The Queen of Kalahari, an exceptional 342-carat stone of perfect colour and absolute purity, has given rise to a set of 23 diamonds – The Garden of Kalahari – of which five weigh over 20 carats. The fertile imagination of Caroline Scheufele and the artistic savoir-faire of the Maison Chopard has resulted in this stunning transformation
This story of beauty, passion, and artistry has its genesis in the discovery of a magnificent gemstone of 342 carats more than a year ago in the desolate Kalahari Desert, which paradoxically has also yielded wonderful gemstones.
The Queen of Kalahari, a stunningly beautiful, pure, and radiant stone, drew the attention of Caroline Scheufele, Co-President and Artistic Director of Chopard, when she first came across this gemstone at the Karowe mine in Botswana. It was at the heart of the deposit that this exceptional stone was found.
Born of the volcanic rock known as kimberlite, formed at high temperatures and pressures across endless ages, this diamond enshrines a sense of permanence and the strength of the ties that bind human beings to the earth.
More than 12 months ago, Caroline Scheufele, who had acquired this incredible rough diamond of 342 carats of the most beautiful D colour, type IIA, and exceptional purity directly from the Karowe mine, named it as the Queen of Kalahari. It was love at first sight for Caroline Scheufele who immediately travelled to the open-air Karowe mine to admire this diamond when it was discovered.
Since then, she has personally supervised each stage in its development, like a lucky star guiding it towards its luminous interpretations and thereby giving rise to the most prestigious jewellery ever to emerge from the Chopard High Jewellery workshops.
The Garden of Kalahari is an extraordinary ensemble of 23 diamonds that have been created from the Queen of Kalahari. Each of these gems, like the diamond from which they originate, is of absolute colour and purity. Among these 23 diamonds, five weigh more than 20 carats and each of the main stone cuts – cushion, brilliant, heart, emerald and pear – is represented.
The Garden of Kalahari
A natural-born visionary, Caroline Scheufele is the creative soul of the Maison Chopard. Around these five stones, she has built a daring and dancing network of poetic and metaphorical symbols.
Through her eyes, the radiant 50-carat brilliant cut becomes a sunflower, the 26-carat heart shape a delicate pansy, and the 25-carat pear shape a majestic banana blossom. As for the perfect 20-carat cushion cut, it indulges in a gentle tête-à-tête with the flaming poppy, while the 21-carat emerald cut floats idly alongside a water lily.
Shapes, echoes, reflections, and colours entwine in an enchanting scene, an extraordinary garden where poetry, light, and radiance are the only rules. These five diamonds are the masterworks among the 23 diamonds composing The Garden of Kalahari.
It is around these stones that an extraordinary collection of six jewellery models has been conceived – testifying to the creative wealth and peerless expertise of the artistic crafts cultivated in the Chopard workshops. The collection represents almost a full year’s work: thousands of hours lavished on this endeavour by the eyes, heart, and hands of the Chopard jewellery artisans and gem setters.
Garden of Kalahari jewellery pieces
The centrepiece of this collection throbs gently near the heart of its wearer. The Garden of Kalahari necklace testifies to the ingenuity and the playful spirit governing Chopard design.
This model is playfully interpreted in four variations – the first of which is a gorgeous and supremely modern choker to be worn alone. An entirely invisible mechanism allows it to be detached in the centre and adorned with an exquisite flower to form a more sophisticated version.
For a more festive jewellery piece, this flower itself can be attached to three majestically beautiful pendants that are adorned with the three biggest diamonds in The Garden of Kalahari: the 50-carat brilliant-cut, 26-carat heart-shaped and 25-carat pear-shaped gems. Each of these precious ‘attachments’ can be worn alone, or all together – culminating in an extremely magnificent masterpiece.
And because Chopard loves to combine beauty with fanciful touches, two of these pendants – the heart-shaped and pear-shaped diamonds – can be worn attached to the earrings, thus creating a spectacular set matching the necklace, adorned (or not) with the flower and the brilliant-cut diamond.
The earrings can also be worn without the heart- and pear-shaped diamonds, for a more discreet version. This truly singular and totally modern idea of beauty leaves the owner complete freedom to associate carats and shapes, thereby giving full scope to the fascinating diversity of moods, occasions and desires.
The collection is further enriched by a cuff bracelet adorned with two emerald-cut diamonds; two rings of which one bears the 20-carat cushion-cut diamond; and of course an astonishing secret watch that is as delicate by nature as it was to create.
The Garden of Kalahari collection is entirely built around the idea of a jewellery lacework like diamond guipure lace with a luminous cut-out motif; this has become the Chopard signature in High Jewellery as initially developed in the Precious Chopard collection.
The Chopard workshops represent a wealth that the Scheufele family carefully nurtures by focusing on the transmission of expertise from generation to generation, as well as on training. Chopard is keenly aware that the most precious heritage is above all the human factor. Chopard creations are an integral part of the proud High Jewellery tradition and artistic crafts of the very highest level – lost-wax carvers and casters, jewellers, lapidaries, gem setters and polishers – are exercised there.
From lines to volumes, from goldsmithing to working on precious stones, the Chopard ateliers perpetually push the boundaries of feasibility and, by pooling their talents, give vibrant life to the most prestigious jewellery. The Garden of Kalahari testifies to the virtuosity of the artisans involved in its conception, as well as in the genius that was essential to its development under the aegis of Caroline Scheufele.
As a pioneer of sustainable development in jewellery, Caroline Scheufele actively encouraged the Karowe mine to join the growing number of Chopard’s suppliers – covering gold, coloured gemstones, and diamonds – to engage with Eco-Age’s independent Green Carpet Challenge validation criteria, which mirrors best international practices in environmental and social justice.
Caroline and the owners of the Karowe mine agreed to the visit of the Eco-Age team to independently assess all elements of its mining activities. The Karowe mine is continuing in its own journey to sustainability by moving towards the fulfilment of the standards necessary to achieve the RJC certification.
And because art and cinema are inseparably bound up with Chopard’s history and identity, each stage in this extraordinary adventure has been filmed by Alexis Veller, who plans to present it as a 55-minute docu-fiction film.