So I have been working in an antique jewellery shop in Burlington Arcade for a while now and those of you who follow me on Instagram have seen a small selection of their collection, which is indeed to die for…
Then yesterday one of the ladies in the shop took out this absolutely gorgeous gold bag encrusted with diamonds, which I obviously had to take photos of for you. It is a Chaumet bag, and as I was trying to take a photo of it in the shop, one of London’s most experienced jewellery traders popped by the shop, looked at it and said “Oh I remember when the ladies would wear these bags all the time! It was back in the 60s.” Love it!!! This is one of my favourite parts of the job – when someone starts reminiscing about these beautiful times gone by, when the antique or vintage jewellery that we wear today were at the height of fashion and everyone would be ever so stylish and the streets were filled with people wearing Deco jewellery or a fabulous hat in the middle of the day!
Since I am quite the newbie to the House of Chaumet, I decided to look into their history, and boy was I excited to read such an exciting tale! Chaumet dates back to 1780, when the founder, Marie-Etienne Nitot, made a name for himself as one of the most magnificent jewellers in France. They provided jewellery for the wedding of Napoleon and Josephine de Beauharnais, and later with the Archiduchesse Marie-Louise de Habsbourg-Lorraine, niece of Queen Marie-Antoinette. They also created Napoleon’s coronation crown as well as a great part of all the jewellery that offered the French Empire its splendour. No other jeweller in Europe was more famous than Nitot at the time and he had built up a very loyal and prestigious client base.
During the Romantic Period (1815-1885) the pieces designed by Chaumet were very much inspired by the decorative arts and the Italian Renaissance, as well of 17th century France. After the French Revolution in 1848 they established a shop in London, which attracted the attention of customers like Queen Victoria. During the late-19th century Chaumet focused very much on creating beautiful tiaras, finding inspiration in the Renaissance style.
The house became one of the leaders of Art Deco style, having taken part in the 1925 Exposition des Arts Décoratifs in Paris – which we know by now started the whole Art Deco movement. Now do feel free to refresh your memory when it comes to Art Deco in the blog post How the world fell into the hands of Art Deco.
The brand has kept itself à jour with fashion and made sure to stay new and exciting ever since, and we are so pleased that this beautiful bag has made it into our hands. If one of you lovely ladies out there are considering buying yet another Birkin bag I would suggest that you choose this unique and beautiful design instead – you can find it in Moira’s collection at Richard Ogden in Burlington Arcade, and I would be delighted to show it to you if you decide to pop by!