When Chopard artistic director and co-president Caroline Scheufele clapped eyes on the pure clarity of the 342ct stone, she immediately knew what she would call it: The Queen of the Kalahari. The name was a tribute not only to the desert where the stone was mined, but also to the woman miner who discovered it.
“I think it’s amazing that it was a woman miner who found it. Diamond mining always used to be a man’s job,” Scheufele says.
Upon hearing about the stone, Scheufele immediately flew in to Botswana to meet the woman who discovered it, and made the decision to acquire one of the largest diamonds ever found. The six-piece collection created from the Queen of the Kalahari is called The Garden of Kalahari, and is a versatile and playful set that Scheufele hopes will have the owner wearing it in many different ways.
When the set was unveiled in Paris earlier this year, the miner herself was flown in, as Scheufele wanted her to witness the beautiful results of her discovery.
Scheufele feels strongly that women’s attitudes to fine jewellery have changed in recent years, with diamonds worn as much with jeans and T-shirts as they are on the red carpet.
“Women are also buying their own jewellery now, and they know what they like,” she emphasises. Chopard is well known for dressing many leading women for the red carpet, and Scheufele says her experience has been that each one of these stars has had a very clear idea of what she was prepared to wear.
This new mood was reflected in the collections that Chopard launched at the Baselworld watch and jewellery show earlier this year. The Ice Cube collection, for instance, is a modern set of designs with clean lines aimed at the younger market, with Rihanna as the face of the campaign.
But there’s been a touch of nostalgia too, with 1970s favourites including tiger’s eye, malachite, and onyx all making an appearance in the Happy Hearts collection. Scheufele remembers how popular these stones were in the Chopard collections of her youth, and when she spotted them again while walking through the Chopard museum, she decided it was time to revisit the company’s heritage.