Boucheron enjoyed early success. In 1867, his innovative designs won him a gold medal at the Paris World Fair, and in 1893 he became the first jeweller to open a boutique on the Place Vendôme. Notable early designs include the Question Mark, a Boucheron necklace with no clasp that could be slipped on easily over the head.
As well as being a talented designer, Boucheron was a true gemologist. He travelled the world in search of the very best stones, from rubies to diamonds. One such gem was the Grand Mazarin, a historic light pink diamond that sold for CHF 14,375,000 at Christie’s Geneva in 2017. Another was the Polar Star, a 41-carat Golconda diamond that passed through the hands of Napoleon’s brother Joseph. In 1980, it fetched $4.6 million at Christie’s Geneva, a world record at the time.
By the turn of the 20th century, Boucheron had established an international reputation for daring designs and high-quality stones. Boucheron jewellery collectors included members of the British and Russian royal families, as well as singers and actresses such as Edith Piaf. At her wedding in 2018, Princess Eugenie wore a Boucheron tiara from 1919 set with diamonds and a cabochon-cut emerald.
Innovation remained at the heart of the brand throughout the 20th century. The late 1920s and early 1930s saw the house incorporate elements from other cultures into its designs, while the post-war period saw the brand experiment with semi-precious gems and new watch designs. In 1947, for instance, the brand launched the first Boucheron watch with interchangeable bracelets.
In 1968, the maison released its now-iconic Boucheron Bohème Serpent collection. A circular gold and diamond Boucheron Serpent Bohème necklace more than doubled its low estimate when it sold for £13,750 at Christie’s London in 2019.
Another signature jewellery line is the Boucheron Quatre collection, which was launched in 2004. Inspired by the design of Paris’s cobblestones, the graphic collection includes rings, bracelets, earrings, necklaces and hair jewels. The classic Boucheron Quatre ring and Boucheron Quatre necklace remain firm favourites with collectors.
In addition to vintage Boucheron jewels and watches, Christie’s offers Boucheron rings, engagement rings and wedding bands. Art Deco bracelets, rectangular-cut diamond rings and one-of-a-kind designs set with precious stones are among the most sought-after pieces at auction. In 2013, Christie’s sold a spectacular diamond and emerald Boucheron necklace for HKD 44,110,000, more than double the low estimate.
MARK OF BOUCHERON, PARIS, 1909, 18CT.