Julianne Moore at the Cannes Film Festival © C Fabrice Dall’Anese/Chopard
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Emeralds have become something of a signature for the actress Julianne Moore. She paired Fred Leighton Art Deco tassel earrings with a black strapless couture Chanel dress to the Golden Globes in 2012. For the 75th Academy Awards in 2003, she wore emerald pendant earrings by Boucheron with an Yves Saint Laurent gown.

But the emeralds Moore chose to wear on the Cannes red carpet this week were different. The clarity: still brilliant. The size: still several carats. These stones, though, are among the first sustainable, ecological and humanely mined emeralds produced by Chopard, the Swiss luxury house that debuted its ethical jewel programme four years ago.

The move into sustainability came about after a meeting between Chopard creative director and co-president Caroline Scheufele and Livia Firth. The eco campaigner (and Colin Firth’s wife) asked Scheufele to respond to a “green carpet challenge” and put ethically produced jewellery in the public arena. Scheufele has since worked to source Fairmined gold and ethically sourced diamonds and opals. This year’s initiative is focused on coloured stones, and the emerald collection was unveiled on the red carpet in Cannes this week.

Caroline Scheufele and Julianne Moore © C Fabrice Dall’Anese/Chopard

“The challenge is about mining standards — and how the whole chain, from A to Z, must be transparent,” says Scheufele. “It’s about how the gemstones are mined. In this case it’s Zambia that produces the emerald. It’s about how they are cut. And how they are traded. So we can really follow the stones from the mine to the red carpet — in this case on Julianne’s ears.”

Moore seemed a natural fit for Chopard’s new gems, although the company points out she is “a friend of the house” rather than a paid ambassador. The star of Rebecca Miller’s upcoming Maggie’s Plan has a powerful influence on the red carpet. Last year, she was made “godmother” of the Chopard Trophy, created to award the actors Lola Kirke and Jack O’Connell as upcoming cinematic talents. She returned this year to debut the stones, pairing 11-carat pear-shaped emerald earrings set with marquise-cut diamonds and a 10.3 carat ring with a custom Givenchy gown. From New York, Moore explained her role as the brand’s green goddess . . .

When did your involvement with Chopard begin?

Julianne Moore: “I was lucky enough to present the Chopard Trophy last year. Every year they ask an established actor to present an award to a young up-and-coming actress — and then a mutual friend, Livia Firth, introduced me to Caroline [Scheufele]. They’re the first jewellery company to have taken this idea of sustainable luxury this far: they’re pioneers. They started with Fairmined gold and moved on to diamonds and now coloured stones. I’m a human being, who cares about the world we live in, and wants to do the right thing. And I’m really fortunate to wear this jewellery on the red carpet.”

How far can the red carpet change people’s perceptions?

“The red carpet is essentially entertainment. We wear beautiful gowns and gorgeous jewellery and people get to watch us and it’s fun to see it all. What we do on the red carpet is not particularly real, there’s an element of fantasy to it, but you are able to bring awareness with fashion.

“Luxury is not a need, it’s a desire, and to be able to show how this can be done in an ethical and moral fashion so that we benefit the most number of people is great. Everyone wants to feel good about what they wear; the way we want to feel good about what we eat, what we put on our bodies and what we represent. To let the consumer know they do have a choice, that they can choose something that has been sustainably sourced, has been really fantastic.”

What connection do you have with the Cannes Film Festival?

“I have a Palme d’Or that says ‘Made by Chopard’, that was made with Fairmined gold, that I won the year before last. It’s a great, historic festival that celebrates film and filmmakers. To be there and be a part of it and a part of the excitement, to see wonderful movies and to participate in the glamorous atmosphere, it’s a fun experience.”

What makes jewellery still so appealing today?

“It’s always an emotional purchase. You give someone an engagement ring, a wedding ring, something on your anniversary, for a birthday, a child’s 18th. Something they’ll keep for the rest of their lives. So to be able to also feel good about what that product is, how it has been sourced and maintained, adds to its value tremendously.

“I keep everything I’ve ever had, I haven’t gotten rid of anything — my wedding ring and engagement ring and some diamond drop earrings that my husband gave me when we were first together. Everything that I have and that I wear has meaning attached to it. It’s one of the reasons I love jewellery. You imbue it with personal meaning, and you keep it.”

18ct Fairmined gold, emerald and marquise-cut diamond earrings, Chopard Green Carpet Collection, POA

Are you still excited by fashion?

“I love fashion and am always interested in what’s happening. I’m fascinated to see where designers go and what they’ll produce. What’s amazing now is the speed at which the change is happening, that’s very, very new.”

Many actors have strayed beyond film and TV, do you plan to do the same?

“I don’t think that’s something I’m particularly interested in. I do write children’s books, I have this series called Freckleface Strawberry and I’ve done that for a while. I do that because I enjoy it. But in terms of doing something that has an economic component, no, not really. It has been a privilege to do this partnership with Chopard, it’s wonderful to be able to represent this kind of sustainability in the luxury market.”

Photographs: C Fabrice Dall’Anese/Chopard

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