Chaumet: Lord of the Dragonflies

Insects suffer from a general lack of respect. But in haute jewelry design, buzzing bees, spindly spiders, and their brethren often transcend their lowly reputations to become fodder for fantastical creations. Such is certainly the case in Parisian brand Chaumet’s new line of watches, Attrape-moi…si tu m’aimes (Catch me…if you love me), which mines Mother Nature’s creepy-crawlies to stunning effect. The above timepiece, one of 88 created, depicts a pair of dragonflies made from paper-thin slices of white mother-of-pearl, agate, and carnelian against a nighttime sky of lapis lazuli. The design was inspired by “the naturalism codes of the Maison Chaumet,” says creative director Claire Dévé-Rakoff, adding that all of the watches in the collection “tell miniature stories of love and seduction in a decor of luxuriant nature.”


Dévé-Rakoff, who conceptualized the collection, characterizes its fabrication as “a collaboration between Chaumet and the Swiss master craftsmen who practice and preserve exceptional savoir faire and artistic decorative skills…in a creative world where imagination and emotion know no boundaries.” Six artisans—a jeweler, engraver, stone setter/sculptor, and miniature painter along with two watchmakers—fashioned the pieces. Each took roughly 120 hours to assemble.


Set in 18k pink gold, 58 brilliant-cut diamonds (2.52 cts. t.w.) compose the watch’s dazzling bezel, which is anchored to a grosgrain satin strap capped with a pink gold pin-and-buckle set with 63 brilliant-cut diamonds (0.2 ct. t.w.); an alternate white alligator skin band is also included. Dragonflies are fashioned of mother-of-pearl, yellow agate, and orange carnelian slices and set into lapis lazuli on a mother-of-pearl base. Seven brilliant-cut diamonds (0.06 ct. t.w.) make up the smattering of stars.


In addition to coordinating among the various artisans, the biggest challenge in creating the timepieces, says Dévé-Rakoff, was the nighttime sky, which was ultimately created by “painting” with lapis lazuli powder. The watches, priced at $85,425 each, are currently available at Chaumet’s boutique in Paris.