Know how, Watches 12 décembre 2013

TEMPS SUSPENDU

Connaissez-vous Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin ?
  • 1921 - Cartier
  • 1926 - Cartier
  • 1928 - Cartier
  • 1949 - Cartier
  • 1953 - Cartier
  • 1967 - Cartier
Le célèbre illusionniste, passionné par les automates, était également horloger. C’est lui qui invente au XIXème siècle la pendule mystérieuse caractérisée par un cadran transparent, isolé du mouvement, où les aiguilles semblent suspendues dans le vide. En réalité, elles sont fixées à deux disques de cristal tournant, équipés d’une bordure en métal dentelé et qui sont reliés à une crémaillère dissimulée dans le cadre. Cette dernière rejoint le mécanisme généralement caché dans le socle. Ce « tour de magie » séduit la maison Cartier qui, à partir de 1912, commence à fabriquer moult modèles. Aujourd’hui, elle est devenue une spécialiste comme en témoignent l’ensemble des 18 modèles présentés dans l’exposition Le Style et l’histoire, qui se tient actuellement au Grand Palais. Ce rassemblement inédit met en lumière l’ingéniosité et la virtuosité du procédé isolé au milieu des motifs décoratifs d’inspiration orientale, des chimères, des dragons et des bouddhas. La richesse des matériaux, onyx, émail, jade, diamants ou encore pierre de lune fait écho aux lignes architecturales. Le temps semble bel et bien suspendu.

www.grandpalais.fr
Jewellery @en, Know how 10 avril 2013

From the mine to shop-front window

The consumer is yet to become truly aware of what’s at stake ethically when speaking of precious jewellery. Unlike brands!
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Mine JEL


JEM's mine


Home page picture : Voids collection by India Mahadavi - JEM


Jewellers’ ethical challenges are sometimes terrifying. It’s difficult to know where all the amethysts, sapphires, emeralds and other tourmalines hark from, which find their way in the windows of Place Vendôme, because they have most probably exited through Thailand or maybe India where they are cut. What’s more, the smaller they are the more anonymous they are, and the path they take is difficult to know. As for gold, mostly extracted in Africa, the market is even more difficult to fathom, in much the same way as it is for drugs. It is firmly in the hands of largely unscrupulous multinationals whose aim is to obtain maximum profitability. Gold-panners working illegally, manage to get their merchandise into authorized channels through rather disconcerting means, thanks to a phenomenal number of intermediaries such as brokers, refiners and cutters, all functioning from the mine to the shop-front window. A difficult ultimatum to make: as gold cannot be identified and its chemical composition is the same no matter what its origin. In any case, it’s quite possible gold responsibly mined in Peru can be mixed with gold from a mine in Africa using child-labour. Jewellers place their hopes in the RJC or Responsible Jewellery Council, created in 2005 and made up of representatives from each sector within the supply chain who endorse its charter in an endeavour to control supply channels whose sources are often many thousands of kilometres away. Unfortunately, sceptics draw parallels with the Kimberley Process, numbering more than sixty member countries since its creation in 2003. This organisation seeks to rid so-called unethical diamonds from diamond commerce’s more acceptable war; notwithstanding, numerous breeches have come to light over the years. Each jeweller in his own way tries initiatives made available by organisations such as Oxfam and Pact. But is a 0-risk factor really possible to avoid finding oneself at the centre of a scandal? No large international brand could claim to feel totally secure in the market.  Only small-scale brands like JEM (Jewellery Ethic Minded) created in 2009, could dare affirming totally “clean” jewellery. It has taken many months for Erwan Le Louer, JEM’s founder, to organise a means of tracing the gold he uses, which originates from two irreproachable mines, one in Peru and the other in Colombia. “So my entire supply chain remains water-tight, I have no other solution than working with French craftsmen who respect an environmental charter,” he explains, “thousands of other precautions are taken, for example, the gold founder reserves a kiln just for me so my gold doesn’t mix with any other.” Another characteristic of JEM jewellery is the absence of gemstones, “because still today no system exists which enables me to be sure they don’t come from countries using them to finance war”, considers Erwan Le Louer, who eventually foresees using recycled stones instead. We can only hope consumers take heed of their consciences and then quickly act accordingly.

www.jem-paris.com

 

 
Fashion, Know how 3 avril 2013

Karuna Balloo, horticultrice textile

Karuna Balloo réalise des fleurs abstraites, élaborées grâce à l’origami, une technique japonaise de plissé.
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Karuna Balloo


Des fleurs contemporaines aux pétales triangulaires, superposés, agrémentés de pistils. Des fleurs inédites qui rappellent parfois le volume d’un dahlia ou d’un camélia... Karuna était prédestinée à devenir horticultrice textile. Lors des festivités sur l’île Maurice, où elle est née, elle a toujours vu sa mère avec une fleur dans sa longue chevelure noire. Réminiscence d’une tradition indienne, que les femmes de la famille n’ont jamais abandonnée... « Mon père, lui, était jardinier », précise-t-elle. Très jeune, elle prend conscience qu’une fleur dans les cheveux adoucit le regard des gens. Elle en fait donc son signe de reconnaissance et les porte tous les jours. Karuna est la version contemporaine des Guillet, des Lemarié et de toutes les autres fleuristières d’autrefois. Ces petites mains, qui réalisaient des roses, des œillets ou encore des violettes, à accrocher sur les chapeaux, ont malheureusement disparu dans les années 60. Quand le pape a décidé, qu’entrer dans une église tête nue n’était plus sacrilège... Comme elles, Karuna passe des heures à couper, coudre, plisser délicatement les tissus précieux pour les transformer en pétales parfaitement identiques. Un travail fou de précision qu’elle réalise avec de l’organza vintage, la soie idéale. Comme un encouragement, Karuna a hérité du stock d’une ancienne fleuristière. Dans son atelier, elle entreprend alors un véritable voyage dans le passé... Elle découvre des mètres de ribouldingue (un tissu des années 1930 à la surface nervurée) que l’on n’utilise plus aujourd’hui, des boîtes jaunies emplies de pistils et de pétales de velours, des micro-bouteilles de teintures étiquetées Nymphéa ou encore Bouton d’Or, des outils. Ainsi, elle ressuscite des techniques anciennes et les réinterprète, en les hybridant avec d’autres procédés. Le nouveau bonheur des dames.

www.karunaballoo.fr

 

 

Double face

Behind each jewel a watch is hidden…
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boucheronduoSecret watch Khepri - Boucheron


Home page picture : Harry Winston


At the end of the 18th century, the first secret watches abided by demands of social decorum – to show the hour in polite society was badly seen and supposed that one was bored. Today, such watches satisfy the desire to wear unusual and surprising pieces. To seek them out, firstly look carefully at the jewel, and then turn it to discover the tiny, secret mechanism, which was created by both the jeweller and watchmaker together. Lightly press the push piece of the Hermès’ bracelet or gently pull on the ring of a Van Cleef & Arpels’ and there it is, the watchcase appears! “A real curiosity, especially in Europe”, points out Stéphane Belmont, international marketing director of Jaeger-LeCoutre, which is the pioneer of such watches. “Middle Eastern and Chinese customers are not so taken by the pieces. They prefer much more straight forward and easily identifiable watches.” There’s lots of humour and poetry to be found in these secret watches, where fauna and flora play out the fantasy of what’s secret and hidden, and ready to be discovered among some of jewellers’ particularly favourite themes. For Boucheron, the watch is discovered once the insect takes flight displaying its lapis lazuli wings, whereas at Cartier, it’s hidden in the mouth of a panther. Evidence of the crisis and of the economy’s downturn is certainly not to be found in these two-in-one pieces. Far from an easy-to-wear jewellery piece, these watches are part of the transformable jewellery range very present in the latest collections - in pieces that double the pleasure.

www.boucheron.com/fr

www.harrywinston.com

 

 
Know how, Watches 7 novembre 2012

Erotic watches, love’s finest hours

Relatively unknown to the general public, these saucy fob-watches miraculously survive.
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sandrine-merle-montre-erotique


Born out of a reaction against the rigors of Calvinism, which reigned in Geneva and throughout Switzerland at the outset of the 19th century, they were thus forbidden by the Church. And so, it was out of the question to include them in a bride’s glory box as gifts for the maids of honor! Men would no longer able to present these so-called “conversation pieces” to the young ladies they courted. Made and sold under-the-counter by watchmakers, they hold their own when it comes to the ingenuity they display for concealing their lewd imagery, sometimes hidden within double case-backs or under watchcovers opened with secret buttons. Each would be seized and destroyed on the spot. Europeans purchased most of the surviving watches after the sacking of the summer palace in Peking during the Boxer Rebellion. In fact, there were many in China. Right from the very appearance of these watches, this country showed a delight for them. And it’s still the case today, as Chinese buyers throng auctions like the one organized in March 2011 by the Swiss house Antiquorum, a specialist in this domain. Chinese buyers bought up models by such names as Breguet and James Cox. This clientele have also largely served to drive up prices, like in the case of Music d’Amour, a pocket watch by Geneva watchmaker Henry-Daniel Capt, dating from 1810. Originally estimated at between €55,000 to €70,000, this watch finally sold for €153,120.

www.antiquorum.com