Experimental goldsmith techniques and creative design produced from 1965 to 1985 will be on display this autumn when Chaumet opens “Un Age d’Or” (“A Golden Age”), a salon above the jewelers’ Place Vendôme boutique in Paris. There is an exhibition.
“The 1970s was a very interesting era in jewelry and for Chaumet in particular,” said French jewelry historian Vanessa Cron, who is curating the show.
He said, in 1969, “Man set foot on the Moon.” “It blew people’s mind – we entered a new era where anything seemed possible. Politically and socio-economically, the focus was on independence and this translated into music, cinema, art and jewellery.
“Chaumet was one of the greatest traditional high jewelry houses,” he added, “but it took a parallel path in creating these flashy, outrageous creations that look like artist’s jewelry.”
Fifty-six gems and objets d’art from the Chaumet’s archives are to be displayed, with furnishings by Pierre Paulin, Michel Ducaroy and Victor Vasarely; vintage fashion from Dior and Paco Rabanne; and Andy Warhol lithographs. And among the works of René Morin, Chaumet’s artistic director from 1962 to 1987, would be Pierre d’Or designs, a collection that included 24-karat gold cartouches in place of precious stones.
Part of the exhibition aims to highlight the various gold patinas and finishes, including textured, mirror-polished, braided, brushed and chiselled, as well as a brutalist look called Polly Arcade, named after the 1970s Chaumet boutique L. ‘Arcade, which included its avant-garde creations of the time. A large torque necklace on display contrasts a rough polished arcade surface with mirror-polished gold.
Another subject is carved stone, the work of master glyphotician Robert Lemoine, who used malachite and tiger’s eye to create musical instruments, military headdresses and playing-card brooches in the form of emperors. They were designed by Pierre Sterle, who began making jewelry for the house in the 1930s and officially joined in 1976 as technical advisor. And the third part of the show is to focus on objects such as carved crystal and the gold-vermilion animal. The heads of Chaumet’s Bestiary Fabulx collaborated with the French crystal house Baccarat.
Ms Crone said she believes the creative period from the mid-60s to the mid-80s is now particularly attractive. “After the Covid pandemic, people yearn for something that looks like freedom,” he said. “The 1970s seems like the last era where people were really hopeful and carefree.”
The exhibition is scheduled from October 5 to November 5. 2020 will be the second show held at the jewelers’ historic Hôtel Particulier since its restoration was completed; First, in 2021, the house’s relations with Napoleon and Josephine were highlighted. It will be open to the public free of charge.
Such installations, Jean-Marc Mansvelt, the house’s chief executive, wrote in an email, “make Chaumet come alive.”
“You can write books and tell Chaumet stories,” he continued, “but it is even better to show them; Jewelery is a ‘physical’, tactile and emotional profession. And everyone who will see these installations will be able to form their own opinion and experience their own feelings and sensations.