By Ashley Davis
Fuchsias tiara known as the Bourbon-Parma tiara, Joseph Chaumet, 1919, in platinum and diamonds. Paris Chaumet collections. © Simone Cavadini – Talent & Partner / IIIRD Man

New York—The utmost decadence and exquisite artistry get their due in a new coffee table tome dedicated to the tiara.

“Chaumet Tiaras: Divine Jewels,” out next month from Thames & Hudson, showcases some of the most exquisite headpieces from the storied jeweler.

Founded in 1780 in Paris, Maison Chaumet rose to acclaim as the jeweler of choice for Empress Josephine, wife of Napoleon.

20200311 Chaumet 1Here, the Bourbon-Parma tiara, also seen at top, is pictured on model. Paris Chaumet Collections. © Julia Hetta – Art + Commerce / IIIRD Man
"Chaumet Tiaras” charts nearly 250 years of the iconic style in vivid photographs and illustrations.

Featured styles are cleverly grouped into thematic categories, rather than chronologically: Nature, Sky, Freeforms and Power. Illustrations and photographs of past pieces seamlessly mix with modern Chaumet high jewelry styles pictured on models. 

Nature explore flowers, leaves, water and wheat motifs. The latter rose to fashion under Empress Josephine, who influenced the resurgence of classical motifs. An ear of wheat symbolized fertility. (The style has even enjoyed recent high jewelry tributes.)

20200311 Chaumet 2Joséphine Aigrette Impériale tiaras in white gold with cultured pearls and diamonds (top; white gold, ruby and diamonds (center); and white gold and diamonds (below), 2018 © Simone Cavadini – Talent & Partner / IIIRD Man
Sky shows the incorporation of suns, stars, moons and birds. Highlights are striking, Modernist “sun aigrette” styles from Joseph Chaumet, who designed for the house from 1885 to 1928.

Freeforms emphasizes geometry, graphics, garlands and friezes, all of which feel startlingly modern, particularly illustrations of bandeau tiaras by Joseph Chaumet and his son, Marcel Chaumet, who succeeded his father in the business in the Art Deco era.

20200311 Chaumet 3Leuchtenberg tiara, transformable into a brooch and hair ornaments, Jean-Baptiste Fossin, c.1830-40 in gold, silver, diamonds and emeralds. Paris, Chaumet collections © Simone Cavadini – Talent & Partner / IIIRD Man

Lastly, Power encompasses tiaras that embody regalia, sentiment and seduction, or feature symbols. It’s full of tiaras created for and worn by royalty, as well as some contemporary styles we wish we would see more of—on the Oscars red carpet, perhaps.

Chaumet Tiaras includes introductory essays by Victoria & Albert Museum jewelry curator Clare Phillips and fashion journalist Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni, who explore the tiara’s history and role in society.

With over 200 illustrations, Chaumet Tiaras is destined to be the jewelry book of the spring, if not the year.

It’s available on April 28.

20200311 Chaumet 4Étoiles tiara, white gold and diamonds. “Les Ciels de Chaumet” collection, 2019 © Joaquin Laguinge – Blanc Agency / IIIRD Man

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