French jeweller Chaumet has collaborated with Central Saint Martins on the creation of a 21st century tiara for its Imperial Splendours exhibition at the Palace Museum in Beijing.
Scott Armstrong, 21, won the chance to collaborate with the prestigious jewellery house, after beating fellow students in a competition whereby Chaumet invited 60 BA and MA students to create a diadem, chosen because it has been an emblem of the Maison’s creativity since Empress Josephine. The only brief was to transform the traditional piece into an adornment for the 21st century.
Armstrong, who is in his final year doing a Bachelor of Arts in Jewellery at the renowned London university, was chosen from a shortlist of eight students from China, Romania, Sweden, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Korea for his Vertiges diadem – a design, which took nearly a year to complete, and that combines geometric forms with a seemingly free flowing, invisibly set scattering of tourmalines, garnets and diamonds.
“The idea of designing a diadem was something I never imagined having the opportunity to do,” explains Armstrong.” It was very difficult, in the beginning, to decide how it would fit within 21st century culture. Historically diadems have represented nobility, power, beauty, so many things that are perhaps not relevant in the 21st century. I think a diadem for the 21st century should hold the same values as any diadem made throughout history. It is a very special adornment for a very special woman.”
Armstrong’s winning design, named Vertiges, takes inspiration from book titled ‘The French Formal Garden’ and is a representation of a contemporary French-style garden as seen through Chaumet’s distinctive design codes.
The diadem forms part of the brand’s exhibition ‘Imperial Splendours: The Art of Jewellery Since The 18th Century’, currently taking place in Beijing. Situated in the Palace Museum, the show builds around Chaumet’s unique body of work featuring some 300 historic jewels, drawings, paintings and objets d’art from the brand’s archives.
At the exhibition, alongside Armstrong’s diadem, guests can view some rare pieces from Chaumet’s archive, such as a memorial box for the Marquis de Lawoestine, which dates from 1789 and the time of Queen Marie-Antoinette, and a bejewelled sword Napoleon wore to his coronation on December 2 1804, as well as a selection of the Maison’s exquisite diadems. The pieces have been accumulated in collaboration with the Palace Museum and the support of such promised institutions and museums as Musee de Louvre, the Chateau de Fontainebleau and the Victoria and Albert Museum. The exhibition will run until July 2, 2017.
Here, you can have an insight into the creation of Scott Armstrong’s tiara in collaboration with Chaumet: