Jewelry Apprentice Artisan

Chopard is not just any luxury jewelry and watch Manufacture. Training is one of its mainstays and a key concept for the Scheufele family, which has been running Chopard from generation to generation. Firm believers that one of Chopard Manufacture's most precious assets is its "artistic hands", the Maison thus has its own apprenticeship workshops in Fleurier and Geneva where it trains those who will become the greats of tomorrow. In Fleurier, the apprentices learn the watchmaking and micromechanical trades while in Geneva, they are trained as watchmakers, jewelers, micromechanics and watch-exterior finishers.

Some Chopard-trained future jewelers may work for the Maison once they have completed their studies. Such is the case for Benjamin, who planned to study art history at university, but in the end chose to take a year out to get involved in creative projects, prior to being accepted for a one-week internship at Chopard in January 2016. An apprenticeship in luxury jewelry-making followed with a position subsequently becoming available in Chopard's creative department. During his training, Benjamin learned the full range of hand craftsmanship techniques, starting from the raw material.

While officially an apprentice must be able to fashion nickel silver, brass, silver and gold, he enthuses: "Chopard as a whole goes far beyond the regulation requirements for training and is also committed to teaching historical techniques that are no longer used today. In my case, I was lucky to have a trainer who taught us modern jewelry, in accordance with Federal Apprenticeship Ordinance, as well as a lot of historical alternatives, while allowing us to work with a large number of raw materials." In 2008, this commitment resulted in the Manufacture being awarded the "Best Training Company Prize" in the "Applied Arts" category by the State of Geneva.

Training is the only way to guarantee the survival of the ancestral arts of watchmaking and jewelry. Without transmission, there is no possible future for these professions dedicated to beauty.
Karl-Friedrich Scheufele

Discover Benjamin's portrait as an apprentice in luxury jewelry at Chopard: from his journey to our Manufacture to the knowledge he uses as an artisan now.

[A sustained note on string instruments] 

(On-screen text: Chopard presents) 

(Hands carefully unfold a white cloth, revealing a precious piece of jewellery within. Benjamin, in his workshop, wears a white lab coat and sketches with a mechanical pencil. He turns a black stone over in his hands.) 

When I was 8, the first year we moved to Europe, a friend of my parents gave me a book on gemology. I think I took it with me everywhere from the ages of 8 to 14. 

[Soft piano music plays] 

(On-screen text: Chopard presents) 

(Hands carefully unfold a white cloth, revealing a precious piece of jewellery within. Benjamin, in his workshop, wears a white lab coat and sketches with a mechanical pencil. He turns a black stone over in his hands.) 

[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.) 

Hands are very interesting because by looking at something you managed to gain a better... idea of its form, but actually by touching it you can be much more precise. 

(A portrait of Benjamin.) 

(On-screen text: Benjamin, Apprentice Jeweler) 

So sometimes, when I need to check something, I close my eyes. 

(On-screen text: Design) 

Jewelry is something that dates back to before the first traces of writing. I really like that I am helping to continue it. 

(Benjamin sketches in his workshop.) 

I started out making jewelry from copper wire so I could try to learn. 

(On-screen text: Preparing the materials) 

I wanted to start using a blowtorch so I could weld. 

(Benjamin lights a blowtorch, plunges a piece into its flame then into water to cool it.) 

I enjoyed it so much that I took the pieces I made and used them as my portfolio and I applied to various different houses for an apprenticeship in jewelry-making. 

(Benjamin uses various tools to expertly shape metal.) 

In my first year, I made two Greek-inspired pieces. Then, in my second and third years, I made some slightly more Egyptian pieces. I then started to make pieces in a more Renaissance style. There are several competitions in the 4th year of the apprenticeship and one of them is the design competition. We're all given an envelope with a theme, as well as stones to use in the piece. 

(On-screen text: Maquette) 

The theme was the relationship between the passage of time, nature and human beings. I did a slightly modernized version of the great chain of being by making 12 items and each item used a different material to represent a different link in the chain of being. I took prehistoric materials for the bottom of the chain and then I followed the order of evolution until I reached human beings. 

(Benjamin compares a prototype with the molded version.) 

We are lucky as Chopard apprentices because we have a supervisor who is deeply interested in the history of art and of the profession in general. We gain knowledge that is increasingly rare and increasingly important. 

(Benjamin arranges inserts made of different materials into the piece of jewelry.) 

There is a great deal of historic heritage in artisanal trades that dates back centuries or millennia. So we feel very connected to ancient history. 

(On-screen text: Presenting the piece) 

We actually feel connected to the history of the profession as a whole and we know it is also our role to pass it on to future generations. 

(On-screen text: Sharing the knowledge) 

(Benjamin holds up the finished piece.) 

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

Benjamin, Jewelry Apprentice Artisan

"At Chopard, you learn to shape titanium, wood, certain types of plexiglass, aluminium, resins and plastics. There is great versatility in terms of approaches, techniques and styles."

Artisan of emotions
Meet our artisans