French AcademyMaison Chopard creates the sword of future Academician Andreï Makine
Elected to the French Academy in March 2016, the Franco-Russian novelist Andreï Makine, originally from Siberia, will be officially presented on December 7th with his ceremonial sword as a future “Immortel”. Chopard was entrusted with the honour of creating the unique iteration of this symbol that will accompany this fervent admirer of France and of the French language.
A token of belonging to the Institut, the sword carries all the weight of an authentic work of art. The motifs adorning the metal and born from the talent of the High Jewellery artisans of the Maison Chopard convey the spirit of its owner and illustrate a life journey.
An emotional dimension
In accordance with tradition, one week prior to taking his seat beneath the venerable Dome, Andreï Makine will officially receive his sword from the hands of Danièle Sallenave. Wearing the Sword, a custom that became more widespread during the Napoleonic era, has now been enriched with a symbolic and even emotional dimension. The choice of the artist or goldsmith responsible for crafting it is thus of the utmost importance and this task is exclusively reserved for the most prestigious jewellery Maisons. Chopard is delighted and proud to have been selected to dedicate its expertise to serving this important and technically complex mission.
An exceptional human adventure
Above and beyond mere expertise, the human adventure represented by the creation of such an object is firmly based on sharing and exchanges. Chopard first needed to grasp the rich personality of a man whose nature was to be reflected in the sword. Andreï Makine devoted an exceptional amount of energy to this task, including by providing hand-drawn sketches and inscriptions. His Arctic sword belongs to winter, his favourite season. The silver pommel shaped like a woven rope welcomes the adorable frog, transfigured Princess, a famous figure in Russia folk tales. Set with 500 tiny emeralds and 11 white diamonds, it pivots in its sapphire surroundings in a manner echoing Chopard’s famous “Happy Diamonds” principle. The hilt embodies a feat achieved by master lapidaries and depicts a broken rutilated quartz hourglass formed by two bulbs from which tiny Fairmined yellow gold balls spill out, representing the elusive flight of time. The letter “F” spelt in Cyrillic and in the French alphabet is a reminder of the writer’s Franco-Russian nationality; the quill and parchment are part of the narrative; while the scabbard imprisons the sword in an icy grip, just as the novelist’s heart is held fast by nostalgia.
Common ground in shared values
Although the name of Chopard is frequently associated with renowned organisations and events, this is the jeweller’s first involvement with the legendary institution. Their respective worlds may seem far apart, yet the Academy’s function is to perfect and enrich the French language. It is responsible for sculpting this language much as an artisan would do with matter, in order to draw from it the very essence of clarity and elegance. Building on its heritage and guided by the quest for excellence, Chopard strives to accomplish the same task by exercising its unique blend of independence, creativity and boldness, while demonstrating consistent respect for its enduring values. It therefore chose a team of 11 of its finest artisans to magnify the symbol represented by this Academician’s sword.