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Rhapsody in Bleu

By Elise Nussbaum

06.23.17

Subhead: 
Over 150 years of haute jewelry history, Boucheron has consistently innovated, building a reputation for being unafraid to transform traditional concepts.
Jodhpur Necklace by Boucheron, front view
Jodhpur Necklace by Boucheron, front view
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Over 150 years of haute jewelry history, Boucheron has consistently innovated, building a reputation for being unafraid to transform traditional concepts. With its haute jewelry collection “Bleu de Jodhpur,” Boucheron presents an intriguing exploration of India’s relationship with jewelry, centered on the famed “blue city” of Jodhpur. The collection creates a series of aperçus of a rich culture that is almost infinitely varied. Boucheron steers clear of exotic clichés, inventively using materials such as marble and sand to express a contemporary interpretation of its Indian inspiration.

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Also known as the “City of Sun,” Jodhpur is a natural inspiration for Boucheron, a jeweler synonymous with Paris, “City of Light,” as it was, in fact, the first jeweler on the Place Vendôme in 1893. The ties between Boucheron and Jodhpur are not purely notional—the Maharajah of Jodhpur, His Highness Gajsingh II, is deeply involved with this exquisite collection, which is presented under his patronage. The Maharaja was touched by the vision of India and the sensitivity with which Boucheron has been able to capture and transcribe the essence of the city of Jodhpur.

Jodhpur Necklace by Boucheron, reverse view
Jodhpur Necklace by Boucheron, reverse view
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One “chapter” of the collection is named for Jodhpur, a city renowned for the stunning aesthetic effect of bright sunlight playing over azure buildings. The astounding Jodhpur Necklace is set with not only sapphires and diamonds that recall the color of Jodhpur’s homes, and translucent rock crystal that all but glows from within, but also an unprecedented material: Makrana marble. The most valuable marble in the world, Makrana marble was used to build the Taj Mahal, and here achieves magnificence on a smaller scale.

Nagaur Necklace by Boucheron
Nagaur Necklace by Boucheron
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Architecture also played a role in the creation of the opulent Nagaur Necklace, which draws inspiration from the beauty and pomp of the Palace of Nagaur, a fortified oasis in the middle of the Thar Desert, as well as the Art Deco feel and fiery colors of the Umaid Bhawan Palace. The necklace uses a highly traditional form of court splendor as a foundation, with seven strands of pearls supporting a rock crystal pendant. This rock crystal bears at its center a 2-carat diamond that represents the miracle of water and life in the desert. Sand from the Thar Desert fills the rock crystal ornament: a tangible reminder of the stately Mughal courts.

Fleur de Lotus Necklace by Boucheron

Fleur de Lotus Necklace by Boucheron 

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For the Garden & Cosmos chapter, Boucheron turns its attention to two styles of painting that originated in Jodhpur in the seventeenth century. The “Garden” motif draws upon the elaborate celebrations, exuberant flora and spirited fauna in the palace gardens of the Rajput sovereigns, while “Cosmos” pieces refer to the Hindu story of Creation. The Fleur de Lotus Necklace, a variation on the theme of “Garden & Cosmos,” uses a stunning flower that one might find in a luxurious garden to allude to a Hindu religious narrative painting.

Mehndi Brooch by Boucheron
Mehndi Brooch by Boucheron
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Brides in India have been applying henna designs, also called mehndi, to their hands and feet for hundreds of years. On “Mehndi Night,” all the female members of the family get together to celebrate, sing, dance and have the elaborate designs painted onto their skin. The Mehndi Brooch pays tribute to the beauty of Indian women with a design similar to the teardrop shape of paisley, a popular traditional theme. Light-filled diamonds limn a lacy, stylized design that seems to cling to the body as closely as henna itself. In the Boucheron tradition of versatile jewelry, the Mehndi Brooch can also be worn as a necklace.

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Reprinted from Jewelry International Volume VI