Pressing flowers to conserve their ephemeral beauty has long been a practiced art form in Japan, and ‘oshibana’, or the art of drawing with dried flowers, was practiced by Samurai warriors to develop their powers of concentration and encourage patience.
But removing the moisture of the petals and leaves by pressing them between sheets of papers cannot conserve their three-dimensional beauty and it reduces the intensity of their original colours.
Having always favoured a naturalistic approach in its jewellery offerings, the 160-year-old House of Boucheron has embraced 21st-century technology to push the envelope of realism and create nine unique rings that encapsulate the vibrant beauty of flowers, freezing them in time for eternity.
“Claire (Choisne, the artistic director Boucheron) wanted to obtain a true copy of a flower with all its imperfections, without interpretation or enhancement,” a Boucheron spokeswoman explains, adding that 3D printers failed to capture the fragile flowers so the jeweller used medical radiography scanners instead. That first step helped accurately recreate the flowers in titanium ensuring the hyperrealism of all details.
Then artist-petallist, Claire Boucl removed the petals from their stems one by one and stabilized them using a chemical-free technique that has taken her 10 years of research to develop (and which remains a closely-guarded trade secret).
The petals are then mounted on the titanium flower, a process that requires immense care and patience to protect the velvety sheen of the petals. It took over a year of research and development to develop the final transparent lacquer that is non-reflective and thin enough to preserve the lustre of the petals.
This technological tribute to nature is complemented by the craftsmanship know-how of the maison with the final flower ring further embellished with precious stones. Thus the azure ridges of a Hortensia Violet Bleu are accented by an 8.7-carat indigolite tourmaline with a pave-set diamond ornament while violet and blue sapphires encrust its underside.
Hortensia Rosita and its two corollas are paired with delicate mini bouquets of jonquil diamonds that illuminate its iridescent petals. Boucl described the experience of working on the project as “a dream come true,” thanks to the passion and perseverance of the Boucheron team.
This bold spirit of innovation continues a long tradition started by the founder of the jewellery house, Frédéric Boucheron, who in 1879 created the Point d’Interrogation necklace, which remains one of the maison’s most emblematic jewels.
This first asymmetrical design without a clasp took the form of a peacock feather (plume de paon) and won the Grand Prix à l’Exposition Universelle de Paris.
This season, for its Nature Triomphante collection, Choisne reworked the piece replacing the feather with a fern (Parure Fougère) paved in diamonds. And the latest 3D scanning technology was also used to capture the true-to-life volume of a real piece of ivy, now transformed into the Lierre Givrée, a striking titanium necklace micro-paved with 14,500 diamonds and embellished with milky-white Cacholong (opals) to create a frosted effect. Each leaf is mounted using a trembler technique that animates them with a light movement.
By blending technological innovations with its craftsmanship expertise, the French jeweller manages to create ultra-realistic forms while still infusing the creations with a highly personal aesthetic.