Chaumet holds an exhibition of grandiose proportions in the historical heart of Beijing

Chaumet holds an exhibition of grandiose proportions in the historical heart of Beijing

Imperial Splendours

Text: Milena Lazazzera

A piece of French history at the Forbidden City

The choice of showcasing its 237 years of rich history in the Palace Museum (also known as the former Forbidden City) in Beijing might appear a surprising one for the Paris-based jewellery house of Chaumet. The exhibition 'Imperial Splendours, the art of jewellery since the 18th century' aims, however, not only to retrace Chaumet's past since its origins but also pay a tribute to the inspiring role of the East during the beginning of the 20th century. 

Chaumet Imperial Splendours Exhibition

Some 300 works, jewels, paintings, drawings and objets d'art have been reassembled in Beijing from the Musée du Louvre, the Chateau de Fontainebleau and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Among these, the 1789 Memorial box for the Marquise de Lowoestine, which is the first surviving example of Chaumet's founder; and the famous Napoléon I Coronation Sword, that was once set with the Crown Diamonds including the mythical 140-carat Regent diamond, which forever linked Chaumet to the French Imperial period. To illustrate Chaumet's reinterpretated exoticism in its creations influenced by the taste for chinoiseries made popular by the Expositions Universelles, the central section of the exhibition stages a dialogue between 22 jewels from the collections of the Palace Museum and 22 creations by Chaumet. A platinum brooch designed approximately in 1925 featuring a junk motif in jade with rubies, diamonds and onyx is displayed next to a pendant in chiselled jade of the Qing dynasty with a bat motif and the double happiness character.

Chaumet Imperial Splendours Exhibition

The exhibition, punctuated by Chaumet's diadems over more than two centuries, culminates with a view on the future by unveiling the 'Vertiges' diadem of the 21st century, designed for Chaumet by Scott Armstrong, a jewellery design student at Central Saint Martins as part of the collaboration between the London College and the French maison.

Discover the Vertiges diadem here:

Imperial Splendours, the art of jewellery since the 18th century, Palace Museum, Wu Men Room, Meridian Gate of the Forbidden City, Beijing, China runs from 11 April until 2 July.

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