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Tou two jewelers, Philippe and Laurence Ratinaud create contemporary jewels that are both precious and raw, integrating materials such as wood, enamel or porcelain. They have won prestigious international competitions: “De Beers Diamonds awards” in 1998 and “Tanzanite Fundation Awards” in 2007.

Alongside their own collections, this designer duo produces pieces for major French houses. "Living Heritage Company", the quality of their technique serves the finesse of their observations: the grain of wood, bark, twigs collected in the forest are evoked in their gold jewelry, associated with original gems and sometimes with the work of enamel.

The Ratinaud couple creates evocative jewels, imbued with their beautiful Limousin countryside and its stories of fairies and beliefs. Creativity full of humor and complicity, with that little extra soul that makes each of their jewels endearing.

Elsa Vanier went to visit them recently and shares their journey and their bond of more than thirty years.

Laurence and Philippe, you are both jewelers and have worked together since you met the great jeweler Poiray at the end of the 80s. How does your duo work? 

LR: On the design side, our creations, whether they are spontaneous or whether they respond to an order, are always the subject of an exchange between us. These exchanges are nourished by often contradictory ideas, they can be quite lively but they generally and fortunately lead to something concrete!

PR: Once the direction has been determined, Laurence puts the ideas into drawing and works on the volume. I then take charge of the construction of the object at the workbench.

Your installation in Limoges is much later than your professional beginnings. Can you tell us about your background?

LR: “Yes, Philippe studied at HBJO, now called Haute École de joaillerie, located rue du Louvre in Paris and I at the Saint-Amand-Montrond school, then we met at Poiray. 

Some time later, Philippe decided to set up on his own. Until then, the course is classic. But an opportunity brings us to the Philippines where we worked for Jewelmer, a company founded in the Philippines by a great Breton entrepreneur who had developed a pearl farm. I designed and developed several collections of pearl jewelry, including the fabulous gold pearl from the Philippines, as for Philippe, he managed a team of around forty jewelers. We had two wonderful years in Manila and we traveled a lot in Asia but could not imagine living our whole life there and eventually came back to France. In 1992, we therefore settled in Limoges, Philippe's birthplace, in the heart of green Limousin ...

 “Can we talk about your collaborations with fine jewelry houses? "

LR: Yes, but these collaborations are confidential and we cannot name names. These houses call on us for projects implementing exceptional know-how such as those required by PLCs, for example. We are particularly recognized for our expertise in enamelling on precious metals.

Precisely, tell us about “enamel”, since you are recognized as specialists in this matter which has recently come to the fore ...

LR: “when we moved to Limoges, we naturally turned to local know-how such as porcelain and enamel that can be applied to jewelry. As far as porcelain is concerned, we quickly joined the association “Esprit Porcelaine”, a very active club which brings together creators and craftsmen from Limoges. As for grand feu enamel on metal, I quickly developed a passion for this art which requires great dexterity in different techniques such as champlevé, cloisonné, painted enamel and plique-à-jour.

Nothing to do with lacquering or resins applied to jewelry to color them, enamel uses ancestral techniques, delicate, precious, and in return, very demanding.

Enamelling is an art of fire, made from powdered colored glass that is applied with a brush on a metal surface. This powder melts at around 800 °, becoming a more or less translucent vitreous material, the color of which will sometimes have nothing to do with the initial color. (See photo below). When the powder is suspended between 2 metal edges, the very delicate technique is called plique-à-jour and its translucent effect is incomparable. 

What are you working on at the moment and what are your plans?

PR: “We are developing a whole collection associating gold, silver, enamel and porcelain… The jewels evoke our memories of Asia as well as our walks in the neighboring nature. We are also continuing our collaborations with fine jewelry. They are enriching from all points of view, technical, professional while helping us to remain independent creators. "

In 2009, you received the “Living Heritage Company” label, what has that changed for you?

This label promotes know-how and creativity. After submitting a file, we spoke with experts and the State awarded us the EPV label which is brought into play every five years. It is the recognition of our work, of our approach to quality and creativity. This label creates a relationship of trust between labeled companies and reassures private customers who know this distinction.