Frédéric Boucheron founded his firm in 1858 and with it, ushered in a new jewelry aesthetic for the 19th century. Before the French Revolution, jewelry design was fixated upon historic trends. Firstly, Napoleon III's Empress Eugénie de Montijo favored the gaudy fashion of Louis XVI's court dominated by fanciful bows and garlands. Secondly, archeological excavations of ancient empires in Italy and Egypt, along with the opening of the Suez Canel, stirred a lust for jeweled luxuries in the "antique" style. Boucheron broke convention by using the natural world as his greatest inspiration. This innovation manifested jewelry rooted in its own environment and specific to the France during the 19th century.
Boucheron soon gained popularity worldwide because of his unseen originality. Along with his forward thinking style, Boucheron's success must also be attributed to his exclusive use of the best and most-rare materials, from diamonds and sapphires to ivory, horn and steel. The priceless quality of his works awarded Boucheron with an elite clientele. His high society patrons included international figures such as Queen Isabella of Spain, the Tsar of Russia and Sarah Bernhardt. These customers were drawn to his ability to capture a simplistic natural form such as a thistle-head or a house-pet, such as this antique scent bottle in the form of a cat. Designed as a carved chalcedony cat with emerald eyes, a diamond collar and a silver bell, it is transformed into an elegant showpiece. Boucheron's creativity infused common objects with personality and a timeless appeal which persists to this day.
Judith Price, Masterpieces of Twentieth Century French Jewelry from American Collections, Running Press, Philadelphia, 2006, page 47
Boucheron, 130 Années de Creation et d'Emotion, Institut de France, Musée Jacquemart-Andre, Paris, 16 September - 21 October 1988, exhibition catalogue, no. 163