From the wintry landscape of Russia and its grandiose imperial era to the unbridled lushness of Japan's flora and fauna, the house of Chaumet has been paying homage to nature and culture in a three-part journeyman jewellery series collectively known as Les Mondes de Chaumet. Now on the final leg of this exploratory voyage, the maison is telling the story of today's multi-faceted Africa that showcases the sub-Saharan region of the continent in a new light.
Through the Chaumet lens — and in collaboration with Kenyan artist Evans Mbugua who guided the French jeweller's gaze towards this part of Africa — the collection reflects the cultural confluences of the area, designing pieces that interpret its people, sovereigns, traditional symbols, and of course, its diverse wildlife. With nothing short of pure appreciation and admiration for Africa and its rich heritage (in case you decide to pass a hasty judgment involving the 'A' word), five sub-collections evince the maison's impressions of the continent: Ronde de Pierres evokes the brightly-coloured ornamentation of the Maasai and Dinka people of Sudan; Cascades Royales is reminiscent of the flowing headdresses worn by Rwandan queens; Terres d'Or recalls the motifs of traditional Kente fabrics from Ghana and Kasai; Espiègleries crafts the savannah's majestic animals into realistic brooches and earrings; Talismania references African art and the weave of Agaseke wicker work from Rwanda.
Brimming with colours and vitality, in part influenced by Mbugua's vibrant artwork which was another key element of inspiration in Chaumet's creative process, Trésors d'Afrique is as much a narrative of the maison's artisanal know-how and artistic sensibilities as it is of the African culture. A tribute to unexpected forms brought into being with a contemporary daring, these are high jewellery treasures that will never stop fascinating the beholder. We'll let the pictures do the talking from here.
For last week's #FirstClassFriday, click here.