From unfurling petals to textured leaves, the beauty of flora has been endlessly explored, exalted and eternalised in the world of jewellery—especially at the house of Chaumet.
The French jewellery brand was founded by Marie‑Étienne Nitot, who called himself a “naturalistic jeweller”. With his son François‑Regnault, Nitot ploughed inspiration from plant life to conjure creations worthy of their royal clients, including Emperor Napoleon and Empress Joséphine. The empress, in particular, favoured Chaumet’s wheat‑ear tiara, which is one of the many sparkling specimens found in the maison’s new exhibition, Végétal – L’École de la Beauté.
Staged in the historic French arts school and museum, Les Beaux‑Arts de Paris, the exhibition is rooted within the context of a herbarium for Chaumet, albeit one that collects diamond jewellery instead of dried plants.
“Other houses have placed an emphasis on nature, but plants possess a peerless identity and singularity for Chaumet,” says botanist Marc Jeanson, who curated the exhibition. Jeanson has worked on the maison’s past exhibitions, namely a showcase of its drawings at Salon du Dessin in Paris in 2018 and the Dess(e)in de Nature exhibition in 2019. “This botanical look at Chaumet, which began with Salon du Dessin, comes to its culmination in Végétal.”
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Jeanson continues: “Looking at the maison’s jewellery creations, I was struck above all by the magic of the stones and the stunning accomplishment of the jewellery know‑how. But by focusing more pointedly on the archives, I realised that there was also a remarkable botanical and symbolic dimension, which exceeds the awe aroused by the jewels.”