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JEWELRY: Ardor for Adornment

Dominique Cerqueda
August 16, 2017        |

A Garden Comes to Life

Chopard Kalahari

Chopard has embarked on one of the most precious and ambitious jewelry sets ever produced, a testament to what sets them apart through their artistic vivacity and technical virtuosity. This new journey begins with a story of a special stone – an extraordinary gem, an ultra-rare, stunningly beautiful 342-carat diamond born in an arid desert, yet paradoxically fertile land. This pure and radiant stone is aptly called The Queen of Kalahari.

   The Geneva-based Maison continues to place meticulous endeavors to mastering all stages governing the creation of a piece of jewelry, and co-president Caroline Scheufele has consistently encouraged and steered the path for Chopard in its many years of pursuing excellence and exploring new territory. It is only natural then that she would follow this extraordinary diamond step by step into forging its lasting destiny. Out of this wondrous 342-carat stone of perfect color and clarity, bloomed The Garden of Kalahari – a set of 23 diamonds, of which five weigh over 20 carats.

Co-president Caroline Scheufele has consistently steered the path for Chopard in its years of excellence
The Garden of Kalahari ring

   With the leadership and foresight of Caroline Scheufele’s creative and visionary soul, these five stones were built through a daring network of poetic and metaphorical symbols. The radiant 50-carat brilliant cut becomes a sunflower, the 26-carat heart shape a delicate pansy, and the 25-carat pear shape a majestic banana blossom. As for the perfect 20-carat cushion cut, it indulges in a gentle tête-à-tête with the flaming poppy, while the 21-carat emerald cut floats idly alongside a water lily. All these come together in an enchanting scene of shapes, echoes, reflections, and colors, an extraordinary garden where poetry, light, and radiance are the only rules. These five diamonds are the masterworks among the 23 diamonds composing The Garden of Kalahari — the set of diamonds cut from The Queen of Kalahari. It is around these stones that an extraordinary collection of six exceptional pieces of jewelry has been dreamed up, emerging from the High Jewellery workshops of the Maison, testifying to Chopard’s renowned artistic virtuosity and to their creative expertise. The collection alone took almost a full year’s work: thousands of hours of dedication from Chopard’s jewelry artisans and gemsetters.

   Wearing the necklace is an art in itself, as the jewels are designed to be interpreted in four variations. The first is a gorgeous, modern choker to be worn alone. For a more sophisticated version, an invisible mechanism allows the wearer to detach the center and adorn it with an exquisite flower. For festive evenings, the flower itself serves to attach three majestic pendants, adorned with the three biggest diamonds in The Garden of Kalahari: the 50-carat brilliant-cut, 26-carat heart-shaped, and 25-carat pear-shaped gems. Each of these precious ‘attachments’ can be worn alone or together, culminating in the perfect necklace with all three at once.

   Upon seeing it for the first time, Caroline Scheufele enthuses that it was love at first sight. “The energy and emotional charge emanating from this gem are truly incomparable.” Since then, she has personally supervised each stage of development in the interpretations of the most prestigious jewelry ever to emerge from the Chopard workshops. She further explains, “This is a truly exceptional stone, but we did not wish to treat it as a mere trophy, but instead to prepare it for a destiny worthy of its stature.” Combined with the peerless expertise of the Chopard ateliers, this 342-carat diamond has found its most eloquent expression — in an extraordinary ensemble of 23 diamonds: The Garden of Kalahari. Among these 23 diamonds, five weigh more than 20 carats and each of the main stone cuts — cushion, brilliant, heart, emerald and pear — is represented. From the rough stone to the completed jewelry model, this transfiguration is made possible by virtuoso technical skills, artistic vocation, and the savoir-faire of the Maison Chopard.

   In the Chopard workshops, everything begins with a story of hands: those inventive artisans who successively applied their skills to these exceptional creations, by uniting more than 30 crafts under the same roof. Chopard creations and artistic crafts are an integral part of the proud High Jewellery tradition and are exercised at the very highest level there: lost-wax carvers and casters, jewelers, lapidaries, gemsetters and polishers…they perpetually push the boundaries of feasibility and, by pooling their talents, give vibrant life to the most prestigious jewelry. The Garden of Kalahari testifies to the genius that was essential to its development under the visionary eye of Caroline Scheufele. Guided by her creative direction, High Jewellery has enjoyed spectacular development in recent years and currently occupies a major place on the contemporary High Jewellery scene. These creations are the source of constantly renewed and dazzled wonderment.

The Garden of Kalahari long white earrings

   Caroline Scheufele is also a pioneer of sustainable development in jewelry. She actively encouraged the Karowe mine to join the growing number of Chopard’s suppliers — covering gold, colored gemstones, and diamonds — to engage with Eco-Age’s independent Green Carpet Challenge validation criteria, which mirrors best international practices in environmental and social justice.  Caroline and the owners of the Karowe mine agreed to the visit of the Eco-Age team to independently assess all elements of its mining activities. The Karowe mine is continuing in its own journey to sustainability by moving towards the fulfilment of the standards necessary to achieve the RJC certification. 

   Since art and cinema have also been a strong part in Chopard’s history and legacy, Alexis Veller filmed each stage of this extraordinary adventure in a 55-minute docu-fiction film.

The Garden of Kalahari testifies to the genius that was essential to its development under the visionary eye of Caroline Scheufele. Guided by her creative direction, High Jewellery has enjoyed spectacular development in recent years and currently occupies a major place on the contemporary High Jewellery scene.


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