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Chopard's Cannes Celebration

Culture Watch
The 2015 Cannes Film Festival's Palme d'Or trophy, crafted from "Fairmined" gold.

By: Jessica Michault

The 68th annual Cannes Film Festival will get underway on May 13th and after 11 days jam-packed with film debuts, both in and out of competition, the winners will receive one of the cinematic world’s most prestigious awards: the Palme d’Or.

Arguably the only film award on a par — in terms of power and influence — with the Academy Awards Oscar, the Palme d’Or is celebrating a major milestone in its own right this year. When the gilded frond, mounted on an emerald-cut cushion-shaped quartz crystal, is handed out on May 23rd, it will mark the 60th anniversary of the award.

Since 1998 the creation of each Palme d’Or has been placed in the loving hands of Chopard, and more specifically Caroline Scheufele, the Co-President and Artistic Director of the house. She is the one who came up with the current look of the trophy.

“Eighteen years ago Chopard was opening a little boutique in Cannes, just opposite the famous red-carpeted staircase, and I wanted to do it at the same time as the festival,” recounted Scheufele about the start of her company’s partnership with the festival. “But I wanted to do something official, and so I met with Pierre Viot, the president of the festival at the time, in his office in Paris and noticed the Palme d’Or on his bookshelf and he put it in my hands. He mentioned that maybe it needed a new design, and I offered to give it a try and I actually left Paris for Geneva that day with the Palme d’Or under my arm, and here we are eighteen years later!”

Very little has changed over that time in terms of the design of the prize. The hand-carved 19 palm leaves that look like they are being slightly swept to the side by a Mediterranean breeze, along with the rest of the piece, is created in the Chopard headquarters in Geneva. A keen eye will also notice that the end of the stalk of the frond finishes in the shape of a heart, a hallmark emblem for the house.

But since last year Chopard has made a fundamental alteration to the award. It is now crafted in certified “Fairmined” gold. This move towards more sustainable development in luxury design comes on the heels of the Green Carpet High Jewelry collection Chopard created in 2013 with Livia Firth, the founder and president of Eco-Age, the non-profit association focused on facilitating eco-friendly partnerships. Firth also helped Chopard bring the new sustainable Palme d’Or into being.

“There is a lot of talk today provenance and traceability, and in jewelry in particular it can be very complicated,” said Firth about sourcing Fairmined gold. “Chopard is the only jewelry house in the world that has gone to the source, to the real people digging in the earth, and found the gold in partnership with the NGO Alliance for Responsible Mining. More importantly, they are supporting mines that are trying to get Fairmined certification. This is really commendable.”

For those who wish they too could take home a piece of the Palme d’Or, Chopard is also debuting at the festival a collection of jewelry inspired by the famous frond. Even better, all the gold pieces in the collection, which includes a ring, pendant, bracelet and earrings, have been crafted out of “Fairmined” gold.

 

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