Jean-Georges Raymond (1752-1830) - a jeweller, goldsmith, founder of the firm “Jean-Georges Rémond & Company”.
Born on July 27, 1752 in Hanau (Hanau) in the family of Protestants: a goldsmith master Johannes Rémond and Justina Catharina Kessler. In the second part of the XVIIIth century, German city Hanau was the center of golden jewellery, clocks and enamel painted snuffboxes manufecturing. The fact that a large quantity of Huguenot families of jewellers and watchmakers were forced to leave France accelerated the development of those crafts in Germany.
Mass Protestants’ emigration was induced by their persecution generated by the abolition of the Edict of Nantes on religious freedom in 1685 - more than 200 thousand Huguenots were forced to leave France.
Jean-Georges Raymond received his primary education in his native town. Later, similar to many of his compatriots, he perfected his skills in major European cities, such as Paris, Berlin or London. His works were in great demand and soon Jean-Georges became a participant of an elite group of European artists producing jewellery, clocks, musical and entertaining automata. This group was comprised of such masters as Roche Brothers (Rochat Frères), Frederick Leschot, Jaquet-Droz, and others.
At the age of thirty-one years, Jean-Georges Raymond moved to Geneve and on June 18, 1783 was registered as “a jeweller from Hanau". Being a foreigner, he filled a petition to the city authorities and paid the tax.
On December 22, 1783, Jean-Georges Raymond was officially admitted as goldsmith-jeweller after the submission of his oval gold snuffbox with painted enamel. The snuffbox was registered as a sample and received enthusiastic assessment - "excellently made".
At the same time, Raymond founded a company “Georges Rémond & Cie” and registered his first identification hallmark. It is interesting that in different years he stamped his products with different hallmarks: "GRC” under the crown with branches, "GRC” under the crown, "IGR & C". Jean-Georges Raymond produced snuffboxes with the movements of Jacquet-Droz and Leschot, with Piguet and Meylan clocks, with Jean-Louis Richter and Jean-Abraham Lissignol enamels. The works of his workshop always aroused admiration by the magnificence of decor and the superior performance technology.
There are very few facts known about the personal life of Jean-Georges Raymond: he married Elizabeth Bariyon, who came from a Protestant family, on November 22, 1784. They had two daughters: the elder Jeanne Anne Thérèse and Jeanne Marie Christiane. The elder daughter was married to Jacques Charles Colin - her father’s partner in the firm producing gold snuffboxes «Charles Colins Söhne» in Hanau in 1811. Husband of the younger daughter - Jean Chrétien Wunderly was a member of the city council of Hanau.
In 1792, Jean-Georges Raymond’s partners - Joseph Guidon, David Gide, Laurent Guisseling and Jean-Noël Lamy began to work off the record as “Guidon Remond Gide & Co”. They marked their products by the hallmark "GRG". The company was officially registered on January 1, 1796. During 1800-1801s, the company “Rémond Gide & Co” manufactured extremely bright snuffboxes with singing birds, and decorated them with pearls for the Chinese market.
Denis Blondet joined Joseph Guidon and David Gide and a new company was created in January 1801. It was named “Remond Lamy & Co” and used the hallmark “RL & C". It was working off the record. The company’s name was changed to “Jean Georges Rémond et Compagnie”. The company’s offices were opened in Geneve and Hanau. The partners were Jean-Georges Raymond, Jean-Noël Lamy, and Jean Boehm, permanently residing in Hanau, Denis Blonde, Laurent Gusseting, and Daniel Burton.
Jean-Georges Raymond, Jean-Noël Lamy, Laurent Gisseling. Pierre Mercier and Daniel Burton created one more company, known as “Remond Lamy Mercier & Co” in 1811.
The company’s “Rémond, Lamy & Mercier & Co” hallmark "IGRC" in a horizontal lozenge was officially registered in Geneve in accordance with Napoleon decree in 1806, and had been used until 1811.
The city capture by Napoleon troops in 1798, the endeavour of the authorities to introduce the French system of gold and silver objects’ identification and complicated trade situation in Europe during the Napoleonic Wars – all this influenced the jewellery production in Geneve. The jewellers opposed the innovations until December 1806 when their resistance was broken by the official Napoleon decree. French jewellers left Geneve in 1814 and a new procedure of identification was adopted in the city. A new city’s hallmark was implemented – a letter "G".
Jean-Georges Raymond companies’ jewellery manufacturing and trade were widely spread and had good reputation. The company employed about one hundred people in 1806. In 1812 - fifty employees were engaged in the workshop and twenty people worked at home. The products were exhibited in Paris and London and were sold in Germany, Russia, Turkey, India and China. There were some difficulties in business after 1812. It might be caused by the death of Raymond’s wife Elizabeth in 1810 and his partner in Hanau Zhan Bema in April 1811.
After 1820, Jean-Georges Raymond lived in his hometown of Hanau in his own house on Römergasse. He died on February 11, 1830.
Jean-Georges Raymond and his partners’ production of gold snuffboxes during the thirty-five year Genève’s period was extremely important. They were the first to use the painted images on a polished base, fine work on gold foil, transparent enamel over guilloche, engraving and edging made of pearls. His products are really the works of jewellery art. They are deservedly adorn the significant state and private collections.