The Royal Jewellers S01 ep9 : Chopard Jewellery [Geneva]
Interview with Caroline Gruosi Scheufele
GENEVA- Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele - Chopard - Hands-on family jewellery dynasty known for their 'Happy Diamonds".
Once I went to an exhibition and it was one of the very first that my father sent me to, in the Philippines[at the time of Imelda Marcos]. They needed a family member and I was just 17 and I was just sort of helping out. My father told them, 'the Vice President will be coming' and as I walked out of the plane with jeans and t-shirt they asked "Where is the Vice President?' and then our representative said, 'She is here'. Then they said, 'Oh my God she is a kid!'.
Caroline Gruosi Scheufele
KM – What is Chopard?
It is the family business founded in 1860 and my father has taken it over in
1963 from Louis Yves Chopard because he didn't have any family member to
continue. And also my family is since four generations in the watch and
jewellery business. From the South of Germany from a place called Pfortzheim.
Where the German comes in handy is really the quality of the manufacturing.
We are very precise and very much down to the gritty ditty little details.
I always had a passion for jewellery and stones and in general I always used to
paint. When I was 14 or 15 already, I was very much interested in what my
parents were doing and I often went to the factory after school, and I was
looking and being fascinated by all the little details that go into a watch.
Once when I went to an exhibition and it was one of the very first that my
father sent me to; it was in the Philippines. They needed a family member and
I was just 17 and I was just sort of helping out.
KM – Yes
And my father said, "the vice president will be coming' and I walked out of the
plane with jeans, t-shirt and … and there was the representative…
KM – A seventeen-year-old girl.
..in front of me and then there was the red carpet and the minister, because
Mrs. Marcos she was organising all of that.
KM – Oh you are kidding, this was back in the time of Emelda Marcos.
And I went out and they said… they look around, and they said "where is the
Vice President?' and then this representative said, 'she is here'. Then they
said, 'Oh my God she is a kid!'
KM – What is the point of Jewellery
Well it gives maybe to a woman when she receives such a gift.
KM – What is it?
A little, a little piece of luxury, a little piece of dream. I think it is difficult to
express it somehow in words but it is… I mean you don't really need a ten-
carat diamond, but who would say no if you offer it to somebody. In Egypt the
men used to cover their women with jewellery to show who they are, and how
much importance they give also to their women. And it is still a little bit like this.
KM – What are women looking for from a particularly in a piece of jewellery?
Somehow they look to find their character, their own character and personality.
KM – So they are looking to reflect themselves.
To reflect themselves in that piece of jewellery.
KM – How do you come up with your designs?
You don't sit down and say, today I have to have a new idea! It doesn't work
like this at all. Luckily I travel a lot so I get a lot of inspirations from being
KM – Would it be fair to say that a lot of what we see in Chopard, the modern
image of Chopard has come from you and your brother - your generation?
I think so; I mean my parents for sure have put the milestones.
KM – Clear, they have given you the foundations.
But when I think, when I started we didn't have any jewellery and my father
didn't want to know nothing about jewellery - it was just pure watch making.
We had the "Happy Diamond" concept; it existed, but only for the watches.
And for me this was something that went much more for the jewellery rather
than the watches, so my first design was a clown with the Happy Diamonds…
And I was still in school and we did that…
KM – Serious?
And that is how the jewellery started.
KM – Do you deal with customers, still today?
Of course, every day.
KM – Do you sell very important pieces to these customers yourself?
Yes, that is what I like most.
KM – Really, What is the biggest piece you have sold, in terms of value?
When was the first time you sold some serious pieces? Was it a big surprise
It was some time ago already, yes, it is satisfaction, it is really you know, you
feel you don't even believe that you did it somehow. Well we had a watch once
for about 10 million dollars and I sold it.
KM – A watch !
KM – One watch!
Yeah, one watch.
KM – Ten million dollars! God what the heck was this watch?
It was with some special big stones - unique pieces, and I mean the watch was
like packing up the stones. This is like selling, I guess a collector's item, like
selling a beautiful piece of furniture.
KM – Clear
..or a beautiful painting, or
KM – A one off.
A one off but it is interesting because you see how people react and I love to
do that, honestly. And I, for me also being in creation it is very important that I
am close to the end consumer. I see, I listen, I see what is wrong, or what is
right or you know…
KM – Have you been surprised by some of these people, some of these
Oh you know when you are really face to face with them, they are just like you
and me, they are not "glitterati". I mean, this is their image; they have from the
media and the movies and so on. In a way they are really very simple often,
and they like to do exactly what you want to do. I mean Jose Carreras after a
concert he likes to eat a plate of spaghetti or pizza.
KM – Sorry who was this?
Jose Carreras for example, who is a very close friend of the family and not see
anybody, you know just be normal.
We have produced a watch together with Prince Charles for his foundation.
We had helped a polo match where he was playing and to thank the people
who were helping this foundation, at the time he gave a dinner and I happened
to sit next to him and I said, "Oh my God what am I going to talk to him about
the whole night long", and he is so sweet, and so full of life and humour.
KM – Really?
Really! He has this really English humour and he has this little shop in St.
James's palace where he sells his products from the agriculture, which is all
natural, like honey and he has books about gardening and things and all the
KM – What Prince Charles?
Yes, but it is a private thing.
KM – Yes
It is only when he has guests and you can go there afterwards. I said, “Oof, I
did not take… do you take American Express?” He said “Of course”.
KM – You are kidding?
All the proceeds go.. I am modern,. All the proceeds go to his foundation, and I
said, “Why don't you make something a little bit more expensive, so you make
more money for the foundation?” And so we came to talk about watches and
the association of Jose Carreras with his Leukaemia foundation. And that is
how the whole story started.
I think that it is important that people, especially when it comes to a certain
amount of money, they identify with something and not a name or a big brand.
You can make a watch for 10 francs, and you can make a watch for 100,000
francs, not only by putting stones, but by the way you finish everything. You
can have a dye which is 10 centimes and you can have one that is 2000 francs
because they are hand made, hand painted, then you have numbers they are
cut out and put on, so there is a lot… this is luxury.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Chopard Jewellery , Geneva,