As if Monaco was not regal and spectacular enough, Chaumet’s new heritage jewelry exhibition made the principality shimmer even more. In the presence of HSH Prince Alberto II, the French Maison debuted Chaumet in Majesty, dedicated to more than 250 pieces of jewelry worn by members of the aristocracy and monarchs.
The relationship between Chaumet and royalty goes back to the brand’s founding days, when in 1780 Napoleon commissioned it to create his ceremonial sword and the jewelry for his multiple consecutive wives, starting with Joséphine. Today, the Empress and first consort is still an inspiration for Chaumet’s contemporary designs, forever remembered for fully capturing the heart of the French emperor, but also for her spectacular jewelry that embellished her fingers, arms, neck, and, most importantly, her head. In order to dazzle Europe and the world, Napoleon drank from the classic societies, bringing back the tradition of tiaras and mesmerizing jewelry as symbols of grandeur and power. Good news for the founder Marie-Étienne Nitot, who became the court go-to man for such commissions.
For the first time, Chaumet is now showcasing 50 tiaras under the same roof, highlighting the brand’s expertise that hails from the 18th century, but is still in vibrant demand in contemporary times. Until today, Chaumet crafted – and is still making more than 3,500 tiaras. The reunion of these pieces was a true labor of love for curators Stéphane Bern and Christophe Vachaudez, who worked restlessly for almost 2 years with private collectors and museums to gather all the pieces. Some of the most outstanding treasures on display are the tiara and matching set belonging to Empress Marie-Louise (Napoleon’s second wife and mother of his first heir); the diamond tiara owned by Edwina, Countess Mountbatten of Burma; and the most Instagrammed jewel, the Princess Henckel von Donnersmarck tiara that counts 11 cushion-cut diamonds crowned by a row of hypnotizing pear-shaped emeralds.
Looking equally regal — like a modern day princess — Egyptian actor Salma Abu Deif, Tunisian model and presenter Rym Saidi, and Lebanese beauty mogul Joelle Mardinian, rubbed elbows at the opening night events with other A-List guests including Natalie Portman and Natalia Vodianova. After a cocktail at Grimaldi Forum, a dinner catered by Michelin Star chef Alain Ducasse followed at the historical Casino de Monte-Carlo. “I love the story behind the Insolence necklace I’m wearing,” mentioned Salma Abu Deif, who also dazzled in Arab designers Aly Younes and Marzook. “It was made for a girl that can’t be trapped, and if she pulls one of the precious strands of the necklace, she can set herself free.” Although we don’t advise anyone to go that extreme around high jewelry, we are satisfied to observe that it still captures the imagination and taste of all generations, from the wife of Napoleon, to a young Arab star.
Until August 28, Grimaldi Forum, Monaco