By Manon Crespi
Camille Parruitte, the CEO and creative director of the Parisian jewelry company Nouvel Heritage spent the first 18 years of her life in the same predominantly French neighborhood in Paris and attended Catholic schools. In my recent interview with her, she explains that her first real encounter with diversity came when she landed in Boston, Massachusetts to attend Northeastern University. Like most young people that age, Parruitte says it was a time of introspection, of contemplating her identity and her place in the world. “I was new to the states. Everything was new, everything was in English, it was a different way of life and a different culture. I thought about where I came from and how I was raised and realized that’s what set me apart.”
Parruitte’s family values growing up centered on what she refers to as the finer things in life: good food, beautiful art and quality time with family. “We would spend Sundays going to cafes and visiting museums,” she explains, adding, “It’s the French culture to appreciate these things. That’s probably why the museums have always been free on Sundays.” Parruitte attributes the depth of her love for French culture to her grandparents, particularly her grandmother. It was her grandmother who opened her eyes to the world of jewelry. Reflecting on her first encounter with jewelry, Parruitte says of her grandmother: “She had this little cabinet, and she would bring out her jewelry box. I would pick out a piece and she would tell me about it, why it was so special to her.”
Parruitte’s mother was the general director at Cartier for 15 years, and also has a passion for jewelry. She spent many of those years designing and creating jewelry on the side for her own pleasure and eventually left Cartier to purchase an existing jewelry workshop that she continues to run at Rue de La Paix in Paris. Parruitte remembers starting each summer with an assignment from her mother, telling me, “My mother required my sister and me to create a single piece of jewelry from sketch to completed piece, because she wanted us to understand the difficulty in creating jewelry,” adding, “Until 14 years, jewelry was all about creativity and design for me. After 18 years, I began to learn about the business side.”
Parruitte studied finance and entrepreneurship while at Northeastern, where she participated in a group project that challenged her to integrate what she was learning at college with how her family business operated. The eventual outcome of this project is what is now the Nouvel Heritage jewelry brand, which Parruitte launched in 2015. As the creative director of the brand, Parruitte works closely with the technical designers at her mother’s factory in Paris to produce beautiful, modern jewelry pieces that reflect her rich French heritage. In the Nouvel Heritage Lace collection, for example, the 18K rose gold Vendôme princess earrings set with diamonds (above) were inspired by Place Vendôme in Paris. This is the historical heart of French jewelry making, and it’s also the location of the Nouvel-Heritage workshop.
Parruitte says, “My grandmother always wore 10 bangles at a time, and she had a story for each one.” The gorgeous 18K rose gold Vendôme Claude bangle with pink sapphires and 18K rose gold Vendôme Claude bangle with spinels, shown above, can be worn separately or together. The bangles have gemstones set on the outside of the band so that they interlock to create a whole new design when worn together. I’m especially fond of the exquisitely chic 18K rose gold Vendôme Leon bracelet with diamonds, shown below. Parruitte says, “I don’t see jewelry as accessories. I see it as a symbol of love, a reminder of meaningful moments and people.” Click here for more stunning pieces from the Nouvel Heritage collection.