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Thief And Heist Partner With Baron & Baron On "The Codebreaker's" Packaging System

by Chloe Gordon on 02/08/2022 | 4 Minute Read

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The Background: Challenging the status quo

Thief and Heist is a modern jewelry design house, founded by Francesca Amfitheatrof (who also serves as artistic director for Louis Vuitton jewelry), that unites luxury artistry with a modern mindset, to create irreverent collections that reinvent the rules of fine jewelry. Self-described as “a band of Robin Hoods on a mission”, Thief and Heist is led by a rigorous ethos of inclusion and environmental responsibility—adhering to these unwavering ethics in their own organization, and aligning with partners who do the same. The label extends this commitment by donating a portion of proceeds to The Plastic Bank, which recycles plastic into currency.

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Dedicated to being a design house that moves culture meaningfully forward, Francesca approached Baron & Baron to help create the packaging for her new take on the charm bracelet: “The Codebreaker”. Specifically, packaging that ignores all the conventional trappings of fine jewelry, in favor of something smarter; less precious and more playful; something uncompromising where sustainability is concerned.

Creating the Codebreaker: In the words of Thief & Heist founder Francesca Amfitheatrof

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“Every single jewelry company I have worked for over the years has repeatedly and incessantly given me the brief to design charm bracelets. Honestly, this was my most dreaded brief so I decided to create a 21st century, modern interpretation of the old fashioned charm bracelet. Transforming it into a unisex design and contemporary expression of identity and meaning. Goodbye to the traditional dangly charms and hello Codebreaker!

The bracelet we’ve created is, above all, guided by quality and performance. Not one single element is bought off the shelf or mass produced. Every aspect has been designed to be of the best quality and weight. The hinge and double click clasp are of the standard you find in high jewelry. The clasp has a double click mechanism that is seamless, while adding that extra security to the fastening of the bracelet. The engineering lock system of the brix is unique and patent pending.”

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The Packaging Approach: A system of rigor and refinement

The uniquely customizable design of the Codebreaker bracelet offered an opportunity to create a system; encompassing both the bracelet itself and the brix (the brand’s moniker for its version of snap-in charms). In both, the Baron & Baron team sought to innovate solutions that ran against the heavy, superfluous nature of traditional jewelry packaging—prioritizing pared back, lightweight design concepts that asserted a more sustainable and less self-serious point of view. In doing so, the protection of the jewelry inside remained essential, offering a unique challenge in form and function.

The final components of the packaging system include a paper bracelet drawer and sleeve; custom molded bamboo paper clamshells for the brix and the stylus (used to add and remove the brix); and a recycled denim bracelet bag—all clean white with very minimal branding.

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The Materials

Almost all the packaging is made from premium quality molded fiber; utilizing bamboo and bagasse (sugarcane waste) in combination with industry-leading and zero net carbon manufacturing.

Not only are the plant fibers environmentally-safe, they are also highly pliable, allowing for custom molds that can securely hold the objects within. The two differing fiber lengths of bamboo and bagasse provide more flexibility than other competing materials without compromising tensile strength. In fact; the long length of the bamboo fibers give bamboo plants a stronger tensile strength than steel—making them the perfect material to use as protective packaging.

Notably, the whites across the packaging system do not match; because no dyes or bleach are used in the production of the plant fiber and recycled paper pieces. This fact only serves to enhance the brand’s commitment to authenticity and individuality—and is celebrated as part of the packaging’s chic, modern appeal.

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Features and Functionality

The packaging created by Baron & Baron serves as a direct reflection of Thief and Heist’s jewelry design philosophy: Approach one object at a time, and reconstruct it with entirely new engineering.

This ethos is reflected in the clamshell created to hold the individual Brix. Shaped as a rectangular hangtag with a molded polyhedral pyramid at one end containing the Brix, the team opted to include a clasp-and-ball keychain at one end, such that more than one of these collectible, giftable items could be strung together in a set.

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A second molded clamshell was created to hold the miniature stylus that is used to pop the Brix in and out of the Codebreaker bracelet. Not only do these pieces hold the individual items in place; the molded bamboo and bagasse paper allows for breathability and creates an ideal environment for preventing the items inside from tarnishing.

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To prevent additional waste, instructions for changing the bracelet Brix were not included as a separate piece. Instead, a QR code was created for outer packaging which consumers can scan to find step by step instructions.

The Message

If packaging is a statement on what’s within, the message of the Codebreaker packaging is this: Every action has its own utmost implication. Quality and necessity are the guides of good design. And aesthetic beauty is nothing without an ethos.

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