Jewellery Designers from the Past




Auguste: French jeweller, goldsmith and important engraver during the Louis XVI period. He created the Louis XVI crown of the coronation in 1774. After the French revolution, he tried to link the present with the past, but couldn’t find qualified and skilful craftsmen. Consequently, he adopted his classical style with that of the Empire. He received a golden medal at the Exhibition in 1802. Unfortunately, he would ultimately go bankrupt.


Bapst:  Jewellery Company founded in 1725 in Paris by Jean-Melchior Bapst. Leading French Court jeweller during the Ancien Régime. George-Frederic Bapst was named privileged goldsmith and jeweller of the king in 1752. He maintained his traditional style during the New Empire and the Restoration. The Empress Eugenie ordered many jewels from Bapst. After Alfred Bapst’s death, his son, Germain, would work together with Lucien Falize from 1880 to 1892. The jeweller closed his company in 1930. 

Biennais: Biennais was introduced at the Royal Court of the New Empire in France, by manufacturing traveller bags for the officers. Afterwards, as goldsmith and jeweller he would make many ceremonial swords for the Emperor Napoleon Bonapart. Cahier took the Biennais funds over in 1819 and continued in the same style as his predecessor. He would be named goldsmith of the French king during the Restoration. 

Boivin René (1864-1917): René Boivin founded his jewellery company in 1890 in France. He produced jewellery by following the traditional style of the end of 19th century. In 1910 he integrated the abstract and impressionist style in his creations. René Boivin died in 1917. His wife, Jeanne, took over the business. Thanks to the immense creativity of Jeanne Boivin, the jewellery firm would be very successful during the 1930’s and 1940’s. The company was ultimately taken over by the English jeweller Asprey.


Castellani Fortunato Pio (1794-1865): Founder of the leading Castellani jewellery company in 1814 in Italy. His first jewels would follow the traditional style of fashion. Influenced by his friend the archaeologist Michelangelo Caetani, he was fascinated by the Etruscan excavations of jewels. He would restore and categorise the Campana Collection and later imitate the jewels of the collection. His style changed again by mixing different ancient styles and adding personal accents into his jewellery. His sons, Alessandro and Augusto, continued the father’s tradition by creating jewels of Byzantine style.

Cellini Benvenuto (1500-1571): Famous sculptor and goldsmith who worked in Rome under the protection of the Pope Clement VII until 1540. Cellini worked in order of the French Royal Court of François I until 1545. Afterwards, he returned to Firenze, where he worked for Cosimo de Medicis. Thanks to his written information on goldsmith's art, much of his works were known, but unfortunately probably no art - jewellery pieces have survived history. 

Chaise Pierre-Jules (1807-1870):  Modestly, Jules Chaise began a workshop of jewellery. Known for his craftsmanship, some jewellers, like Frederic Boucheron, debuted at his workshop. His jewels, with naturalistic inspiration and raised with enamel, had a great success during the Louis-Philippe period in France. He died in a car accident in 1870.


Falize Alexis (1811-1898):  After his traineeship at the jewellery company Mellerio dits Meller, Alexis Falize founded his workshop in 1838. He was the first jeweller who became sensitive to the naturalism in Japanese art. His jewels were especially inspired by Persian, Indian and Japanese art. Master in various enamelling techniques, he preferred to remain anonymous by exhibiting his jewellery at other famous jewellery houses. In 1871, Falize Père and Fils was founded, when Alexis and his son Lucien Falize, joined forces.

Falize Lucien (1839-1897): Just like his father, Lucien was especially interested in Japanese enamel applied to oval or rectangular plates. Later he joined Bapst from 1880 to 1892. He would follow the Art Nouveau style with great success. Later, he would be inspired by the Renaissance motifs. His sons, Andre, Jean and Pierre succeeded him and changed the name to Falize Frères in 1897. The house closed in 1936. 

Fannières Brothers - Auguste (1819-1901) and Joseph (1820-1897):  Goldsmith’s art was their specialisation. Many orders of other companies like Christofle, Froment-Meurice would make them famous. Their jewels, with Renaissance inspiration by ‘Diane de Poitiers’, would characterise their jewellery. The son of Joseph Fannières, Germain would continue the family tradition until 1911. 

Fontenay Prosper-Eugène (1823-1887): Initially, his jewellery was influenced by the archaeological Greek, Etruscan and Roman style, thanks to the Campana collection acquired by Napoleon III and exposed in the Louvre. Following the French expedition in China, many jades of the Summer Palace were stolen and exported to France. Eugène Fontenay, inspired by the Chinese art, used re-cut jades in his jewels. His book ‘Les bijoux anciens et modernes’, written in 1887, shows his professionalism and his passion for archaeological jewels. 

Fouquet Alphonse (1828-1911):  First inspired by nature and the Renaissance, would integrate dragon, lizard and sirens motifs into his jewellery.
Fouquet Georges (1862-1957):  Son of Alphonse, Georges would specialise in the Art Nouveau style. In 1901, he asked the artist Alphonse Mucha to design his jewellery shop in the style of his Art Nouveau jewels. His jewellery would differ from those of René Lalique, by their symmetrical shape and their moderated imagination. Later, his son adopted the Art Deco style and stopped his activities in 1960.

François-Desiré Froment-Meurice (1802-1855):  Founded in 1774 by François Froment, the family store was taken over by his son,François-Desiré. After the death of his father, he would be associated with his father-in-law, Pierre Meurice. Inspired by the Gothic and Renaissance style, Froment-Meurice was to be very successful between 1830 and 1840. They triumphed during the 1851 International Exhibition in London. His son, Emile continued the business until 1907.


Gaillard Lucien (1861-1933):  Founded in 1811, Lucien Gaillard integrated the family business in 1878. He is especially interested in the Japanese techniques. He recruited engravers and enamellers from Tokyo. Inspired by his friend René Lalique, he applied the Art Nouveau techniques in his jewellery’s art. His jewellery is characterised as a typical French Art Nouveau style, but using unknown Japanese goldsmith techniques.

Gautrait Léopold:  As Engraver, he will first work for Leon Gariod. Inspired by the Art Nouveau of René Lalique and using the nature and the female curves as inspiration source, he created a typical French style with translucent enamel. In 1905, Léopold Gautrait sold his models to a German jeweller in Pforzheim.

Guiliano Carlo (1831-1895):  Pupil of Castellani, he settled in London where he created jewels with Renaissance, Etruscan, Greek, Eastern and Egyptian inspiration. His jewels would have a great success with the large jewellery houses. In 1874, he opened his own shop.  His sons, Carlo and Arthur, would follow the tradition of their father, by making Renaissance inspired jewellery. The house disappeared in 1914.


Lalique René Jules (1860-1945):  Master of the French Art Nouveau style, René Jules Lalique began his career as designer for companies as Cartier and Boucheron. In the beginning, he created jewellery in the neo-rococo style, like birds and flowers. In 1885, Lalique took the workshop over from Jules Destapes and settled as jeweller. After having created some jewels for Sarah Bernhardt, he would have great success for his creations at the Parisian Show in 1894 and the 1900 International Exhibition in Paris. By introducing nature and female curves and body shapes in a turbulent way, he used non-conventional materials. He harmonised perfectly movement and colour, by using various enamels to lighten the jewellery piece. His interest in enamels, furniture, sculptures, glass and ceramics developed at the end of his career.


Marchand Pierre-Edouard (1791-1867):  In 1835, Edouard Marchand settled in Paris as jeweller. Unknown before, he became the pioneer of the ‘cuir roulé’. This is a goldsmith technique, which gives more volume and movement to gold. This technique would be very fashionable from 1840. Later Edouard Marchand was also inspired by the decorations of the Algerian knots.  

Massin Oscar (1829-1895): Master in imitating nature in jewellery pieces. He accentuated the movement and lightness of jewellery with a new mounting technique. He founded his jewellery firm in 1863, after working with several others jewellers. He improved the labour of metal, by introducing the ‘illusory mounting’ and adopting the ‘pampille’ and ‘trembling’ effects into jewellery. After his success at the 1867 International Exhibition, he founded the Professional Designers School in Paris. He decided to stop his activities to create jewellery in 1892. He is seen as one the mentors of the 19th century jewellery, due to his creativity and his technical innovations.


Obry Hubert (1808-1853): Fascinated by nature when he went hunting with his father, he observed with attention the anatomy of game and other animals of the forest. As engraver he introduced animal motifs in jewellery. These jewels were often given as presents during hunting occasions.

Odiot: Old goldsmith and jeweller before the French revolution. Odiot tried to harmonise the Ancien Régime style with the new Napoleonic style. He was introduced as goldsmith at the French Imperial Court.


Phillips Robert (1810-1881): Settled in London and inspired by Castellani, he would follow the archaeological style with success. After the excavations of Sir Austen Henry Layard in Nineveh, he became inspired by Assyrian art. His coral jewellery, coming from the south of Italy, would become extremely fashionable. After his death, his son Alfred Philips took over the business. In 1927 the Jewellery company closed its doors. 

Pierret Ernesto (1824-1870): From French origin but settled in Italy, he was inspired by the Castellani style. He often used coins and intaglios, which characterise his jewellery.

Pouget: Pouget was a leading Parisian jeweller during the Ancien Régime. During the French Restoration, Pouget et Fils would reappear. His famous book on rococo jewellery and precious gemstones, would become one of the best testimonies of 18th century jewellery.


Schlumberger Jean (1907-1987):  From French origin, the jeweller would be very successful in the United States by manufacturing innovating jewels for the designer Elsa Schiaparelli. Stars, like Lauren Bacall and Elisabeth Taylor, would encourage him. Inspired by fauna, submarine flora and the Renaissance, he created extremely original jewels. In the 1950’s, when the jeweller, Tiffany & Co, asked him to work at the head of their independent design department, his creations knew a great success. Clients as the Duchess of Windsor, Babe Paley, Greta Garbo, Gloria Vanderbilt or Jacqueline Kennedy were keen on his creative designs. Jacky Kennedy even wore Schlumberger’s bracelets so often that they were called “Jackie’s bracelets” by the press.

Sterlé Pierre (1905-1978):  After his traineeship at his uncle’s jewellery store, he founded his first store in 1934. His jewellery knew great success during the 1940’s and 1950’s, when he worked gold in a tormented manner. He harmonized the colour of precious gemstones with the movement of the worked metals. His knitted gold knitted in various textures would become famous. His efforts of innovation and technical improvements were rewarded by the prize of the De Beers Diamond Corporation. 


Vever Henri (1854-1941): In Metz - France, Pierre Vever founded the Vever company in 1821. Only in 1870 did the jeweller move to Paris. Especially Paul and Henri Vever contributed to the success of the company by introducing the Art Nouveau style, with a perfect craftsmanship of the enamel and gold work techniques. Henri Vever joined Eugène Grasset, another pioneer of the French Art Nouveau. During the 1900 International Exhibition in Paris they won the prize for originality and innovation of their Art Nouveau and Renaissance inspired jewels. 


Wièse Jules (1818-1890): After his collaboration with the French jeweller Froment-Meurice, Jules Wièse was inspired by the Medieval and Gothic styles. His son, Louis Wièse (1852-1923) succeeded him in 1880 and followed his father’s tradition. Later he would become inspired by the Art Nouveau style.  

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