the history of Place Vendôme — 149 designs were imagined and realised in the forms of extravagant collars, multiple-strand necklaces, gem-encrusted belts and more, each going down in history as glistening testaments to grandeur and superlative know-how. “This commission by the Maharajah of Patiala seemed like a fairytale, it is the stuff of dreams,” notes Creative Director Claire Choisne.
Almost a hundred years have passed since then. The 21st century, while not immune to the timeless beauty of high jewellery, calls for a contemporary reinvention: personality and fluidity. People love not only jewellery, they love jewellery that speaks to their style and identity.
Designed by a present, creative mind that appreciates the classical elegance and cultural inspiration of the original pieces, the New Maharajahs collection forgoes garish colours in exchange for white and transparency to convey purity. Intricate Indian motifs seen on turban ornaments and wedding bracelets echo throughout the assemblage, coupling with traditional techniques such as glyptics — the art of engraving stones — to weave together a bejewelled spectacular for today’s men and women.
New Maharajah Necklace:
“This is the only colourful parure of the collection. It tells the story of the Maharajah of Patiala’s commission, but without the weight of History”, explains Claire Choisne.
New Maharajah Necklace:
Nine Colombian emeralds (total 40 carats) composes the central motif, which can also be worn as brooch. To lighten up this necklace without altering its beauty, Boucheron has replaced the emerald tassels from the original 1928 design with diamonds. These diamonds are in turn encased within rock crystal, amplifying their brilliance and flow.
Once transformed, the necklace becomes a collar lined with baguette cut emeralds, complementing every movement of the body.
New Maharajah Earrings:
Inspired by another necklace from the 1928 commission, Claire Choisne imagines this pair of hoops through manipulation of scale: while they are a carbon copy of the Maharajah’s necklace, these earrings are proportioned in accordance with the size of the ear. Diamonds and emeralds are set upon the sun-shaped platinum base, beaming with hypnotising shimmer.
New Maharani Necklace:
“These three necklaces have been designed to be worn together. This monochrome piece in rock crystal, diamonds and mother-of-pearl translates opulence into transparency and delicacy.”
A celebration of the lotus motif, this monochromatic choker plays with downstrokes and upstrokes of white gold to draw a diamond lace on the skin, a 4.08 carat cushion cut diamond shining at its center. “We have chiselled the proportions of this piece from its empty parts and have associated diamonds to it, to give even more lightness to the final result,” says Claire Choisne. Convertible into a ribbon version or choker, this number elevates your various ensembles with elegance.
New Maharani Cristal Necklace:
This sparkling necklace features a diamond paved white gold cord to serve as a tribute to traditional Indian necklaces. Once believed to encapsulate petrified water by Indians, the rock crystals on this piece are treated with traditional glyptics techniques, contributing to the intricate carved motifs. This number is transformable into a choker with tassels and a short necklace to complement a myriad of looks.
New Maharani Nacre Necklace:
A 5.178 Japanese pearl cascade springs from this majestic necklace. This flow is cadenced by melon-cut rock crystal beads, shining from the inside thanks to their diamond paving. The lotus flower, chiselled in mother of pearl, is the central motif of this multi-wear jewel which offers seven different looks.
The necklace retains the elegance of its movement whether it is worn in long or short form, as a choker, or even when converted into two pearl bracelets. The long main motif, swaying with pearls, diamonds and mother of pearl, can be worn as a brooch, on a man’s suit for example.
New Padma Nacre asymmetrical earrings:
Padma, or Lotus, is a symbol of purity in India. Boucheron gives this sacred flower a contemporary dimension through this exclusive ear jewel, featuring engraved diamond and mother of pearl drops at the end of the white gold base to heighten its shimmering radiance.
New Padma Diamants Ring and New Padma Cristal Ring:
Beacons of radiant purity, the New Padma Diamants Ring and New Padma Cristal Ring are a match made in heaven — while the former is a symphony of diamonds and rock crystal with a pear cut diamond centre stone, the latter references Boucheron’s iconic Parfum ring to sport a lotus flower-carved rock crystal dome upon a spotless cacholong band.
New Churiyans Bracelets:
Gracing a woman’s wrist on her wedding day, the traditional Churiyans bracelets are considered tokens of protection. This modern revision by Boucheron is forged from white gold with diamonds, mother of pearl and pearls on the circumference, serving as a subtle showcase of shades and textures.
Always inspired by the history of Boucheron, Claire Choisne has designed a mother of pearl bobbin to store these 10 bracelets when not worn, in line with the art pieces created by Boucheron.
New Sarpech Hair Jewel:
Sarpech is a Hindu hair ornament proudly worn by Maharajahs at the beginning of the last century. Through Claire Choisne’s vision, this contemporary interpretation is both a hair jewel and a brooch, adorned by rose cut diamonds to highlight the curls of its luxurious form.
New Sarpech worn as a brooch.
This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia by Michelle Chan.