Maison Bäumer opening in Doha, partners with Baccarat and launches a new entry-level collection
One jeweler very much on the move is Maison Bäumer, which is to open its first major foreign store in Doha this month with a boutique inside the Printemps of the Gulf state.
Maison Bäumer will also open its first corner in Printemps Paris this autumn. And in a busy fall, the brand is rolling out a newer affordable range of jewelry. The Place Vendôme jeweler has also just unveiled designs for Abeille Noir, or Black Bee, the latest limited-edition flacon and art object made of Baccarat glass to contain a Guerlain scent.
First created by Lorenz Bäumer back in 2010, as a clear crystal Abeille, and subsequently coming out with a version with golden wings, then with silver wings, in 2012, the following year.
“I wanted to create a perfume flacon shaped like a diamond,” explains Lorenz Bäumer, over coffee and rare cognac in his boutique at 19 Place Vendôme, the world’s most famous fine jewelry location.
In Doha, Maison Bäumer’s new 200m2 store, situated within the new ultra-high-end Oasis complex, is to open just as the Qatar World Cup kicks off, on November 20.
Decorated by Hubert Le Gall and master furniture creator Hervé Van Der Straeten, the new store recreates the same codes as his Place Vendôme boutique.
“We work with guys whom I like, and I like Hubert and Hervé,” underlines Lorenz.
“It’s a great location at the front door of Printemps. They wanted a brand-new marque, exclusive to the Gulf. We will also have two small salons with videos in which Lorenz speaks about his meetings with Parian artisans. Ten three minute episodes, with the likes of François Perret, who has a patisserie in the Ritz, or Féau Boiseries, who make extraordinary interiors,” adds Cédric Aumonier, the experienced ex Webster executive who is Lorenz’s business partner.
“We already have a sizeable Qatari clientele. And we’ve been encouraged by the royal family to come to Qatar. They love the idea of a living creative jeweler, which is very important for special unique orders,” underlines Cedric.
Bäumer also has a vitrine in the Ritz, and is about to open another in Le Bristol hotel in Paris, and in December will launch a partnership line in Eden Rock in St Barths. Last week, Lorenz flew to New York to present a new jewel called La Vie en Rose, which was worn by Princess Charlene of Monaco, when she attended the Princess Grace Awards with her husband Prince Albert II. The red Argyle diamond is now being exposed in a pop-up on 65th Street between Madison and Fifth.
Lorenz Bäumer sees himself as the only remaining independent jeweler in Place Vendôme. All the others are controlled by luxury behemoths. An engineer by profession, Bäumer was the founding designer of Chanel’s high-end jewelry collection, before then spending eight years with Louis Vuitton. “At the time, people thought we had lost our heads trying to create high-end jewelry for a fashion house like Chanel. That was meant to be the job of Harry Winston or Van Cleefs etc... But we certainly managed to achieve that goal! Later, Monsieur (Bernard) Arnault asked me to do the same thing for Vuitton. But at a certain point I decided it’s nice to help others, but now I should take more care of myself,” Lorenz smiles.
“You know when you work for a great group, it can be risky. There always comes a moment when someone says we don’t love your watches anymore, goodbye. So, better to be "chez toi" (at home in French)” he insists.
Bäumer opened his boutique nearly a decade ago in Place Vendôme. Besides the elegant jewelry displays, it includes a cabin with a table of four, with his own ceramic plates and a wooden sign reading Gone Surfing. An active surfer, whose favorite surf island is Sumba, “three islands after Bali,” Lorenz has also created watches in lightweight titanium H2O, cut like a water drop and made in Aegean blue. Though his coolest idea is using meteorite as a Daguerreotype watch-face, allowing clients to customize them and even etch in their own faces.
“I like to make pieces of jewelry with spirit. I like beauty, quality and authenticity. That’s why half of what I do is custom made. I love to work with different materials like meteorite or titanium, but always telling a story,” he explains, standing before an interior window, with a Meteorite ring finished with a diamant jonquille, or daffodil diamond, with a €165,000 price tag.
By comparison, his new limited-edition Baccarat Abeille Noir will only set you back €25,000.
Guerlain likes to work with animals in harmony with the house’s values. Like its 1920s "Tortue". It took so long to build their building on the Champs Elysees, so “they named it Tortue (tortoise in French) in homage.” Guerlain also backs a global program to conserve bees, notably helping to sponsor a black bee preserve and a colony of hives on Quessant Island off Brittany.
When, you suggest €25,000 is steep for a crystal flacon, he bristles and laughs: “Expensive? I don’t have that impression. It’s a lot less expensive than my crystal basketball!”
Lorenz’s beveled crystal ball full of rare Paradis cognac, created with Hennessy, the sponsor of the NBA, celebrated the competition’s 75th anniversary last year. Also manufactured by Baccarat, its 75 examples sold for €150,000.
A bon vivant, Bäumer keeps a stash of rare whiskies, bourbons and cognacs in his flagship for discerning clients. Close to a photo by Karl Lagerfeld of Lorenz with Princess Charlene of Monaco, wearing a shooting star tiara he made for her wedding to Albert.
“It’s maybe the most beautiful work of my career, made for a unique moment of complicity and romance in someone’s life. When a woman becomes a princess and sweeps into history,” muses Bäumer, a father of three children.
Though he also hopes that his new collection of bracelets and rings will introduce a younger clientele to his brand. Based on three iconic collections named Pense à moi, Les Inséparables, Battement de cœur - meaning Think of Me, The inseparables and Heartbeat.
“Battement de cœur is inspired by the image of seeing our first child’s heartbeat on the monitor after being born. While our Morse ring is five rings, spelling out A M O U R in Morse code,” says the jeweler of the rose gold ring retailing for €3,500. With stylish cord bracelets in blue, red, purple and black, priced below €1,000, they seem ideal for e-commerce and opening up another universe of consumers.
“It would be nice to make Place Vendôme less elite,” he concludes.
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