The Palme d’or Anatomy of a supreme distinction

Chopard is the artisan of intense emotions. Each year, as official partner to the Cannes Film Festival since 1998, Chopard creates all the awards presented by the Festival, including the most prestigious of them all: the Palme d’or. This absolute distinction, awarded to the cinematic gem chosen by the jury, epitomises the nature of the masterpieces it rewards: genius, patience and precision delivered by the expert hands of skilled artisans. Through the virtuoso skills that bring it to life, as well as through the formal perfection it embodies in all its resplendent majesty, the Palme d’or crafted in Chopard’s workshops reflects the magic of the cinema with which the Maison fervently pursues its enduring love affair.

Caroline Scheufele (Co-President and Artistic Director) wanted the film industry’s most coveted award to be fully worthy of what it represents. The Palme d’or is entirely made of Fairmined-certified ethical gold, a unique feature that sets it apart from all other film trophies. It is also a subtle expression of Chopard’s determined commitment to sustainable luxury, in which art, ethics and aesthetics are so inextricably intermingled.

“Cinema is the place where one can explore human complexities”, explained director Justine Triet during the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, where she won the Palme d’or. Pierre Lescure, one of the world’s greatest film connoisseurs and President of the Cannes Festival from 2014 to 2022, described Justine Triet’s award-winning film Anatomy of a Fall as one of the greatest Palme d’or laureates he had ever seen; in his eyes, it could have earned distinctions in any of the other categories. And that’s exactly what occurred, as the Palme d’or proved an invaluable launch pad propelling it into all the international selections, winning awards in everything from the Césars and Oscars to the Golden Globes and BAFTAs.

Anatomy of a Fall made the 2023 Palme d’or a noteworthy event. A film that brings to the screen a great female role, embodying a powerful woman who does not demand her place but simply takes it. It was also the second time in three years that the Palme d’or has been awarded to a woman, after Julia Ducournau in 2021 for Titane. It’s a victory that testifies to women’s changing place within society and in the film industry, since the last time a woman had won the Palme d’or was 1993 when Jane Campion was rewarded for The Piano Lesson. Back then, the trophy was not yet the jewel it has now become under the impetus of a woman – Caroline Scheufele – who didn’t wait for social revolutions before taking her own place and making herself heard.

A Palme magnified by Caroline Scheufele’s creative spirit

The love affair between Chopard and cinema began in 1997, when Caroline Scheufele crossed paths with Pierre Viot, then President of the Cannes Festival. In a dizzyingly serendipitous twist of fate, Caroline Scheufele was asked to redesign the Palme and carried off the previous model in her handbag. In Geneva, she completely recreated the volumes, making it lighter for added depth and relief. Its 19 tiny leaves were finely ribbed and the stem was tipped with a heart, one of Chopard’s iconic emblems. Inspired by Nature with its constant movement and undulations, the Palme d’or – like so many of the Manufacture’s Haute Joaillerie creations – took on new life under the impetus of Caroline Scheufele. By thus opting to move in lockstep with the Cannes Film Festival, Chopard’s Co-President and Artistic Director set the seal on her lifelong love of the ‘seventh art’ by creating a fertile, infinitely vibrant link bursting with creativity and accompanying the crowning of this century’s most talented film directors.  Her distinctive signature is reflected in the fluidity and finesse of this ‘plant jewel’. Twenty-seven years later, the famous branch has been reissued in its original form and placed on a rock crystal base featuring inclusions that render it unique, shaped like an emerald-cut diamond. Ready to be awarded on the evening of the prize-giving ceremony, in front of the world’s cameras, at the most talked-about global event after the Olympic Games.

From film sets to workshops, a feat of artistic craftsmanship

Just as the beauty of a screenplay is built from a mosaic of windows offering different lighting and potential perspectives, the making of the Palme d’or is a splendid ballet of multiple, patiently executed operations, unfurling in an unstoppable procession of stages and virtuoso movements.

No less than 70 hours of work are required to create the Palme d’or in the Maison’s workshops. It is entrusted to a single jeweller who, like an orchestra conductor, ensures consistency throughout this process involving six artisans. This collective endeavour begins with 118 grams of Fairmined-certified ethical gold, a label guaranteeing that it has been mined in compliance with the highest standards of social and environmental ethics. In the deft hands of Chopard’s artisans, these 118 grams of gold are transformed into the film industry’s most coveted award. It is a process of pure sublimation, identical in every respect to the magic of cinema and its incomparable ability to transform reality into a poetic act. From the crucial preparation of the mould using the “lost-wax casting” technique, to the metal’s fusion in a 900-degree furnace at the heart of the Manufacture’s foundry and on through the various stages of trimming, cleaning, polishing and assembly: a succession of techniques and operations involving unequalled dexterity give birth to the Palme d’or. The result is a perfect symbiosis of form and substance: an objet d’art that is in itself the most precious of existing distinctions, and the ever-renewed magic of cinema that it rewards. The undiminished emotion of this endless pas de deux can be summed up in three words: Chopard loves cinema.