Animals have always been fertile inspiration for French jeweller Boucheron. For more than 150 years, animals have prowled, crept, flown, galloped, ambled and strutted across the imaginations of Boucheron craftsmen and designers, producing some of the company’s most historic, precious, and beloved jewellery. Soon after founding his company in Paris in 1858, Frederic Boucheron presented his wife Gabrielle with a gift, a necklace representing a snake, meant to watch over her in his absence. Gifted on the eve of one of his trips. it was meant to watch over her in his absence. Today, the snake has come to be a symbol of love, protection, and eternity, and is a key emblem of Boucheron.
Boucheron’s eccentricities are legendary — a small music box featuring an automaton bird that sprang out and sang a tune. Or Wladimir, the much-loved resident cat of Boucheron’s Place Vendome boutique, welcoming and cuddling with clients. Other animalism milestones include the 1968 launch of the Serpent Collection, the introduction of the hedgehog motif in 2005, and the swan in 2011. In 2010, Boucheron created its High Jewellery timepiece Ladyhawke Tourbillon in collaboration with watchmaker Girard-Perregaux.
Joining Boucheron’s feral kingdom is ‘A Collection of Animals’, featuring more than 60 rings, bracelets, watches, medallions, earrings, pendants, brooches, and necklaces — all embodying the brand’s tradition of creativity and innovation, and its ability to seek out exceptional gemstones. Inspired by Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake ballet, Cypris The Swan bracelets are perfect examples. The pair of bracelets, set with 558 round diamonds or 523 black round sapphires, showcases exquisite craftsmanship, particularly in the different layers of plumage given life by precision engraving. The swan motif, a symbol of grace and love, also appears in two elegant Boucheron timepieces, Cypris Epure d’Art, in black or white mother-of-pearl.
Eagles inspire a three-ring set — the Chinha The Eagle — blue with tanzanite and sapphires, green with tourmaline and tsavorites, or red with rubellite and rubies. Each ring also features 134 round white diamonds. The frosty masterpiece, Arctic The Penguin ring aquamarine, has as its centrepiece an aquamarine cabochon of 24.63 carats floating on 197 round white diamonds.
The Hera The Peacock ring displays the fiery eyes of the peacock’s tail through an ensemble of 158 orange and yellow sapphires. Like the Cypris bracelet, the Hera is a jewellery piece that can be worn in a duo. Meanwhile, the beauty and speed of the tiny hummingbird is wonderfully evoked in Hopi The Hummingbird ring, another imaginative and delicate feat of craftsmanship from the legendary Boucheron atelier.
The hedgehog, another protective animal, lends its spiky charisma to Hans The Hedgehog bracelet. This playful creation in pink gold features one of Boucheron’s signature codes, the Pointe de diamant motif, which gives it a mirror-like aspect, adding brilliance and light. Its eyes are two round rubies and its nose, a black round sapphire. The peacock, an elegant symbol of immortality, peace and prosperity, recurs in another piece. The Hera The Peacock medallion is a flighty, feminine ensemble in rock crystal in pink and white gold, set with 619 round diamonds, 152 multi-coloured round cultured pearls, and a centrepiece single gold round cultured pearl of 4.60 carats.
Feathers are another natural form central to the brand’s history and heritage, and at the heart of the Medallion Plume de Paon — crafted in beautiful rock crystal in white gold, and set with 138 round cultured pearls and 589 round diamonds. The gravity-defying forms of birds lend themselves to earrings, too. In Hirunda The Swallows pendant earrings, the swallows bring their message of hope, happiness, and good health in white gold and 232 round diamonds. In Nuri The Cockatoo pendant earrings, a pair of cockatoos in a pink-gold perch dangles from each ear, the bird’s flamboyant plumage constituted in pave tsavorites, round sapphires, and diamonds.
Other motifs in the collection include the chameleon, owl, turtle, tiger, horse, polar bear, and even the panda and elephant — a fascinating, fecund menagerie that continues to populate Boucheron with fresh and precious masterpieces inspired by the animal kingdom.