The exhibition "Chaumet - Un âge d'or" has just ended in Paris. An excursus on two decades of creativity, from 1965 to 1985, during which the Parisian Maison once again revolutionized the codes of jewellery, perfecting its style towards a new modernity.

Marie-Etienne Nitot, first apprentice and then collaborator with incredible goldsmith skills at Ange-Joseph Aubert, Marie Antoinette’s jeweller, opened his first shop in 1780 at 12, Vendöme. Right from the beginning his clients belonged to the monarchy and the Parisian elite and the jeweller was noticed for his exceptional skills, designing high jewellery, tiaras and head orna-ments. In fact the Maison Chaumet has created more than 2000 tiaras for monarchs and aristocratic families. constantly reinventing this particular ornament. Nitot liked to present himself as “joaillier naturaliste”, that means jeweller of nature. He was one of the experts chosen to estimate the stones and crown jewels during the French Revolution. In a letter written in 1793 he explained why jewels should never be sold: “They represent the savoir-faire and manufacturing typical of French jewellery” and he signed himself as “Joaillier naturaliste”, thus defining his work: “A constant attention to nature, to be honoured with jewels of impor tant lightness and grace, through the attentive eye of the botanist”. In the Napoleonic period (1804-1815) the Maison achieved the title of jeweller of the imperial court and personal jeweller of Empress Joséphine. For Napoleon, the interest in jewellery was purely political.
In fact he wished to re-establish the French supremacy in luxury and fashion, and that’s why he commissioned Marie-Etienne Nitot to create the sword for his own coronation and the papal tiara for Pope Pius VII.
The Maison’s jewels soon became the most sought after throughout Europe. The myth of the imperial couple represented the starting point of the legend of the Maison Chaumet. In 1812 his son Francois-Reg-nault inherited the business and he decided to move the workshop to Place Vendôme, at 15, where the Hotel Ritz is today. After the fall of the empire. from 1820 to 1850, Nitot’s various successors began to take an interest in romantic jewellery, renewing and develo ping new sources of inspiration, always faithful to the savoir-faire, creativity and quality, which have always been fundamental characteristics of Nitot’s original style. Joseph Chaumet directed the Maison from 1885 to 1928 and gave it his name. A visionary and unquestionable interpreter of the Belle Époque period, Joseph was the most iconic creator of tiaras and aigrettes, social symbols of the historical period which became iconic collections for Chaumet. In 1907, Joseph decided to move the boutique to 12, Place Vendôme, transfor ming the Hotel Baudard de Saint-James into the iconic address of the maison. Chaumet’s fame expanded and his clientele became increasingly international. Indian princes, such as the Maharajahs of Baroda and Indore, became regular customers of the boutique, often directly supplying the precious stones which were then set in light, flexible platinum settings. All these new cultures were an inexhaustible source of inspiration and led Chaumet’s creations to have an increasingly international flavour and taste. The 1920s represent the use of semi-precious stones, black and white and exotic inspirations, characterized by the creation of long necklaces and headbands, the favourite accessory of the youth of the time. In the 1930s Marcel Chaumet succeeded his father and in that period the Maison stood out for the creation of jewels with brighter colours.
From the 1950s to the 1980s. new creative minds followed one another and in 1977 Chaumet launched the iconic Liens collection which celebrated the concept of bonding in all its forms. In 1999 the Maison Chaumet joined the LVMH group. In 2010, with the Joséphine collection, Chaumet paid homage to the Empress, taking inspiration from the tiara and declining it in more wearable forms such as rings and sets. In 2011, the Bee My Love collection was launched where the theme of nature, so dear to Nitot, once again found its essence and sublimation. Romanticism, Naturalism, Belle Époque and Art Déco are the styles that have most influenced Chaumet’s creations and this is demonstrated by the 400,000 sketches kept in the Maison’s archives.
Jewellery with a light, graceful style but always with a meaning and a story In a quote from 1970, the Maison defined its creations as “jewels that have something to say”. To celebrate the anniversary of its 240 years, the Maison has renovated the historic headquarters of 12.
Vendôme, in the legendary Place. The “Salon des Dia-dèmes” can still be visited today, where the historic collections of tiaras are exhibited, supported by original sketches to seal the glorious past and strong heritage and connection with the French Empire.

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