- SIGNED JEWELERY -

Mauboussin, a glorious past from Art Deco to the Sultan of Brunei

Feature DIRECTED BY KYRA BRENZINGER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF 

Atoday, the Mauboussin house, well known by a large audience for its accessible creations, has nevertheless served the greats of this world thanks to its dazzling beginnings.

From 1827 to the Universal Exhibitions

The story goes back to 1827 with the creation of a jewelry workshop in Paris by Mr Rocher and taken over by Jean-Baptiste Noury. The latter very quickly achieved great success abroad, particularly in Latin America and Egypt with a rich clientele which opened up to the world of luxury. In 1873, faced with this success, he hired his young nephew, Georges Mauboussin. In 1878, they won a bronze medal at the Universal Exhibition of Paris, followed by a second prize at the Universal Exhibition of 1878. In 1883, at only 21 years old, Georges Mauboussin took charge of the business that 'he renames with his own name.

The Art Deco period: a new impetus

Particularly visionary, Georges Mauboussin decided to set up in 1923, rue de Choiseul in Paris, a store adjoining his office and workshops to receive his rich clientele while carrying out orders for tailor-made jewelry on site. He creates thematic exhibitions as in 1928 presenting two hundred and thirty-five luxurious creations with as centerpiece, the historic 24-carat emerald offered by Bonaparte to Joséphine. He continues with other exhibitions on the four precious stones (diamond, ruby, sapphire, emerald) which will make his reputation. During the famous Exhibition of Modern Decorative Arts in Paris in 1925, he exhibited many prestigious pieces such as an octagonal diamond of 64 carats and a Colombian emerald of more than 10 carats mounted in brooch, or a star sapphire of more than 86 carats. Vogue magazine spotted him on this occasion and described “his use of hard stones as ingenious and lively”. On the strength of his success, in 1925 he received the cross of the Legion of Honor. Georges Mauboussin presents his Art Deco pieces internationally and opens branches in Rio, Buenos Aires and London. His son, Pierre Mauboussin opened a showroom in New York, but had to close it quickly following the financial crisis of 1929. The company was saved by Marcel Goulet, cousin of Georges Mauboussin who gave his son Jean Goulet the reins of the company in 1942, while retaining the name of Mauboussin.

The 50s and 60s: from the Vendôme Committee to Haute Joaillerie

Member of the Vendôme Committee and the Colbert Committee (founded in 1954), the Mauboussin house sets up a Place Vendôme boutique. Jean Goulet is one of the great jewelers and contributes to the creation of Haute Joaillerie de France, a label aimed at promoting French quality internationally.  

Many magazines such as Vogue, L'Officiel or Air France refer to emblematic pieces of the style of the time, ranging from bird brooches to a floral theme, adorned with volutes. The very colorful creations with engraved or cabochon stones, in a Tutti Frutti spirit, become characteristic of the post-war era, a wind of frivolity and freedom desired by more active women.

The 80s: The success of the Nadia collection

Alain and Patrick, the two sons of Jean Goulet-Mauboussin bring their modern vision of jewelry by creating collections such as the Nadia model which becomes the emblematic and historic collection of the brand. Linking mother-of-pearl to diamond, the Nadia collection is named after the first letters of NAcre and DIAmant. The combination of two materials, one precious and the other natural, is launching a real trend in modern jewelry with clean lines.

The Sultan of Brunei and his lavish orders

The 80s were also the years of excess and the greats of this world called on the most important jewelers to create adornments and decorative objects to their measure. Thus, Mauboussin obtains orders from Prince Jefri Bolkiah of the Sultanate of Brunei, a small state located on the island of Borneo which is extremely rich for its hydrocarbons. Known as the “Prince playboy”, Jefri Bolkiah acquired during 10 years nearly eight personal planes and more than two thousand cars including Rolls-Royces, Aston Martins and Ferraris. In terms of jewelry and bespoke pieces, we can no longer count the number of watches paved with diamonds, stone busts bearing his effigy or sumptuous adornments for his three successive wives.

Unfortunately, with the various oil shocks, the Mauboussin house lost its main client in 1998 and a new impetus must be given to the brand. The company was bought in 2002 by the Swiss financier, Dominique Frémont, who entrusted the management to Alain Némarq wishing to democratize the brand to reach a large audience. The four-pointed Star, the rings from the Chance of love collection, in the shape of a clover, or Dream & Love, a triangular ring, translate immediately understandable and universal symbols. A new style and a new page is turning ...