India has always played a major role in inspiring the international circuit of high jewellery. The imprints of Indian architecture, regional motifs and its colours have inspired many jewellery collections. But the latest collection, ‘Bleu de Jodhpur’ from the French jewellery house Boucheron, uplifts the inspiration from literal motif-picking to a more tactile version by cleverly incorporating daring material like Makrana marble and sand from Thar Desert into it. Adding calibrated gemstones and diamonds in custom shapes enhances the overall experience of the collection.
Amalgamating the innovation of contemporary India with the beauty of the traditional, Boucheron’s director of creations Claire Chosine has designed an astoundingly visual journey of the city, interpreted in necklaces, brooches and rings. Under close consultation with Gaj Singh II of Marwar, Claire drafted the 105 piece collection in four different chapters — Jodhpur, Indian palace, Garden & Cosmos and Maharani.
Tracing its historic link to India, the collection has a staggering 105 designs which are reminiscent of different elements of Jodhpur, the City of the Sun. Inspiration comes from the rows of blue houses, mehndi designs on princesses’ palms, pieces worn by the resplendent royalty and even the incredible flora and fauna.
The most noteworthy piece from the collection is the Jodhpur necklace with diamonds, blue sapphires, rock crystals and the famous Indian Makrana marble. The hints of blue and white portray a romantic interpretation of the Blue City bathed in dazzling white light, with geometric shapes of the gems, such as the kite-shaped diamond in the center, infusing it with strong Art Deco characteristics.
This masterpiece is the very first reversible high jewellery necklace ever created, designed as a tribute to Indian jewellery that traditionally was crafted to be equally stunning on both sides.
Crafting a vision
The Indian palaces like Umaid Bhavan and the majesty of Nagaur, a fortified town in the middle of the Thar Desert are inspirations for the second chapter. The Nagaur necklace is a true work of art with an ingenious union of design and manufacturing. The seven-row pearl necklace, strung on silk threads, bears a magnificent floral pendant made of rock crystal, with sand from the Thar Desert encapsulated in-between as a souvenir. A two-carat cushion shaped diamond in the centre is like an oasis in the middle of the desert and adds the much-desired sparkle, and a pearl tassel finishes the look. The pearl strings are skillfully strung, and the Nagaur necklace can be worn in three different ways with the use of simple mechanisms.
The approach to the third section of the collection is more vivid and strong on trends. Playing with flora and fauna, one can see pieces like the colourful question mark Lotus necklace, the realistic hopi bird rings with large coloured gemstones and the trendy double finger tiger rings. The Fleur de Lotus necklace creates the visual of an idealised Garden of Eden with a graphically treated lotus studded with rubelites, pink tourmalines and fiery orange spessartine garnets along with a 15-carat kite-shaped pink tourmaline in the center.
The mehndi brooch from the final chapter celebrates the women in Indian royalty and their extravagant wardrobes. With paisley motifs picked from the art of applying mehndi (henna), the ethereal brooch is light as lace and can also be converted into a necklace in tune with Boucheron’s traditions of creating multi-wearable jewellery. A delicate pair of earrings and a ring also accompanies this wondrous creation of brooch-cum-necklace.
Other pieces such as the Plume necklace and watch set also highlight the use of Makrana marble, bringing to mind a shimmering white peacock. Smaller themes like the bindi, the festival of Diwali, birds like the eagle and the parakeet take shape in very intricately detailed jewels which are part of the collection.
Boucheron is known to push boundaries with every collection that the house produces. It takes patience and skilled craftsmen to create these rare designs and transform a sketch into finished jewels.
Their jewels are full of surprises, focus on innovative techniques and stay true to their inspiration, and that is the reason why the French maison has an unending list of A-list fans across the globe.
Preeta Agarwal is a Delhi-based writer and photographer