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Meet Julia Roberts, Jewelry Designer

Julia Roberts is sitting on a cozy chocolate-colored sofa in a villa at West Hollywood’s Sunset Marquis two days before the Oscars, gazing affectionately at her newest project. “This is all me,” she says, pausing for a moment and then flashing her unmistakable megawatt grin to confirm that she is, in fact, only kidding.

The Oscar winner did, however, have a hand in the creation of what’s elegantly placed on a luxe tray in front of her: a three-piece Chopard high jewelry set comprising a necklace, earrings and oversized ring (all one of a kind) featuring emeralds, turquoise and rubellite gemstones. The star here — aside from the A-lister who signed on to co-design the collection — is an emerald. Specifically, Chopard’s ethically mined Insofu emerald, a 6,225-carat Zambian stone purchased in rough form by Chopard, from which the green stones have been cut.

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Insofu Emerald - Chopard
The 6,225-carat Insofu emerald, which was acquired by Chopard in 2018.

Caroline Scheufele, who designs all things Chopard, could’ve drawn up her own blueprints for it but instead turned to Roberts, who has been part of the family since 2021, first as the face of the Happy Sport and Happy Diamonds collections and then as a global ambassador and muse for the maison’s women’s luxury watch and jewelry collections. “In the beginning, I felt a bit like a fish out of water because I was the one walking in wearing a pair of jeans and slip-on Vans,” says Roberts of working with the brand. “But they’ve been great — really warm and welcoming. When Caroline asked me to come in on this collection, I was like, ‘Oh, does this mean I’m being promoted?’”

The actress — who is poised to reteam with Sam Esmail on Panic Carefully, her third project with the director — admits that she’s been approached with all sorts of offers over the years, but there are two aspects of Chopard’s business that resonate for her. “The family aspect of Chopard is very meaningful to me, as is how long they’ve been working on their sustainability practices. This is not an aspect of business that you find a lot, sustainability and responsibility,” says Roberts, who is also a longtime ambassador for Lancôme. “Having done this collection, they’ve really ruined me because now I just want to do it again. I had never really participated in an endeavor like this, and I found it all really magical, time-consuming and groovy.”

Chopard's Caroline Scheufele and Julia Roberts
Chopard’s Caroline Scheufele and Julia Roberts

Scheufele feels the same. She’s welcomed bold-faced names into the design lab before and says that infuses the process with passion and a creative spark. . She previously teamed with Julianne Moore, Marion Cotillard, Rihanna and Mariah Carey on various collections, and each arrived with their own distinct ideas. “I always design myself, and it’s nice to do it with somebody who is not from my world. It’s also nice just to see what celebrities like,” Scheufele explains. “For Mariah [Carey], it was butterflies. Rihanna showed up with a shoe and said she wanted the same colors from the shoe in a necklace. For Julia, she likes a lot of ethnic jewelry, so it has a bit of an edge, more like a vintage piece. She’s also passionate about turquoise.”

The design process with Roberts began eight months ago. When it was finalized, it was fast-tracked and finished in a quick six weeks. “What’s great about Julia is that she is exactly who you see in the movies,” says Scheufele. “She’s very spontaneous and wonderful. Whoever will have this unique piece, it will be special forever.” Made even more so by the fact that Roberts hand-picked the turquoise. “I did not have a lot of experience with these other gems, but turquoise was something that I wanted to see as part of it,” says Roberts. “It’s really unique and has such a beautiful color that comes out almost as different versions of itself. We all do in a way that I think is kind of extraordinary and I love it. Mixed in with all these incredibly sparkly things, I think it looks great.”

Chopard - High Jewelry Collection - Julia Roberts
Sketch of the three-piece Chopard x Julia Roberts high jewelry collection.

When it comes to styling around a statement piece, Roberts leans on her longtime and trusted glam squad including stylist Elizabeth Stewart, makeup artist Genevieve Herr and hairstylist Serge Normant. “I think I’m pragmatic,” explains Roberts. “The nice part about working for so long with the people that I get to work with is that we don’t plan it out, really, but we do sit around and exchange ideas about what would be great, or what would be something we haven’t done for a while, and it always comes together somehow. [Wearing high jewelry] you want it to be the feature or the frame of this exaltation. So, I do have a simple chic outfit that I hope will be dazzling with it.”

Later that day, Roberts wore the jewels with a Carolina Herrera dress for a Chopard dinner at Chateau Marmont attended by Scheufele, private clients and new EGOT winner Elton John. The singer clearly liked what Roberts and Scheufele came up with. During the duo’s toast, John stole a moment with the microphone: “She’ll be lucky if she leaves the dinner with that necklace on, with me sitting next to her. I’ve got my eyes on it.”

Chopard - High Jewelry Earrings
Chopard’s High Jewelry Earrings designed in collaboration with Julia Roberts

A version of this story first appeared in the March 14 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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