A World Famous Name
If you want some of the best, most exclusive jewelry in the world from a historic name, head for Boucheron, located on the corner of the Place Vendome. Boucheron was founded in 1858 when the French Second Empire was at its flamboyant height. Today it’s a world-brand name, adding watches, fragrances and sun glasses to its range and is owned by the Gucci group.
26 Place Vendome, 1st arrondissement
Tel.: 00 33 (0)1 42 61 58 16
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Metro: Madeleine, Opera, Tuileries
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday 10.30am to 7pm
The Boucheron Store
The store itself is quite beautiful. It’s still in the original building on the Place Vendome, with the main public section on the ground floor where cases sparkle with fine jewelry. In a room at the back, you can see the door of the staircase that led upstairs to the apartment of the Countess of Castligione.
Today the glorious, large store shows the range of Boucheron jewelry, from the rings and bracelets based on animals and the famous snake motif to the gold rings in the ‘Trouble’ range. Prices range just as widely, from under 2,000 euros to the sky.
Upstairs, a hallway with jewelry and original designs on the walls leads to rooms which contain the archives of the firm. This is where you come if you book a private appointment with a jeweler in a large airy room lined with old books of design.
Here you can discuss exactly what you are looking for. Accompanied of course, by macaroons and Champagne.
It's also the place to commission a piece. The firm is extremely accommodating; you can ask to have an old piece of your jewellery remade, commission a new piece, or choose different stones for their main designs.
The Boucheron Collections
There are avid collectors of Boucheron jewelry both of one-off pieces and of the collections that are regularly produced, each new concept sought after. In the 1970s, the signature snake line was created. Collections such as Beauté Dangereuse, Not Bourgeois were launched in 2002.
High Jewelry lines include Jaipur, Le Jeu de la Seduction in 2010, Cabinet of Curiosities launched in 2011 and the latest Cruise Collection.
Making an Appointment
The easiest way to make an appointment is through English-speaking Ultimate Paris, a Paris sightseeing and shopping company specialising in high end Paris.
Tel.: 00 33 (0)1 73 02 04 26
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A House with a History
Boucheron, founded by Frederic Boucheron in 1858, opened to great acclaim in the Galerie de Valois in the Palais-Royal when the Second French Empire was at its height. In 1893 the firm moved to the Place Vendome, choosing a corner building to ensure that the sun streamed in from the windows, giving an extra sparkle to the fabulous jewelry laced with diamonds in the window.
Frederic Boucheron trained as a civil engineer then brought his flamboyant genius to the company. Travelling to India, he visited the astronomical garden in Jaipur and took his inspiration from there.
Coloured stones replaced diamonds and a new audacious style of jewelry was created. Boucheron’s fame was boosted when the great courtesan, the Countess of Castiglione, moved into apartments above the Boucheron shop which you can see today. She collected rich lovers as avidly as she collected the rare Boucheron jewelry they gave her as presents.
A family business, Alain Boucheron joined the firm in 1971 and created a new style, using rock crystal in jewelry, and creating perfumes. Boucheron now has stores worldwide, from St. Tropez to San Francisco, Moscow to Hong Kong.
The world has always flocked to Boucheron’s doors. Among its customers, the firm counted the Russian Prince Felix Youssoupoff, Czar Alexander III and a clutch of Maharajas as well as La Belle Otero, a dancer in the Folies Bergeres known for her passion and her beauty.
The British royal family has Boucheron jewelry. In 1921 Boucheron made a tiara for Lady Greville which was then given to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Prince Charles inherited the tiara and gave it to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall as a wedding gift. Queen Elizabeth owns various Boucheron pieces as well.