150 years of History
Participation in the Biennale des Antiquaires at the Grand Palais in Paris.
Known as “the Divine One”, the Countess of Castiglione was reputed to be the most beautiful woman of the century. A mysterious beauty, she lived in the basement apartments of 26 Place Vendôme thus sharing the Hôtel de Nocé townhouse with Frédéric Boucheron: she particularly loved his creations and soon became one of the Maison’s most important ambassadors.
A collector of men’s hearts, namely Napoleon III’s, she was showered with jewelry by those who fell madly in love with her. So as to preserve her beauty from the harsh light of day, she only left her apartments in the evening, adorned in her jewels that sparkled brightly under the lights of the Place Vendôme. Legend has it that, when she returned home and was alone, she would spend hours contemplating them, fascinated by the magical dazzle of the splendid stones.
The swan, a symbol of of nobility and elegance, brings his majestic aura to the Maison's rich menagerie
Gérard Boucheron’s cat, Wladimir, was a much-loved feature of the Place Vendôme boutique: he was perfectly at home, weaving through displays of jewels and precious stones. Wladimir’s presence in the private townhouse at 26 Place Vendôme added a genuine feeling of being in a family home. Considered to be a lucky cat and extremely affectionate, he would seek out the client’s gentle patting and stroking. Since then, Boucheron animals have never been aggressive or dangerous.
Creation of the High Jewelry timepiece, Ladyhawke Tourbillon, celebrating the collaboration between the Maison Boucheron and Manufacture Girard-Perregaux.
In 1785, Rousseau, the watchmaker, invented a new kind of sundial featuring a canon topped by a magnifying glass that was placed in the sun’s path, in perfect alignment with the Parisian meridian. This instrument gave the exact time at 12 noon. The dial, at first located in the gardens of the Palais Royal, sent a daily reflection of sunlight into Frédéric Boucheron’s first boutique, situated under the arches of the gallery.
The base of the sundial bore the following inscription "Horas non numero nisi serenas" – “I count only the joyful hours”. Fascinated by this unique approach to time and to life, Frédéric Boucheron decided to adopt the motto as his own. The Maison’s first creations are inspired by this: Frédéric Boucheron wished to be the watchmaker of “Joyful Hours” and through this vision created watches that celebrate life’s special moments.
Celebration of the Maison Boucheron’s 150th anniversary at the Petit Palais in Paris.
Frédéric Boucheron's Music Box
Frédéric Boucheron owned a mysterious small box which he kept on his desk and considered to be a lucky object. It housed an automaton mechanism that, when triggered, made a bird spring magically out of it and sing during about 10 seconds. Frédéric Boucheron often welcomed clients from all over the world, and when they prepared to leave the Maison, he would activate the automaton to wish them a "bon voyage". The bird's song would then chime through the boutique in a melody that the jeweler saw as bringing good luck.
Delicate and playful, the hedgehog represented by this ring is adorned with one of the Maison's emblematic codes; the Pointe de diamant, and joins the Animaux de Collection, a theme dear to Boucheron.
When the Ritz Palace was established on the Place Vendôme, shortly after the Maison Boucheron, César Ritz and Frédéric Boucheron quickly became friends. The atmosphere of the boutique at number 26 Place Vendôme was very similar to that of the palace hotel, so much so that some clients even considered it to be an annex of the Ritz, offering the same special atmosphere and dedicated service to its clients. Indeed, the butler at the Boucheron boutique offered the same cocktails as at the hotel and it is said that the “Blue Blazer” was Frédéric Boucheron’s favorite.
Launch of Quatre: the Maison’s Signature ring.
Ava Gardner’s legendary beauty made her an icon of American cinema and inspired the Maison Boucheron for the creations of its Ava line of jewels. In the film Singapore, Ava Gardner is given a ring as a symbol of passionate love: her remarkable and touching expression at that moment embodies the emotion a woman feels when presented with a precious gift of love. The diamond of the Ava jewels, which seems to float in the air and shines with the purest sparkle, echoes the beauty of this glamorous star and the way she stands out in the crowd.
Launch of the Ava collection in homage of the eternal grace of Ava Gardner.
The Grand-Duc Wladimir became entranced by a young woman when he picked up a scarf she had dropped during a ball they were both attending. To pay homage to their first encounter and to mark the extraordinary moment forever, he asked Frédéric Boucheron several years later to create a gold necklace that could mimic the suppleness of the finest scarf, as a symbol of his eternal love for his wife. Since then the Maison works on gold as if it were a fabric, a supple and flowing cloth, transforming it into jewels that seem to be woven from gold threads.
The Maison Boucheron celebrates its 130th anniversary with a major retrospective at the Jacquemart-André Museum and launches its first fragrance.
The famous American actress Joan Crawford was a cherished client of the Maison Boucheron: she acquired a jewelry set made of aqua-marine stones and diamonds. She confided that the sparkle of the jewels was so intense that she drew inspiration from it and would often insist on wearing it on stage.
Wishing to own something to remember his favorite actress by, Andy Warhol bought the set in 1977: in his eyes, the jewels were priceless as he was convinced that the stones contained a part of the actress’s soul.
Opening of the first boutique in Japan. This 1910 tiara is a beautiful example of a Japanese inspired piece paying homage to the famous Hokusai painting, entitled The Great Wave of Kanagawa, from the 'Thirty-six views of Mount Fuji' series.
The world’s most famous actress at the end of the 19th century, Sarah Bernhardt hosted a number of parties and theatrical evenings at her Belle Ile home, attended by the most prestigious guests and surrounded by her extraordinary menagerie of pets. A client of the Maison, she repeatedly ordered replicas of her dogs, cats and birds, set onto rings and necklaces and adorned with the most dazzling precious stones. In this way, she contributed to the growing appeal and demand for the Maison Boucheron’s Animaux de Collection.
Launch of the first pieces of the Serpent collection. This protective animal, symbol of eternity, will become one of the Maison’s key emblems.
In 1948, after having written "l’Hymne à l’amour" and to bring herself good luck for the song’s first audition, Edith Piaf bought a Reflet watch from the Maison Boucheron. Following the song’s huge success, she came to regard the Reflet watch as talisman. Between 1949 and 1963, she who was known as La Môme (the kid), acquired no less than 21 Reflet watches, one of which she gave to the love of her life, the boxer Marcel Cerdan.
Launch of the first Reflet watch.
The Shah of Iran
The appraisal of one of the world’s most fabulous treasures.
In 1930, Louis Boucheron was commissioned by the Shah of Iran to assess the Imperial Treasure of Iran: one of the world’s most fabulous treasures, comprising the most amazing precious stones and extraordinary objects Louis Boucheron had ever seen, namely a solid gold throne entirely set with precious gems and a terrestrial globe set with 51 336 stones.
It took Louis Boucheron several months to complete the appraisal and the final estimation was kept a secret forever after.
Louis Boucheron and his descendants were made the official Curators and Guardians of the Iranian Treasure, which remains in Tehran.
Boucheron is asked by the Shah of Iran to assess the Imperial Treasure of Persia and becomes official Curator and Guardian of the treasure.
Maharadjah de Patiala
The most extraordinary order ever seen on the Place Vendôme
It was in August 1928 that the Maharajah of Patiala arrived at number 26 Place Vendôme, escorted by servants carrying six boxes full of precious stones, including 7 571 diamonds and 1 432 emeralds. Impressed by Boucheron’s reputation and the special link the Maison had established with India, he ordered an exceptional set of jewelry to be made up of 149 jewelry pieces with the thousands of diamonds, rubies and emeralds from his treasure. To this day, this is the most important and extraordinary order ever seen on Place Vendôme.
The Maison Boucheron creates an exceptional diadem that will become one of the Queen Mother Elizabeth’s favorites.
Celebrated “queen” of New York from the early 1900s until her wedding to heir John Jacob Astor IV in 1911, Madeleine Astor was a faithful client of Frédéric Boucheron’s, whom she visited each year so as to order fabulous new jewelry sets. As passengers on the Titanic, only Mrs Astor survived the sinking, her husband having gallantly given his place on the lifeboat to a woman. All of her magnificent collection of jewels disappeared in the ocean that night, except for a sapphire and diamond ring which Mrs Astor was wearing. She wore it always after that, in remembrance of her valiant husband.
Louis Boucheron’s first trip to India. These journeys were devoted to the purchase of stones and the sale of jewelry and were to profoundly influence the creation of the Maison Boucheron's High Jewelry creation.
The Mary Ethel Burns collection is one of the most spectacular ever created by Boucheron.
For her engagement, the father of the young woman who was to become Lady Harcourt accompanied his daughter to the Maison’s boutique so that she could compose her wedding chest. An adoring father, Walter Hayes Burns wanted her to have the most beautiful trousseau ever seen and instructed his daughter to choose and order all of the jewels she dreamed of. It is said that Mary spent several days in the boutique, selecting the most exquisite jewels and sparkling stones.
Opening of a boutique in London’s New Bond Street and an office in New York.
The King of Belgium
In 1900, Boucheron made a wristwatch for the King of Belgium, Léopold II, in gold, sapphires and rubies and bearing the king’s arms and royal crown. He was the first male client to ever choose this type of watch; at the time, gentlemen were still faithful to the pocket watch, regarding the wristwatch as too feminine. Thus, thanks to Frédéric Boucheron, the ruler became the pioneer of a fashion that is now the norm.
At the Universal Exhibition in Paris, The Maison Boucheron receives the gold medal and is established as one of the forerunners of the Art Nouveau movement.
Celebrated for her beauty, La Païva easily admitted that “nothing and no one gave her as much delight as her precious stones”. For over 30 years, enthralled admirers presented her with extraordinary jewelry, which she cherished above all things. She went on to marry Count von Donnersmarck, who sold all of his possessions to satisfy her grandiose appetite for jewelry, particularly for the acquisition of a 100 carat yellow diamond: this unique stone symbolizes the mad passion of a man for a woman.
The Maison Boucheron opens its first boutique in Moscow. It will be transferred to Saint Petersburg in 1911 (the Moscow Boutique was reopened in 2003).
Madly in love with his fiancée, Alexandra, Queen Victoria's granddaughter, the Tsar Nicolas II summoned Frédéric Boucheron to the British Royal Court and commissioned the most remarkable and original tiara ever worn. Indeed, Boucheron created a breath-taking coronet, entirely set with pearls and diamonds and requiring 2000 hours of work to complete. The Tsarevitch won Alexandra’s heart with the gift of this exceptional creation on the day of their wedding engagement in 1894. Suffering from terrible migraine headaches, the Empress insisted that only the coronet eased the pain and it thus became her totem jewel.
The Maison Boucheron opens its doors at 26 Place Vendôme and installs its workshop. Frédéric Boucheron is the first jeweler to settle on the square. He shares the premises with the Countess of Castiglione who lives on the mezzanine.
Henckel von Donnersmarck
On the 27th of April 1885, Count Henckel von Donnersmarck, the husband of La Païva, made a very special order with Boucheron: he had a rose cut diamond set medallion - containing a lock of his wife’s hair and tied with a diamond ribbon - placed on the back of a watch. In this way, he hoped to always be in the thoughts of his loved one. For him, the passing hours were dedicated to love and each joyful moment was spent celebrating his soul mate.
On the occasion of the Universal Exhibition in Paris, Boucheron presents its first “point d’interrogation” necklace. This style of necklace has remained a key element within the Maison Boucheron ever since.
The Crown Jewels
One of the most famous jewelry auctions in the world was held in 1887, at the Louvre. The auction of the French Crown Jewels was referred to at that time as “the sale of the century”. Frédéric Boucheron, the only Frenchman amongst the attendance of the world’s most important jewelers, managed to acquire 31 diamonds and among them the celebrated Mazarin diamonds weighing respectively 18 and 16 carats, along with one of Empress Eugénie’s most beautiful jewels, for which the auction stakes skyrocketed. When word was out that Frédéric Boucheron had bought this sumptuous stone, the whole of Paris wondered who had given the acquisition order. It turned out that Frédéric had acquired it for himself so as to set it on a ring for his wife, Gabrielle, as a pledge of his eternal love. Ever since, Boucheron has been the jeweler of love and tradition has it that the most passionate of men go to the Maison to choose an engagement ring.
The diamonds of the French crown are auctioned off. Frédéric Boucheron is the only French buyer. This sale will give rise to the creation of numerous jewels inspired by the crown jewels.
Appearing 102 times in the Maison’s special order books between 1876 and 1902, Marie-Louise Mackay, a wealthy American, made the most impressive orders ever known by the Maison Boucheron. She first arrived at Boucheron with no specific creation in mind, simply asking the jeweler for an extraordinary stone. To express his love, her husband asked Frédéric Boucheron to secretly seek out the most exceptional sapphire to match the intense color of her deep blue eyes. He finally selected a 160 carat blue sapphire from Kashmir that he had set onto a necklace, which delighted Mrs Mackay, who was then said to own the world’s most beautiful sapphire. Frédéric Boucheron had already understood that the beauty of a precious stone or jewel is above all a means to highlight and enhance a woman’s radiance.
At the Universal Exhibition in Paris, the Maison Boucheron is awarded First Prize for its creations, including a sapphire necklace, created for Marie-Louise MacKay. The necklace is adorned with a 160 carat central sapphire.
The first designs of the snake jewelry creations in the House’s archives. The snake pattern has remained a fundamental of the Maison Boucheron to the present day.
In 1876, Frédéric Boucheron visited the Universal Exhibition in Philadelphia: he was forced to be away from his wife, Gabrielle, from whom he had never been apart for more than a few days. Very much in love, the couple dreaded the separation. On the eve of his departure, Frédéric gave Gabrielle a bracelet representing a serpent, telling her that the animal would protect her during his absence. The jewel consequently became her inseparable companion and talisman, the symbol of protection and conjugal love.
Frédéric Boucheron is awarded the gold medal for the innovative spirit of his jewelry at the Universal Exhibition in Paris.
The Grand Duke Alexander
On the 7th of February 1876, the Grand Duke Alexander, future Tsar Alexander III, and his wife Maria Féodorovna, entered the boutique located in the Palais Royal so as to acquire a watch on a jewel chain, adorned with rose cut diamonds. To bring good luck, the Grand Duke requested the addition of two features; a crown and his personal lucky number. Boucheron creations are precious timepieces that, like talismans, mark the joyful hours.
The Maison Boucheron creates its workshop.
La Belle Otero
A renowned beauty, Caroline Otero was covered in jewels given to her by her many admirers: her collection was one of the most impressive ever seen by Frédéric Boucheron. Despite her myriad jewels, the “Belle”, as she was known, rarely took off her peony shaped pendant, representing the flower of true love: given to her by a faithful lover, she considered the bloom to be a representation of eternal spring and enduring beauty, its color echoing the rosy blush of her cheeks.
Frédéric Boucheron opens his first boutique in the Galerie de Valois under the arcades of the Palais Royal which at that time was the center of the Parisian luxury trade.