HONG KONG — French jewelry brand Chaumet is due to launch on North American shores for the first time later this year, but its first steps will be in Canada, not the U.S., Chaumet’s chief executive officer Jean-Marc Mansvelt said.
“We’ll start in Canada because there is the French touch, which also for us, is a nice introduction,” Mansvelt said while visiting Hong Kong on Friday. “The U.S. is a big country but it’s a difficult country.”
Although the house’s origins date back to 1780 and its history is intertwined with much of France’s as a nation, the LVMH-owned brand has kept a relatively low-key profile.
That seems to be changing though. Mansvelt said the brand was “growing fast” although he declined to give numbers.
Instead he shared that it was “the paradox of Chaumet. It’s an old lady, it’s been there for many years but now it’s booming. We are now more like an emerging brand, [which is quite] funny.”
Other than Canada, the brand is going to “expand and be more visible” in Australia too, he said. Currently, Chaumet is available only through two retailers there, with no direct boutiques.
Mansvelt was in Hong Kong for the brand’s pop-up exhibition at IFC mall, although it was nothing on the scale of its “Imperial Splendor” show in Beijing. The 300-plus piece exhibition in the Forbidden City, which began in April and runs through to July, is a vast effort that involved borrowing rare pieces from international museums — including the sword of Napoleon, which Chaumet founder Marie-Etienne Nitot helped design.