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08 August 2016

Box of surprises…

The jewelry box? A small box more important than it looks.

Closely hugging the form of the jewel, the box is its protection. It also has a role to play in the art of the gift; it exhilarates the sensation of waiting and multiplies the mystery. When opened it brings pleasure and surprise. Some are recognizable at first glance, like Cartier’s. The most famous of them all, red leather-bound with a golden frieze, it has a part to play in all the publicity films and in all the display windows. Vuitton’s, developed in 2001 when it began its jewelry collection, is also very recognizable because it takes the form of a carpeted trunk in Monogram canvas.

The craftsmen capable of this work are now an endangered species. And their prices are astronomical: for a necklace, count on 2,000 euros for the gift box handmade in poplar wood and lined with leather. For the designer Marie-Hélène de Taillac, “They are essential because they participate in forging the identity of a House.” Hers, in leather colors to match those of the jewels and her shop are studied in every detail and feature her favorite designs stamped on the edge. Even the muted yet clean sound made when the box is closed has been well thought out…

Colors, materials … In terms of creativity, everything is possible. Valérie Messika has designed a special one for engagement rings: a black box that lights up when opened. One of the most original ideas came up a few years ago from Solange Azagury-Partridge, the then creative director at Boucheron: an interior lined with dark mink for high jewelry.

The original box of an old piece can itself contribute to determining a piece’s authenticity. For collectors, it represents a sort of guarantee. “It can also be a source of surprises…” finally tells the four-century-old jewelry house, Mellerio. Indeed the box of a convertible jewelry piece from nineteenth century was often fitted with secret compartments concealing a chignon pin, a pendant, a screwdriver or even… intimate messages.

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