New stories about masters of jewellery are published in the section “Authors”
We continue to supplement the section “Authors”. Today we present life-stories of two artisans, who were the founders of famous jewellery firms. Those masters created items that were on the juncture of arts and crafts, jewellery and fine mechanics.
The names of those artisans are Jean-George Raymond and Karl Griesbaum. Their life-stories were closely connected with the developments in social and political life of Europe during the latest centuries.
Jean Raymond was born in a Protestant family that was forced to leave France during the persecution of the Huguenots. The family settled in German town Hanau. In the second half of the XVIII century Hanau became the center of the production of jewellery, watches and enamel snuffboxes with painted enamel.
Karl Griesbaum was born in German town Schwarzwald. He started a family business and in 1905 he founded a family workshop. The firm successfully passed through two world wars.
Those talented masters created miniature boxes and snuffboxes that witnessed stormy upheavals, wars, changing of eras, generations and styles. Nevertheless, even today in the age of new technologies and innovative materials, those items continue to delight us by their grace, refinement of shape, decoration and artisanship.
The history of a snuffbox appearance is also very intriguing. Snuffboxes were iconic accessories of the past and were very popular in Europe from the end of the XVIIth up to the end of the XIXth century. Since creation, they were used not only to store snuff, but also to demonstrate the owner's status. This explains the wealth of decor and huge diversity of the boxes.
It was French scientist and diplomat Jean Nicot (1530-1600) who introduced the habit to snuff tobacco in 1560. Tobacco that he brought to France from Spain got the name "Nicotiana" in his honor. The Queen Mother Catherine de Medici (1519 - 1589) and the Grand Master of the Malta Order Jean Parisot de la Valette (1495 -1568) were regular tobacco buyers. They spread a new trend among the French nobility and the Order Brotherhood.
There is a curious historical parallel, associated with one of the artisans. The reign of Catherine de Medici was noted by tough policy towards Protestants (Huguenots). The same policy continued during the reign of Louis XIV. Thus, as a result of the Edict of Nantes abolition concerning the religious freedom in 1685, more than 200 thousand of Huguenots were forced to leave France. Many of them were from the families of watchmakers and jewellers, whose descendants produced and sold snuffboxes to the representatives of European nobility, including their pursuers. The jeweller Jean-Georges Raymond, the son of a Huguenot and goldsmith Johann Raymond was one these descendants.
Biographies of artists and other interesting historical details, are in the section"Authors"