NEW BE­GIN­NINGS

Upon the re­open­ing of Chaumet’s flag­ship at The Dubai Mall, Global CEO JeanMarc Mansvelt tells Villa 88 ’s So­phie Stevens how the Mai­son’s her­itage is the key to its modern-day suc­cess

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Chaumet’s CEO dis­cusses how her­itage is the key to the Mai­son’s modern-day suc­cess

“IT’S A RE­BIRTH. STEP ONE on our new jour­ney,” says Chaumet’s Global CEO JeanMarc Mansvelt, speak­ing about the Oc­to­ber re­open­ing of their flag­ship store in The Dubai Mall, a sleekly re­designed jewel-box-in­spired bou­tique in­fused with Parisian chic. “Our clients should feel happy to be here, like it’s their home, while still be­ing sur­rounded by dif­fer­ent sym­bols, ref­er­ences and nar­ra­tives that tell the his­tory of Chaumet,” he adds.

This his­tory stretches back nearly 240 years, with Chaumet boast­ing a rep­u­ta­tion as one of the old­est Euro­pean jew­elry houses – founded by Marie-éti­enne Ni­tot in 1780, the com­pany gets its name from his suc­ces­sor, Joseph Chaumet. Since its start, the Mai­son has prided it­self on dis­tinc­tive de­signs for a dis­cern­ing clien­tele, be­gin­ning with Em­peror Napoleon and his first wife – and still to­day’s muse – the Em­press Joséphine.

“We’ve never pre­tended to reach 100 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion,” Jean-marc shares. “Some of our col­leagues have stores ev­ery­where, in ev­ery coun­try, in ev­ery mall, on ev­ery street. This is not the ap­proach of Chaumet. We do things step by step.”

To­day, the Mai­son is see­ing the re­wards of such an ap­proach, gar­ner­ing an in­creas­ingly loyal au­di­ence in the Mid­dle East. “What we par­tic­u­larly see in this re­gion is a grow­ing num­ber of clients who like to wear jewels that are not worn by every­body,” Jean-marc ob­serves. “Chaumet has al­ways been a choice of dis­tinc­tion; it’s very light and pure, but with a strong mean­ing be­hind it. The mar­ket here is grow­ing for us, as we are see­ing more peo­ple look­ing for that dif­fer­ence.”

Key de­mands have emerged from the re­gion, with Jean-marc cit­ing ‘The Green Phe­nom­e­non’ (“any­thing with mala­chite or emer­alds per­forms very strongly here”), as well as easy-to-wear ev­ery­day jew­elry as two ex­am­ples.

The Dubai Mall is the Mai­son’s num­ber one in­ter­na­tional per­former for their Bee My Love stack­ing bracelets, a modern jew­elry trend that Chaumet has been quick to re­spond to. “Jewels are al­ways worn in a con­text, for an out­fit,” Jean-marc ex­plains. “For ex­am­ple, the bracelet-stack­ing trend is some­thing very re­cent. It’s in the same way that shorter neck­laces were worn in the se­cond half of the 19th cen­tury be­fore chang­ing to the longer ‘garçon’ style of the 1920s. Jew­elry has al­ways been adapted for wear­a­bil­ity and func­tion­al­ity.”

Ed­u­ca­tion is a par­tic­u­larly strong theme of the Mai­son, who con­tin­u­ally share the sto­ries be­hind their iconic de­signs in pub­li­ca­tions and in­ter­na­tional ex­hi­bi­tions. “We are not a mu­seum,” Jean-marc em­pha­sizes quickly. “Rather, each show­case has a sub­ject or an an­gle, al­low­ing us to tell Chaumet’s story in a con­tem­po­rary way so it will ap­peal to the peo­ple of to­day.”

The Mai­son is look­ing for­ward to the third of these ex­hi­bi­tions, sched­uled for Monaco in sum­mer 2019, af­ter highly suc­cess­ful shows in Bei­jing and Tokyo in 2017 and 2018, re­spec­tively. Jean-marc proudly points out that the ‘ Worlds of Chaumet’ dis­play at Tokyo’s Mit­subishi Ichigokan Mu­seum drew the high­est num­ber of vis­i­tors the venue has seen for an ex­hi­bi­tion: “We even beat the trea­sures from The Musée d’or­say. More peo­ple came for Chaumet.”

When asked about po­ten­tial Mid­dle East ex­hi­bi­tions, Jean-marc tan­ta­liz­ingly ad­mits it is “one of the things the team is work­ing on”, but only on the Mai­son’s con­di­tion of tai­lor­ing any ex­hi­bi­tion to the coun­try it­self. One pos­si­bil­ity for the re­gion is the shared his­tory and ex­per­tise be­tween the Gulf and the Mai­son for nat­u­ral pearls – in fact, Joseph Chaumet es­tab­lished one of the world’s first ge­mo­log­i­cal lab­o­ra­to­ries to ap­praise gems.

No mat­ter what the fu­ture has in store for the Mai­son, Jean-marc is ex­cited. Seated in the gleam­ing new Dubai flag­ship sur­rounded by sym­bols of Chaumet’s long her­itage and ex­cep­tional cre­ations, it is easy to see why. “The fu­ture is su­per bright for us,” he smiles. “The old­est Mai­son has the bright­est fu­ture.” @chaumet_ara­bia

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