Chaumet Unveils its Vision of Nature

By Marie Chabrol

In March 2019, the Chaumet high jewelry house offered a beautiful temporary exhibition in the famous Parisian Drawing Fair. Last year, in 2018, it was about the art of the diadem and head jewelry, one of the specialties of the in-house workshop. Through numerous unpublished sketches, we had discovered rare and magnificent archives testifying to the wonderful pieces left the Chaumet workshops.

Viola arvensis sp. or Viola × wittrockiana. Brooch project « Pensée des Jardins ». Joseph Chaumet (1852-1926), drawing workshop. Graphite pencil, gouache, gray ink wash and heightened gum arabic on translucent paper, circa 1890. Chaumet Collection Paris, inv.BDC-003-2-2. Photo : Chaumet

With “Dess(e) in de Nature”, the Heritage Department explored one of the main sources of inspiration for the house: nature in all its beauty and complexity. Were exhibited a hundred drawings from the internal graphic cabinet that preserves more than 88,000 documents dating back to the late eighteenth century and the creation of the workshop by Nitot.

Hedera helix. Diadem project « Ivy ». Joseph Chaumet (1852-1926), drawing workshop. Graphite pencil, wash and heightened gouache on tinted paper, circa 1910. Chaumet Collection Paris, inv.D1-064-1. Photo : Chaumet

This highly qualitative ephemeral museum let us discovered documents whose oldest date back to 1830. Through the selected sketches, we admired beautiful botanical representations including most of them gave birth to high-end jewelry pieces. And we have seen, how, by their respective talents, jewelers have sublimated nature without betraying or embellishing it.

Marsilea quadrifolia. Joseph Chaumet (1852-1926), drawing workshop. Spindle project. Lavis and heightened gouache on translucent paper, circa 1910. Chaumet Collection, Paris, inv.B-28-558.

In order to guide us in this jeweler’s herbarium, the house appealed to the knowledge and the scientific guarantee of Mr. Marc Jeanson: agronomist and botanist – he is responsible for the collections of the National Herbarium at the National Museum of Natural History at Paris since 2013, and was, in particular, associate curator of the “Gardens” exhibition at the Grand Palais, in 2017. He has done an important work of recognition of the species sublimated by the designers of the house to enlighten you on their natures.

Lonicera sp. and Dianthus sp. Two diadem projects « honeysuckle » and « carnation ». Joseph Chaumet (1852-1926), drawing workshop. Graphite pencil, pen and gray ink, wash with ink and gouache, heightened with gouache on cream-colored paper, circa 1900. Chaumet Collection Paris, inv.1900-1910-I-006. Photo : Chaumet

All of these drawings were absolutely stunning, showing us how nature is a perfect and timeless source for jewelers and designers. Looking now for new exhibitions with incredible drawings. Hope so soon!

Clematis sp., Ranunculus; Ranunculus sp. Fragaria vesca, Crataegus monogyna, Hedera helix and Calystegia sepium. Documentary studies of foliage, clematis, buttercup, wood strawberry, hawthorn, ivy and bindweed. Joseph Chaumet (1852-1926), drawing workshop. Graphite pencil, wash and heightened gouache on translucent paper, circa 1885. Chaumet Collection Paris, inv.BDC-012-1. Photo : Chaumet