Julia Roberts Makes Her Jewelry Design Debut with Chopard

two women posing for a picture
Julia Roberts Designs a High Jewelry CollectionVIRGILE GUINARD

Very few people can put on a 100-carat yellow diamond necklace and make it look effortless. But maybe that's what distinguishes movie stars from the rest of us. Especially one like Julia Roberts. When she made her surprise appearance at the Cannes Film Festival in 2022, on that most glittering of red carpets, she delivered a masterclass in je ne sais quoi elegance. First, the actress had dared to wear pants (a sleek Louis Vuitton tuxedo jumpsuit, but still). And peeking out from her cascading mane of beachy waves was that sparkler, by Chopard, dangling around her neck. We like to call this an OG power move.

It wasn't the first time the star schooled the Cannes crowd. For her festival debut in 2016, she walked the red carpet barefoot. And yes, in Chopard: a 52-carat emerald necklace and an equally colossal emerald ring to match. (The actress officially joined the maison in 2021 as the face of the Happy Sport watch and last year became the global ambassador for all of Chopard's collections.)

two women posing for a picture
Caroline Scheufele & Julia Roberts.VIRGILE GUINARD

Roberts, though, doesn't see these moments as bejeweled acts of red carpet rebellion. "It's reverence," she tells T&C in an exclusive interview. "Just feeling the honor of the moment. You can't put it on and not be like, 'whoa.' " In other words, it's a natural instinct to let the jewelry—and the artistry and imagination and craftsmanship that goes into it—truly shine. Which isn't so hard to do with the Chopard treasures she gets to wear for such occasions. "They're training me," she adds. "I'm starting to really be comfortable with some fancy things in a way that I wasn't before they got their hands on me. They have taught me to appreciate these things."

She has furthered her education behind the scenes, too, the fruits of which were unveiled last night at a party in Los Angeles: Roberts's first jewelry collection, a one-of-a-kind suite of haute joaillerie in emeralds, turquoise, and rubellites designed in collaboration with Caroline Scheufele, Chopard's co-president and artistic director.

The parure, much like its maker, is exuberant and bold and charismatic, with that perfect mix of Hollywood glamour and bohemian spirit. And there is a personal meaning behind every choice. Take the turquoise, which is Roberts's favorite stone. "It's something I was attracted to as a teenager," she says. "It's ancient and fascinating. It seems very earthy to me and it makes you feel grounded, dug in." As for the vivacity of those designs? An homage to India: "I've spent a lot of time there. The culture, the color, the way that they express themselves with their jewelry and their saris. And all of it means something. It's intentional and joyful, and that has always had a profound effect on me."

But the real stars of the collection may be those emeralds. They are the first stones to have been cut from the Insofu, a massive rock that was unearthed from the Kagem mine in Zambia, the largest emerald mine in the world. Scheufele snapped it up at auction in 2018.

"Some gemstones blow you away immediately," Scheufele tells T&C, "and upon seeing the rare and one-of-a-kind Insofu for the first time, with its beautiful hue and strong energy, I knew immediately it would be a hugely important stone for Chopard." The emerald, which clocked in at a staggering 6,225 carats, sat untouched in the Chopard vaults for a few years, being meticulously studied by the maison's expert gem cutters, patiently awaiting its debut.

a necklace with beads and a flower
The Chopard x Julia Roberts collection features the first stones cut from the 6,225-carat Insofu emerald.Chopard

"It's the novice in me that makes it so dreamy," Roberts says. "I had no idea they took the time like this to look at it before cutting it or shaping it. It's like this secret they're waiting to be told, and it makes me think of the great sculptors of the world who say they don't sculpt a statue, they free the statue from inside the block of clay."

Once the gems were liberated, the fun began. Ideas were exchanged, inspirations discussed, sketches drawn. "I shared what I thought would be interesting with Caroline, the sense of the things that I like, that are eye-catching, and she was really willing to hear my thoughts," Roberts says. "Caroline has such an infectious energy and she loves what she does. When you're around her, you just want to be a part of it even more and go deeper into her creativity. This is her gift. I felt like I was coming along for the ride."

And as priceless and impressive as these gems are, at the end of the day it's the work that went into them that will linger as the highlight of her experience. "Whether it's me knitting a sweater or Caroline making these stunningly beautiful things with these incredible gems, I think anything that one participates in making, you're putting all of that intention into it. That, to me, is ultimately what the product is for the person who created it," Roberts says. "You see all the effort and attention that went into it and everybody else sees the dazzle. I will probably always look at this collection and just think, 'Oh yeah, that was our first collaboration.' And I hope I get the chance to do it again." (So do we.)

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