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Chaumet, like many storied jewellery houses, has had a history of producing exquisite jewellery for royal houses. Its intimate connection to Napoleon Bonaparte and his wife Empress Josephine is famous, and the brand still embraces Empress Josephine as one of its great muses. It seems apropos, therefore, for Chaumet to hold an exhibition of its majestic collection of imperial jewels at one of the most famous royal locations in the world—the Forbidden Palace. (Technically, it's called the Palace Museum now, but it's where the Chinese Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties laid their heads, so the royal connection still stands.)

It seems apropos, therefore, for Chaumet to hold an exhibition of its majestic collection of imperial jewels at one of the most famous royal locations in the world—the Forbidden Palace. (Technically, it's called the Palace Museum now, but it's where the Chinese Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties laid their heads, so the royal connection still stands.)

(Related: A Heart Of Stone? It's 92 Carats And Flawless)

The Imperal Splendours exhibition will run until 2 July, 2017, and is built around Chaumet's wealth of royal resources. There is an embarrassment of historic riches in the form of drawings, archives, and (of course) precious jewels. The 300-some objets d'art  span the history of the Maison Chaumet, beginning at the end of the 18th century and continuing unbroken to the present day. The exhibition was curated by Henri Loyette, a member of the Institute of France and the ex-director of the Musée d'Orsay and Musée du Louvre, and was created under the auspices of many prestigious collections and museums, including the 

The exhibition was curated by Henri Loyette, a member of the Institute of France and the ex-director of the Musée d'Orsay and Musée du Louvre, and was created under the auspices of many prestigious collections and museums, including the the Musée du Louvre, the Château de Fontainebleau and the Victoria and Albert Museum of London. 

To see exactly how this exhibition came to life, click on the video below:

On top of reminiscing about its glorious past, Chaumet has also given us a glimpse into their future in a collaboration with the renowned Central Saint Martins in London. The school's jewellery students were given carte blanche to create what they thought was the diadem of the 21st century. A 21-year-old British student by the name of Scott Armstrong was eventually crowned the winner, with his "Vertiges" diadem (meaning "dizziness" in French) bagging the prize—and what a beauty it is.

391A2757 BIS.jpgCrafted as an abstract architectural interpretation of a French garden, the diadem's basic structure comprises strong geometric lines carved from white and red gold, overlaid with baguette, square, and brilliant cut diamonds. Bursts of green and yellow tourmalines and garnets add freshness to the piece, giving the overall impression of ripe vines winding playfully up garden trellises. Watch the video below to hear what Scott Armstrong has to say about his creation process.

Armstrong's creation is a playful and modern take on Chaumet's well-established design codes, which have long tended towards immortalising the ephemeral parts of nature—think roses in full bloom, birds in mid-flight, and shafts of wheat swaying in the force of the wind. If jewels of that nature excite you, then it's time to book a plane to Beijing. Until then, click through the slideshow below for a small glimpse of what awaits at Chaumet's palace (museum) of Imperial Splendours.

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 (Related: Wear A Historical Building On Your Finger)

Tags: exhibition, jewellery, beijing, jewelry, jewels, Chaumet