The history of Chaumet dates from 1780, when Marie-Etienne Nitot established his eponymous maison in Paris. Maison Nitot, which would later take the name of Chaumet, was appointed the official jeweller to Napoloen I during the Consulate and Empire periods. After the fall of Napoloen, the company continued under the direction of Jean-Baptiste Fossin and his son Jules. Together, they created exquisite jewels inspired by nature and the spirit of romanticism.
In 1848, Jules Fossin teamed up with craftsman J.V. Morel and his son Prosper. Soon after, they opened a workshop and boutique in London, which attracted an elite clientele including Queen Victoria.
In 1885, Prosper Morel’s daughter married Joseph Chaumet. Under Chaumet’s direction, the maison won awards and accolades at leading international exhibitions, including the prestigious Exposition des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.
By the turn of the 20th century, Chaumet was synonymous with delicate accessories and tiaras that blended traditional and contemporary elements inspired by nature. He also worked as the official jeweller to many of the royal families of Europe.
In 1907, Chaumet moved the company workshops and boutique to Place Vendôme, where Chaumet high jewellery is still crafted to this day.
By the mid 1920s, the house had embraced the modernist principles of the Art Deco period. The sweeping, fluid lines and nature-based motifs of the Art Nouveau movement gave way to geometric design as clean lines, structural forms and strong colour combinations came into fashion.
Today, Chaumet’s Art Deco designs are considered some of the finest of the period and are highly sought-after by jewellery collectors at auction. In 2023, a diamond and emerald Art Deco Chaumet necklace achieved $3,649,750, nearly double the low estimate.
In the post-war years, Chaumet continued to push boundaries. It increased the variety of its styles and introduced a dedicated watchmaking department. It also began experimenting with daring combinations such as diamonds, coral and peridot mounted on yellow gold.
In more recent times, the house has expanded its product range by introducing new jewellery collections. These include the Liens collection and the Chaumet Bee My Love collection, which comprises Chaumet honeycomb bracelets, neckIaces and rings. Inspired aesthetically by the tiara, the now legendary Chaumet Joséphine collection first appeared in 2010.
As for significant watch launches, Chaumet launched its first jewellery diving watch in 1998 followed in 2003 by the Dandy, an elegant Chaumet watch inspired by dandies from the worlds of art, fashion and literature.
In recent years, Christie’s has sold Chaumet earrings, necklaces and pendants. Chaumet bracelets and rings, notably wedding bands and engagement rings, are also popular with collectors. So too are the maison’s tiaras: in 2023, Christie’s Geneva sold an important Art Deco Chaumet tiara for CHF 945,000.