Boghossian draws inspiration from a rich East-west cultural heritage and ancient treasures to create its innovative jewellery
The Boghossian story begins in the narrow alleyways of an ancient hilltop town overlooking the Mesopotamian plains. It was here in the cultural and religious melting pot of Mardin, Turkey, that the first Boghossian jewellery atelier opened in 1868. With part of the international trade transiting through Mardin, the family quickly becomes gem traders, adding the exchange of natural pearls and diamonds to their operations.
At the break of the first World War, Ohaness Boghossian, the third generation, establishes itself in the ancient city of Aleppo and opens his first shop in 1919. The family business is thriving and the customers acquainted with the Boghossian name is growing from Aleppo to Jerusalem, Tripoli and even Turkey.
In 1937, Robert Boghossian joins force with his father and looks after the boutique in Aleppo, allowing his father to consolidate the relationship with the important clientele of Beirut, Cairo, and Tripoli. In the 50’s, Robert Boghossian travels to China where he secured his own sourcing of fine pearls. Thereafter, the Boghossian House becomes one of the main supplier of natural pearl to the Middle Eastern market.
The family moves to Beirut in 1950, at the time called the “Switzerland of the MEA”, and focuses on the wealthy clientele visiting the blossoming capital. Soon, the House is recognized as one of the most important jeweller in the region.
In the 1970’s, Jean Boghossian, the elder son of Robert, develops a new expertise in the precious colour gems through his numerous travels to India, Colombia, Burma, Sri Lanka, and
Thailand. He moves to Antwerp in 1975, and establish himself as the colour gem specialist in the World Diamond Center.
By 1980, the Headquarter moves to Geneva with Albert Boghossian, second son of Robert, which is becoming at the time the main Highend jewelry center, replacing Place Vendome in Paris. expertise and. The House focuses on the exclusive high-end jewellery pieces, the exceptional gem trading center present in the Swiss city. It is during those time that the House develops several innovative craftsmanship technique.
In 2008, la Maison Boghossian opens its flagship store on Rue du Rhone in Geneva, followed shortly by the opening of the 45 Old Bond Street address. The House is also present in Hong Kong, and more recently opened its latest outlet in the Fine Jewelry and Watches Room at Harrod’s, London.
The East-west heritage has continued to be a major influence. Boghossian takes great pride in its distinctive, colourful designs, which it says pay tribute to ancient civilisations. The House wants its collections to embody the interaction between East and West.
The Boghossian family has always been involved in giving back. Initially, their actions were mainly humanitarian, and helping the local communities. In 1988, following the earthquake in Armenia, the family became very active in Gyumri and other regions in Armenia to bring some relief to the local populations.
Considering the relevance of art and social engagement in one’s society, the family decided to encourage dialogues between Eastern and Western cultures and influences. In 2010, The Boghossian Foundation acquired the famous Villa Empain in Brussels, promoting dialogue between the cultures of East and West through the universal language of Art.
The House says craftsmanship is at the core of its jewellery and it works closely with the best workshops in Europe. Most of the manufacturing takes place in Switzerland, but when specific expertise is required, for example for “stone in stone” carvings, Boghossian works with stone carvers in the famed Idar-oberstein area of Germany, while for other techniques it goes to the skilled workshops in Milan.
Boghossian has introduced several innovative techniques including the Art of Inlay, technique consisting of setting one stone within another—a fresh take on an art that goes back to ancient Egypt and the Mogul empire.
Its Kissing Diamonds technique allows the light from two precious stones to combine in a single reflection of light. Its combinations of pearly, shiny and opaque effects create depth and dimension, with hundreds of facets creating patterns and colours that change and merge depending on the angle from which they are seen.
The latest innovation is Les Merveilles Collection, in which diamonds are set from all four sides to create a piece of jewellery which looks so delicate that even close up one can only marvel at how the stones together.
“Designing jewellery is like painting with light,” says CEO Albert Boghossian. “Since gold interferes with the light reflection, we work hard to find new ways of holding the stones together with minimal intervention from the precious metal.”
The full collection incorporating this technique will be launched in spring 2017. The first showcase pieces were unveiled at the Biennale des Antiquaries in Paris and Fine Art Asia in Hong Kong and will soon be on display in the Boghossian flagship stores, in Geneva, London and Hong Kong.
Model Bella Hadid is the face of Boghossian for their new collection Les Merveilles
EXCEPTIONAL PIECES Diamond River necklace and earrings by Boghossian
CRAFTSMANSHIP AT ITS BEST Kissing Diamonds ring with a no-heat pear-shaped ruby and diamonds by Boghossian; a jewellery artist works on a masterpiece