Watch & Jewellery
ABOVE THE WASTE: Boucheron’s Jack de Boucheron Ultime
Text by Kee | Photos courtesy of Boucheron
'Jack de Boucheron Ultime' by Boucheron
'Jack de Boucheron Ultime' by Boucheron

Unless you’ve been reading up on case studies of perfect waste management, there’s a good chance you’ve not come across a material called Cofalit. It’s black and glassy, almost alien-like, something that our imagination is hoping it comes from a long-lost planet light years away from Earth. Well, the closest precious materials we know that look like Cofalit’s hardened raw state is a black diamond rough or untreated onyx. But guess what? Cofalit is created by man and is actually another form of asbestos waste. For decades, French company Inertam has been specialising in the vitrification of asbestos waste – it is the only company in the world to perform this process – so as to ensure that the final stage of it is no longer toxic. It uses thermal plasma technology to melt the waste, a tool that channels a heat that can go as high as 1,500 degree Celsius. Next, this molten state is left to solidify before being crushed into crystal-like pieces that are used as part of a sub-layer of a road. Yes, there is little room for glamour as far as this black, discarded byproduct is concerned. But trust Boucheron’s creative director Claire Choisne to give the unwanted a second wind. As part of the jeweller’s bid to do better for this planet, her team has found a way to package Cofalit as precious, which we will remind you again that it is still being used today as filling material for highway embankments. Tapping on the innovative Jack de Boucheron aesthetic that was inspired by a jack cable, she has fashioned Cofalit as the main mineral used for what has been nicknamed as Jack de Boucheron Ultime. Cofalit has been cut and polished like a precious gem and used as part of a brooch, ear stud, and double loop bracelet. “Cofalit is the complete opposite of what is considered precious in the collective imagination… I took inspiration from the fact that this material is deemed to have no further utility. I wanted to restore its value in a lasting way through this capsule collection,” explained Choisne in her design notes. In order to raise the luxe factor of this repackaged leftover material, Boucheron accented the new age design in ethical white gold and embellished the metal with sparkling round diamonds. And if you’re none the wiser, you wouldn’t be surprised if this black material was a rock of alien origins, which would pique the curiosity of Choisne. But why is a storied French jeweller actively turning waste into wearable wonders? Simply because building a sustainable future requires plenty of experimentation, courage, and creativity… and Boucheron has those in spades.

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