In 1998, to mark Chopard’s first year as a partner of the Cannes Film Festival, Caroline Scheufele, co-president and artistic director, redesigned the Palme d’Or, the film festival’s highest honor, and the luxury brand’s high jewelry workshops in Geneva for the first time created the trophy. The prize was marked by a delicate palm frond made of highly polished Fairmined-certified 18K yellow gold resting on a rock crystal cushion-shaped base. The bottom of the palm’s stem is shaped as a heart, Chopard’s symbol.
To honor the 25th anniversary of this partnership while the film festival celebrates its 75th anniversary, Scheufele redesigned the Palme d’Or for the 2022 festival, which will run May 17 – May 28.
The change to the trophy is subtle, yet it successfully unites the two anniversaries. Studding two of its 19 tiny leaves are diamonds from suppliers certified by the Responsible Jewellery Council. One is graced with 75 diamonds symbolizing the festival’s jubilee while the other has 25 diamonds marking the quarter-century of the partnership.
Chopard then replaced the rock crystal base with rose quartz, a stone that Scheufele says symbolizes love. In Greek mythology, the powdery pink, delicately veined gemstone is said to have been created by Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and love. Quartz, from the Greek word krustallos meaning “ice,” is said to be the ice of the gods.
The change to the trophy, while subtle in appearance, was a five-year project. Once production began, it took six high jewelry artisans approximately 70 hours to produce the prize.
Even though the Palme d’Or is one of the film industry’s most sought-after awards, it represents just one part of Chopard’s relationship with the film festival. For example, Chopard uses the gathering of glamorous women, to unveil its annual high jewelry collection, which is worn by many of the stars on the festival’s red carpet.
In addition, the Palme d’Or is one of nine trophies that Chopard creates for the festival. The others are: the Best Actress Award, the Best Actor Award, the Grand Prix, the Best Director Award, the Screenplay Award, the Jury Prize, the Short Film Palme d’or and the Caméra d’or.
However, it’s the Palme d’Or that receives the most attention and can change the life of a filmmaker. Scheufele says she is particularly proud that last year for the first time since Chopard’s involvement in the festival, the Palme d’Or was awarded to a woman: 38-year-old Julia Ducournau for her film Titane.
In addition, young female directors took two other honors at 2021 Cannes: The Palm for best short film won by Tang Yi of Hong Kong and the Caméra d’or for the best first feature film won by Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic of Croatia.
In a few weeks we’ll learn if this trend will continue.