2018/19 de Boulle Magazine

“I’ve always been attracted to color, and I think that’s from the markets I saw growing up.” —Karen Boulle

amoeba-like bit of rare Persian tur- quoise; and emerald beads cascade into an elegant chandelier earring. Much of her inspiration springs from her childhood living in the farthest corners of the world with her sophisticated parents. “We lived in Malaysia, and from there we went down to Singapore … then Hong Kong … then Borneo … and then to Baghdad,” Karen says. Her family went wherever her father was stationed — a major for the Gur- khas, the British brigade of Nepalese soldiers that was founded in the early 1800s by the British Imperial Empire — before joining Great Britain’s embassy in Iraq as a military attaché. “I’ve always been attracted to color,” she says. “And I think that’s from the markets I saw growing up. The Gur- kha women had these amazing colored bangles. And when my father would go to Kathmandu, he would bring back beautiful little boxes with turquoise and coral. “In Baghdad, we would go into the desert to visit the ancient cities. I think we were very lucky because some of those places have now been totally destroyed. They’re gone. It was so open then; people today will never get to experience it like we did.”

The inspiration doesn’t end there. “When I was little, the only television in, say, Singapore or Malaysia were Chinese soap operas,” she says. “I was looking at a pair of my drop earrings the other day, and I thought, ‘Wow. I bet you that’s where some of the drama and the chandelier earring ideas came from.” While living in the Middle East, there were family excursions to Lebanon, and she remembers watching her parent’s custom-design clothing for formal eve- nings and state functions at the embas- sy. Karen’s father was born in Malay- sia, an early setting for adventure. When we went to Malaysia with the Gurkhas on the weekends, we would go off into the jungle and go trekking and come across tapirs and wild ele- phants. I still have a passion for animals.” With her husband, Denis (whom she met in London when she was in her early 20s), Karen travels to Switzer- land on the hunt for the most precious stones. For instance, a recent acquisi- tion in Basel was an enormous chunk of rare Persian turquoise from Arizona’s now-depleted Sleeping Beauty mine, which she will store away until just the right inspiration hits.

From Left to right Signataire Bangles with our de Boulle hallmark in diamonds in 18K white, yellow and rose gold. Signataire Earrings with our de Boulle hallmark with diamonds in 18K white gold. Sleeping Beauty Turquoise Drop Earrings with diamonds. Signataire Ring with our de Boulle Hallmark in diamonds in 18K yellow gold. Opulence Earrings with opals and diamonds in 18K white gold. Lariat Toggle Necklace with rose-cut and brilliant diamonds in 18K yellow gold.

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