THE GLITTERATI QUESTIONNAIRE
10 QUESTIONS FOR MARIE CHABROL, A.K.A "LE GEMMOLOGUE"
It was by chance that gems and jewels were put on Marie Chabrol's path, and twenty years later, she hasn’t looked back! Polisher, gemologist (BP, DUG Nantes), journalist and lecturer, Marie writes for several French and English-speaking media outlets (Le Gemmologue, Le JDD, International Colored Gemstone Association, Rapaport, etc.) She is also co-founder of the Swiss association Gemmologie & Francophonie.
Based between Paris and Saumur, she is always on the move going where the gems take her.
Marie teaches gemology at the Institut de Bijouterie de Saumur as part of the Professional Gemologist Certificate and was recently appointed editor-in-chief of the Revue de Gemmologie AFG. In addition, Marie is constantly updating her own online publication Le Gemmologue with the latest jewellery collections, book reviews, exhibition news and personal interviews.
1. WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
This is a very difficult question because I have so many, both in business and in my personal life. It may seem old-fashioned to say this, but my parents are important role models and have been at all times of my life. A series of people, places and things have had a lot of impact in general and I'm also very inspired by people who take time to guide and teach others especially those who don't have a lot of time to spare.
2. WHAT IS YOUR IDEA OF LUXURY?
Time and kindness. Patience too. Luxury is a bit of all that, isn't it? From all this seems to me to be born beautiful objects, beautiful moments and also beautiful people.
3. WHICH JEWELER OR WATCHMAKER DO YOU MOST ADMIRE, WHY?
I have a passion for Piaget and Patek watches with ornamental stone dials. And more particularly the Piaget with an opal dial. For jewellery, I love too many things: Amélie Viaene, Alice Fournier, Karl Mazlo, David Bielander, Anais Rheiner, Hemmerle, Takashi Kojima… And yet, they are alive. If I start to list those who are no longer with us, it will be never ending!
4. IN YOUR NEXT LIFE YOU ARE A JEWEL OR OBJECT, WHAT ARE YOU, WHY?
The tiara of Mary Crewe-Milnes, Duchess of Roxburgh. The one made by Cartier in 1935 for her wedding. More than 2500 diamonds are set on this absolutely incredible piece. I find this jewel absolutely fabulous. There is something magical and almost unreal about it.
5. SET A DINNER TABLE FOR 6: WHICH 5 INDUSTRY PEOPLE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE YOUR TABLE WITH?
I could maybe make several tables of six, right? And I'll wander from table to table. I'll take them to the most hidden restaurant in Paris. I'll say no more, this address must remain secret! My oh my, this question is too difficult. I will try to focus on the living even if there are many people who are no longer of this world with whom I would love to chat over a drink! So, let's say that for this first dinner, there could be Vanessa Cron, Olivier Bachet, Francesca Cartier Brickell, Herbert Horovitz, Hans Nadelhoffer.
6. YOUR DREAM JOB IT WEREN'T THIS ONE
I would take be the caretaker/curator of a collection. I would love to do that, find the pieces, document them, write about them, research over and over again. As a child, I wanted to be a museum curator or an archaeologist, this may explain it…
7. YOUR GREATEST JEWELLERY/WATCH MEMORY/EXPERIENCE TO DATE?
I have accumulated many over the years. I could write a book about it! But one of my fondest memories is having shared a real laugh with Thomas Faerber and Ronny Totah during a press presentation for GemGenève. It was in Paris, I interviewed them to write an article and we talked about things that made us smile in this profession. I basically had 15 minutes, and we talked for almost 45 minutes. I could have listened to them endlessly; they are so fascinating. The second anecdote is a fabulous meeting with Daniella Mascetti putting the Marie-Antoinette pearl in my hands during the Sotheby's preview. And, speaking of a queen... In November 2021 I was barricaded in a salon of the Hotel des Bergues with the 4 jewels from the Christie's sale that everyone wanted to see while I interviewed Violaine D'Astorg. She had brought out the jewels, the security locked us in twice, it was great. Finally, there are all of the moments of sharing that I cherish, the cafés on the terrace at La Pointe in Paris with friends in the trade, the people who open their offices and their trunks to me and say, "Come and have a coffee, I have something you will like! ". I'll stop there!
8. YOUR FAVOURITE GEMSTONE?
Garnets. I have a real passion for these stones that people often only know in their purplish red version. And yet there are so many incredible garnets in terms of colours. My last beautiful memory of this is a gem-perfect Russian demantoid garnet over 12 carats seen at David Nassi's at GemGenève this year. I made a dealer friend laugh with this by saying without thinking, "Look at this stone, it is "démente" which is an obvious play on words in French, it's hard to translate properly but it was funny at the time!
9. YOUR MOTTO FOR PROFESSIONAL SUCCESS?
Treating people well will take you very far in life. Add a pinch of dream, a hint of motivation and a good dose of work and you have my magic formula. I don't believe in success per se, but just in a job well done and professional elegance.
10. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE STARTING OUT IN THE INDUSTRY?
Reading, going to museums again and again, visiting exhibitions and asking too many questions. Still and always. There is so much to learn for anyone who wants to do it. Be curious, cheerful, passionate. People in this profession are passionate and lovers of what they do. Also cultivate your humour, it opens many doors. But above all, be irreproachable and patient too. It took time for all of us to gain confidence and experience. And I'm certainly not done learning. Finally, at the risk of repeating myself, cultivate kindness. Remember that you have been given your chance and that it will be necessary to pass it on to someone one day or another!
Follow Marie Chabrol on Instagram to learn more about her favourite geodes, books, jewels and so much more! @le_gemmologue
Read Marie's online magazine Le Gemmologue here.