<< Back to Robb Report, August 2014

Personal and Confidential

  • Jill Newman

When a group of Brazilian miners recently unveiled a collection of large Paraíba tourmalines of exceptional quality for Caroline Scheufele, owner and copresident of Chopard, she did not hesitate: She made an on-the-spot offer to buy the rare gems. “These were the nicest stones I had seen in years,” she says.  
Recognizing the appeal that these newly acquired treasures would have for a serious and well-informed collector, the ever-astute Scheufele had them shipped directly from their site of origin to her company’s workshops in Geneva, Switzerland. Her only dilemma during the entire transaction was deciding which of her valued clients would receive right of first refusal on this singular find. “Sometimes,” she admits, “it’s a matter of being in the right place at the right time”—but in this case, she had in mind a U.S. couple with a shared passion for unusual stones that fall outside the ambit of more typical collections. 
As always, Scheufele’s instincts were sound. The clients bought the set of six Paraíba tourmalines and collaborated with Chopard’s design team to create a custom parure that embodies the wife’s understated style. Three of the stones adorn a pair of earrings and a ring, while the remaining oval-shaped electric-blue gems, together weighing more than 40 carats, enhance a simple strand of pearls. 
Given Chopard’s high-profile presence on red carpets—where celebrities attending such media-saturated events as the Academy Awards and the Cannes Film Festival are often draped in the company’s creations—some may be surprised to learn that the house quietly serves a cadre of serious collectors who buy stones privately and commission bespoke pieces that never see the inside of a retail store; instead, these unsung masterpieces are sketched during individual consultations and executed behind the closed doors of the high-jewelry ateliers in Geneva. These special projects, which frequently incorporate important stones, often depart from the house’s usual design canon. “Being family owned, we can be a little adventurous and risky,” says Scheufele, who, as head of the high-jewelry division, meets directly with many clients seeking commissions. 

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