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Celebrity Firm Marks a Decade in Cannes
Posted by editor_usa

Friday 18
May 2007 @ 15:53
– GMT

 A Geneva-based luxury brand is celebrating a milestone at the 60th international film festival in Cannes.

 This marks the 10th year that Chopard has produced the festivals celebrated Palme dOr trophies, coveted by cinéastes over the world . Featuring the famous palm symbol of the French Mediterranean resort, the trophies are made by the company at its plant in the Geneva community of Meyrin. The 24-carat gold is hand-poured into a wax mold before being mounted to a crystal block.

In an interview with the Tribune de Genève this week, the jewelry company’s co-president Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele recalled how they snagged the rights to make the trophy. She was in Cannes to open a new boutique and was casting around for something exceptional to mark the occasion. She thought of coinciding the opening with the film festival and contacted Pierre Viot, who was then presiding over the event. I was admiring the Palme in his office and, noting my interest, he very simply asked me if I would like to come up with a new interpretation of the trophy.

In addition to making the Palme dOr, which goes to the best film-maker, Chopard produces mini-Palmes for the best male and female interpretations and the Caméra dOr, awarded for the best first film. Since 2001, it has handed out the Trophée Chopard, which honors promising young actors and actresses. The company also uses the event to promote its jewelry, given to movie stars to wear as they parade along the red carpet during gala screenings.

We actually make very good sales during this festival, Gruosi-Scheufele said. My days during this festival are, in fact, a real whirlwind. 

 The company has come a long way since its modest origins in the Swiss Jura, almost 150 years ago. Founded by Louis-Ulysée Chopard in 1860, the company moved to Geneva in 1920. The business was continued by his descendants until 1963, when Paul-André Chopard sold the company to Karl Scheufele, a German watch-maker from the Black Forest and Carolines father.

Scheufele expanded the company, opening a manufacturing plant in Fleurier, in the Swiss Jura, in addition to operating plants in Pforzheim, Germany and Meyrin. His son, Karl-Friedrich, is co-president in charge of the companys watch-making operations.

 The business has branched out into luxury lines of perfumes and various accessories, including silk scarves, leather goods and writing instruments.

 What’s more, Chopard has nurtured relationships with such notables as Elton, Prince Charles and José Carreras. The company has contributed to charities founded by these individuals, producing special watches whose proceeds are used for donations to worthy causes.