In 1860, a man by the name of Louis-Ulysse Chopard founded Le Petit-Fils de L.-U. Chopard & Cie S.A. in Sonvilier, Switzerland. Over the next century, Chopard developed a reputation as one of the finest producers of dress watches in Switzerland. In the 1980s, it diversified, adding jewelry and sports watches to its range. Chopard's jewelry proved just as popular as its watches, and by the late 1990s, it was one of the most coveted brands around. But things were about to get even better. In 1999, Chopard released the Ice Cube Collection. With its sleek, contemporary aesthetic and its convention-breaking blend of urban chic and timeless glamour, the collection was little short of groundbreaking. The public lapped it up. Over 20 years later, it's as popular as ever. If you've ever been intrigued by the glacial beauty of the Chopard Ice Cube Collection, here's what you need to know about its history.
Prior to the 1980s, Chopard made watches. The watches were incredible, and Chopard clearly put a lot of effort into them. But that was all it did. Chopard was a watchmaker, pure and simple. Then the 1980s rocked around, and with it, a seismic shift happened at Chopard. After over a century of concentrating solely on timepieces, it decided the time was nigh to diversity. Enter Caroline Scheufele, the daughter of Chopard owners Karl and Karin Scheufele. In 1985, Caroline, who'd been working at the family business for several years already, designed an articulated clown made of floating diamonds. Impressed by his daughter's design, Karl put it into production. The result, "Happy Clown," was the very first piece of jewelry made by Chopard. After testing the waters with Caroline's clown, Chopard decided to release a full-blown jewelry collection. It proved a success. Consumers, it seemed, were as happy to fork out for a Chopard ring or bracelet as they were for a Chopard watch. Over the next decade, Chopard continued to expand its jewelry range, eventually moving into fine jewelry. By the 1990s, it was as well known for its exquisite jewelry as it was for its exquisite watches. But things were about to get even better.
In 1999, Chopard launched the Ice Cube Collection. It was a revelation. Build around six facets, twelve ridges, and eight peaks, each piece was geometric perfection. The collection was rock and roll, it was as sharp and cool as a glacier, as glamorous as it was elegant. In short, it was a game-changer. The Ice Cube Collection's groundbreaking take on fine jewelry proved an instant hit. Its raw simplicity, ultra-contemporary aesthetic, and endless versatility were just what the world needed as it entered the new millennium. It was ageless, it was genderless, and it was about to become an icon.
Over 20 years since the Ice Cube Collection first hit the shelves, it's as popular as ever. Although it's been through a few minor updates over the years, its essence is still firmly intact. The cubes of today's collection are the same as those of the original, ensuring that each new addition to the line is instantly recognizable. Now available in yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold, the current collection spans the full gamut of rings, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. Each piece consists of small, perfectly geometrical cubes packed in tight rows. Some of them are polished to a glittering sheen, others are studded with diamonds. Whether they're worn singularly or stacked with rock and roll abandon, their timeless appeal and edgy vibe make a huge statement.
The Chopard Ice Cube Collection of today is still recognizable as the Ice Cube Collection of yesterday. But even classic collections benefit from the occasional update. Over the past 20 years, Chopard has periodically breathed fresh life into it's longest lasting collection with updates such as:
The Rihanna Collobaration
Back in 2017, Rihanna teamed up with Chopard for a fresh take on the Ice Cube Collection. In a statement released at the time, Caroline Scheufele, who now serves as the brand’s Co-President and Creative Director, said "Rihanna and I collaborated closely on the collections so you can feel her unstoppable energy, strong creativity, and inherent sense of design in every piece. With her unique style, she redefines the way people see and wear jewelry”. As The Life Of Luxury notes, the collection was inspired by Rihanna’s roots in Barbados. Designed to bring to mind lush, tropical gardens and the excitement of Carnival, the nine-piece capsule collection blended urban chic with classic glamour to spectacular effect.
Ice Cube Pure
As the Australian Times writes, the Ice Cube Pure Collection is another contemporary collection that reinvigorated the Ice Cube range. The capsule collection took the traditional prisms of the original and incorporated them into a set of sleek, modern pieces. Available in rose, white and yellow gold, the range features necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings, and anklets, all of which boast glittering diamond inserts to add a serious hit of glamour to the otherwise streamlined designs. Simple enough to be worn everyday but special enough to add a touch of luxe to any outfit, the Ice Cube Pure range was designed with the modern woman in mind. Interestingly, the entire collection is crafted from Fairmined gold. Over the past decade or so, Chopard has moved increasingly towards sustainable materials and ethical practices. The Ice Cube Pure range is a standout example of how the brand has made sustainability a cornerstone of its business without losing any of its luxury values in the process.
Ice Cube Capsule by Marion Cotillard
The most recent new line to be added to the Ice Cube Collection is the Ice Cube Capsule by Marion Cotillard. The capsule collection champions both Cotillard and Chopard's environmental activism. Unveiled in September 2020 at Paris Fashion Week, the collection centers around seven beautifully designed Haute Joaillerie creations. Each piece is crafted from Fairmined-certified ethical gold and diamonds. Speaking to Vogue about the partnership, Caroline Scheufele said, “Marion Cotillard is very creative and all our discussions have been extremely inspiring. By bringing her interpretation to our Ice Cube collection, she is inventing a contemporary and relaxed way to wear diamonds. It is a great pleasure to combine her ideas with our expertise in the realm of ethical jewelry.” Cotillard added, “Chopard has accompanied me since my debut as an actress and I share Caroline Scheufele’s commitment to ethics, so this new collaboration is a great way to further strengthen the ties between us.”
Chopard's move into sustainable, ethical jewelry has given fresh vigor to the Ice Cube Collection. It's still the same iconic collection that the world first fell in love with, but Chopard's forward-thinking approach has ushered in a new generation of fans. What comes next for the collection remains to be seen, but if it's anything like we've seen so far, it's going to be epic.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker