Jewellery connoisseurs should have one destination in mind this spring: the Palace Museum in Beijing. Located in the Tower Gallery of the Meridian Gate of the Forbidden City, the museum is currently home to the exhibition Imperial Splendors: The Art of Jewellery Since the 18th Century. On view are more than 300 works that span the entire history of the Paris-based, high-end jewellery maker the House of Chaumet.
The name Chaumet, which is today associated with the finest tiaras and watches, first became associated with high-end jewellery in the late 19th Century. But the lineage of jewellers into which Joseph Chaumet married in 1885 extends back all the way to Marie-Étienne Nitot, apprentice for Aubert, the jeweller for Queen Marie-Antoinette. Nitot founded the company that eventually became Chaumet in 1780. Before the Revolution he made jewellery for many of the French aristocrats, and afterward became the official jeweller to Napoleon I. Imperial Splendors
includes not only jewellery, but also paintings, drawings, writings and other art objects, presented in such a way as to contextualise the legacy of Chaumet against Chinese traditions. Of particular interest is an extraordinary selection of tiaras, as well as the legendary, 140-carat diamond-hilted coronation sword Nitot created for Napoleon I.
image caption: Image via Instagram: @chaumetofficial