Jean Claude

Design Drafting Artisan

artisanal alchemy

Crafting the finest luxury jewels demands a refined level of expertise. At Chopard, every piece is an accomplishment born of emotion, intuition, and desire that little by little, in the hands of artisans such as Jean-Claude, transforms from an idea into a unique treasure of incomparable allure. Before a model can come to life, it must first be translated from thought to matter, from an idea to a subject of two-dimensional expression. This artisanal alchemy takes place in the design drafting workshop, where Jean-Claude exercises his time-honoured craft through emotive storytelling. At Chopard, such stories are told simultaneously, with many creations and wonders in the making, all of which are underpinned by the same ethos of heartfelt, authentic emotion.

[A sustained note in the background]

(On-screen text: Chopard presents)

(Jean-Claude puts sheets of paper covered in pencil drawings onto a desk and begins to sketch ideas, including a facetted heart shape surrounded by teardrop-shaped jewels. He briefly holds up a sparkling piece of jewellery made from his design.)

In the early days I wanted to design advertising graphics. But the meanders of life led me to begin designing jewellery.

(On-screen text: ART, from the Latin ARS, ARTIS. Talent, skill, dexterity.)

[Soft piano music plays]

(On-screen text: The word ART becomes ARTISAN.) (On-screen text: From expertise to emotion. Chopard)

(A black and white graphite sketch of the palm of a hand, surrounded by the words EXPERTISE, CREATIVITY, EMOTION.)

The hand is a prodigious tool.

(A portrait of Jean-Claude.)

(On-screen text: Design Drafting Artisan)

It is an extension of the soul.

(Jean-Claude sits at his drawing board, sets up his equipment and begins to draw.)

I started working for Chopard 18 years ago.

(On-screen text: Sketch the future jewel)

(Jean-Claude begins to trace out lines with a mechanical pencil that transform into floral shapes and begin to take on the form of the heart-shaped piece of jewellery.)

My work is driven above all else by a passion for drawing. A design often begins with a research stage, making sketches. We tend to say that we are like sponges, we feed on everything. It can be a small architectural detail, or the exhibition we're going to see, it can be a stroll, autumn leaves underfoot… And then one shape summons another. And then at some point, we are drawn to a composition, and begin to develop it.

(On-screen text: Inking the final drawing)

(Jean-Claude traces over the outlines of his drawing using a black liner.)

Our mission, is to create designs that are relevant, in other words, that satisfy me from an aesthetic point of view.

(On-screen text: Adding colour)

And these designs encounter a sense of belonging in others, they stimulate emotion, leading to the purchase.

(Jean-Claude uses ink pens in different shades of blue and purple to colour his design, adding glints and reflects with white gouache paint.)

At that moment I feel that I have succeeded in my mission. On a more personal note, what I like about a piece of jewellery, is when there's a little touch of humour, of mischief. The emotion that I sometimes feel, is when the hand has finally succeeded in accurately translating the idea that I had in mind.

(Jean-Claude holds up the finished piece of jewellery next to his original design and studies it proudly.)

I consider myself a craftsman. To me, drawing is like words, it's a means of expression, it's a language, it's my language anyway.

(On-screen text: Chopard - The artisan of emotions - Since 1860)

"I submit my ideas and sketches to Jean-Claude and the other Design drafting Artisans, often entering their offices bearing precious stones with which I have fallen in love, but it is up to them to figure out the best way to pay tribute to these exquisite precious gems."

Caroline Scheufele, Chopard Co-President

Jean Claude, Design drafting Artisan

The creative concept for a luxury jewel is first envisioned by Chopard Co-President, Caroline Scheufele, who dreams up each and every detail of a collection, set, one-of-a-kind model and special order. This is then depicted through a delicate drawing; the first graphic representation of a masterpiece to come, which like an architect's plan, serves as a visual reference for Chopard's talented craftsmen. Once approved, the drawing is inked and then coloured and everything is enhanced with gouache painting to give it more light. This illustrative technique is carried about by the same artist, who continues to follow the project on its journey through subsequent ateliers. Depending on what the draftsperson wishes to express or where they want to place the emphasis, several artistic methods may sometimes be used in the same drawing.

Miniature paintings

For instance, a felt pen gives a more strongly defined finish compared to a crayon, while watercolour adds a certain sense of transparency. A piece of luxury jewellery is always represented on a 1:1 scale and it is assumed that the light comes from the left, at a 45-degree angle. It is the rendering of light that gives the illusion of the third dimension. The shading is first done using a black pencil before washing. Applying the alternating areas of shade and light creates the illusion of volume, while colouring provides indications regarding the materials used – the colour of gold, the nature of the precious stones, their size, etc. Lined up on one of the workshop walls, large tan leather-bound works contain the original gouache paintings of previous collections, including several volumes dedicated to the Maison’s 150th anniversary luxury jewellery collection. Like portraits of a jewel, these precious miniature paintings are carefully preserved and protected from the light.

From expertise to emotions

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