Caroline Scheufele CO-PRESIDENT & ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, CHOPARD
When creating a new piece of jewelry or a new collection, what is your starting point ?
It can be different things. It usually begins with the gemstones themselves. When we have a beautiful, rough jewel or diamond – and it takes an exceptional one – that’s where the inspiration starts. But for our Cannes Festival collection, I usually work with themes, such as “Love” which we had last year, or “Green Carpet”.
In a world where simplified jewelry is becoming increasingly popular, why do you think people keep coming back to high jewelry ?
There’s definitely a clientele for both – haute joaillerie creations can become collectors’ items. They’re pieces that people invest in. And then you have collections that are fun, young, and more entry-level – they are also part of the brand’s very DNA, like the iconic Happy Hearts collection.
How does sustainability play a role in your strategy for future collections ?
Sustainable living is vital. It is a goal we have set ourselves, and we’re the first company to physically tackle the problem like this with our Ethical Gold program. We absolutely cannot leave this problem for the next generation to deal with ; we can’t be blind to the consequences of our practices. Our Green Carpet Collection continues to be a statement in that regard and even our fragrances are based on fair harvested ingredients and our accessories are made with ethical leathers.
Why is sustainability an important cause for you and Chopard ?
We have a responsibility – today you can’t close your eyes to this cause. The luxury industry should set an example. Luxury stands for transparency. In the beginning, it was extremely difficult in terms of production to trace the provenance of our materials. And of course, we had to educate our employees on sustainable ways of working, since everyone must play their part. Nature doesn’t forgive, and we need the planet more than it needs us.
Creating beauty isn’t often done alone. How do you like to work with your team at Chopard ?
My office is very close to that of my team’s – there isn’t a day where I don’t spend time with them. We have design meetings that can go on for a whole day or sometimes two, and in such cases I sometimes like to have us go outside the office to think. It’s also what I love doing most, working with my team and being creative. I enjoy using unprecedented materials, and I follow every piece that comes out of the atelier. It’s my passion, so it definitely doesn’t feel like work !
What do you hope future generations learn from your work at Chopard ?
I hope they will learn and find even more ways of implementing sustainable approaches, because that thinking will trickle down to all other areas, not just the luxury sector. And I think we are creating pieces that will endure – they will outlast us, which is a beautiful thing. I often look back in our archives and see how our watches or jewelry used to be made, and that’s also a source of inspiration. When we first launched the Happy Sports collection, which has since become an integral part of the Chopard DNA, nobody had ever thought of pairing diamonds with a steel watch, so we became the first to do it. I want our current pieces to do exactly that : inspire people to be bold in many creative ways.