Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The First Important Woman Jeweller

(Boivin sapphire necklace at Kaboodle.com)

The great designer, Poiret, wasn't the only talented member of his family. His sisters also became important designers. One, Jeanne Poiret, became the first important woman jeweller.

Jeanne married the jeweller, Jules Rene Boivin, in 1893. Boivin, an expert engraver and jeweler, had founded his first jewellery workshop in Paris in 1890. He acquired more workshops after he married Jeanne, a talented designer who worked with him.

Jeanne actually took over the business when Boivin died in 1917 and continued the company's work and kept talented designers, such as Suzanne Belperron and Juliette Montard. The Boivin company's clients included artists such as Degas, socialites, and stars. They appreciated the Art Deco-style jewellery for which Boivin was famous and flocked to the prestigious shop on the Avenue de l'Opera. Rene Boivin loved flowers, especially orchids, so the jewellery included pieces with floral motifs. Marine life and mythical creatures also inspired the Boivins.

The Art Deco large, mechanistic bracelets are especially famous. Although the jewellery was never signed, it is apparently easy to recognise.

The Boivin's daughter took over the company after Jeanne died. It was sold to Asprey in 1991 and it is still a prestigious jewellery company.

1 comment:

Hels said...


that sapphire necklace is sooo elegant. No wonder the firm did well. I would wear it in a heartbeat even 100 years later.

My only problem, historically speaking, is regarding women who were the wives or daughters of very well known male jewellers. It must have been difficult to establish their own identity and their own professional reputation.

I know the female silversmiths very well. With one notable exception (Hester Bateman), it was assumed that the women were simply widows carrying on their husbands’ businesses and not talented silver artists themselves.