Tucked away in a classical building on Paris’s iconic Place Vendôme is Dauphin, an atelier of exquisite contemporary fine jewellery by designer Charlotte Dauphin de La Rochefoucauld (first picture). “I wanted to anchor the brand in a quintessentially French setting,” she explains of the space, “and incorporate cool modern elements – dramatic lighting, concrete, wrought iron, neutrally coloured linens – in keeping with my own aesthetic.”
The result is 80sq m of Zen perfection, created in concert with architect Félix de Montesquiou of Das Studio. Glass vitrines atop modern stone plinths are spotlit by freestanding lamps and showcase the maison’s two collections of boldly geometric cuffs, rings and necklaces to dazzling effect.
Drawing on her studies in the history of art at London’s Courtauld Institute of Art, and fuelled by a love of form and fashion (her husband, Charles-Henri de La Rochefoucauld, is related to Annette de la Renta), de La Rochefoucauld’s pieces “are striking and glamorous without being ostentatious,” she explains. “My customer isn’t trying to make a statement with big stones. She is a cultivated woman and prefers a more artistic approach.”
The minimalist, clean-lined showroom features handcrafted pieces in 18ct rose, yellow, black and even rich indigo gold, which is created using a unique colouration technique. In the first collection, mosaic-inspired indigo-gold and diamond double rings (€7,800) seem to float between the fingers and are unconventional yet exude a timeless elegance. Architectural, curvilinear cage-like cuffs can be found in unadorned, highly polished gold (€7,750) or accented with stunning full (example second picture, €31,000) or semi-pavé (from €7,900) settings that incorporate white, grey, black and ombré diamonds. Chevalière rings (€18,100) in jet-black gold set with clear stones and earrings (€3,850-€14,950) comprised of overlapping squares and triangles are arresting, as are wide, ladder-like rose-gold chokers (price on request) “designed to accentuate a woman’s neck”.
The second collection includes original twists on linear stacking rings (from €500), gem-studded latticed bracelets (€7,750-€40,000) in palladium blue and black gold and matching necklaces (price on request), many set with baguette and emerald-cut diamonds sourced from Antwerp and honed in a nearby workshop. These “strong but feminine” pieces are garnering a global following that includes Gwyneth Paltrow alongside French actress Julie Gayet, chic Parisiennes and a slew of international editors.
“I never wore jewellery before I began designing it, other than my father’s large, rose-gold Rolex watch,” de La Rochefoucauld says. “It was my hunt for chic but powerful pieces that led to the birth of Dauphin. And while my creations are a touch avant-garde, I hope they might become future heirlooms.”