Hands Up: Benoit Verhulle (Chaumet)

July 7, 2021

CHAUMET WORKSHOP MASTER

WITH HIS FINGER AND HIS EYE



Even in the air, his fingers are speaking: drawing curves around invisible stones. Benoit Verhulle, the thirteenth head of the Chaumet workshop, is not superstitious. Born on the 31st, he sees in it the trace of a happy destiny, his own destiny. “There is no such thing as chance, it was all meant to be. A happy intertwining of circumstances. He was only 15 years old when he started his career. His father was an accountant and he grew up in Le Havre, but his past counts less than what he still has to learn: everything. Having joined a company that “did series” and in search of “cheap hands”, he made his own by repeating models, with his heart set on his work. One day, his boss gave him a coffee-bean chain. His first necklace. Five others followed.
It was the beginning of another story paved with encounters that count — with his vision channeled through his fingers. He has worked for Chaumet since 1989, and now runs a workshop of sixteen jewelers. “The most difficult thing is to make people understand what the designer wants. Take Torsade, the new high jewellery collection presented this week in Paris. It comprises lines in movement; those who are in front of the workbenches would call them fusili. Ellipses of light haloing emeralds; rubies and cushion-cut sapphires; dazzling spiral rings set inside with brilliant-cut diamonds and inside with rose cut. Infinite games of suspended volumes; a precious interlacing that seems never to have been touched. Lilliputian saws, files, pliers, torches — hand tools are the instruments of all metamorphoses. They are not lent but passed on.
The eye curls; here the score is decidedly never mechanical: “Chaumet jewellery is movement; it is lightness. It must give the sensation that the metal has disappeared and that the stones are held together by magic…”. @laurencebenaim


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