Magazine Humeur

A Walk Around Place Vendôme - Mauboussin

Publié le 22 octobre 2011 par Michelgutsatz

Me+frame Debra Healy poursuit sa promenade Place Vendôme et Rue de la Paix en nous proposant une analyse de Mauboussin. L'histoire de cette marque ancienne qu'elle revisite nous permet de comprendre son positionnement actuel (une marque de bijouterie grand public dotée d'une gamme de joaillerie): Mauboussin pendant son premier siècle d'existence copiait les styles dominants. Elle ne s'est dotée d'un style personnel que pendant une très courte période: 1925 - 1960. On comprend donc bien mieux les choix actuels - qui sont en quelque sorte un retour aux sources: la vulgarisation de la joaillerie...


Mauboussin traces it's history to 1827 to a Monsieur Rocher who was succeeded by his collaborator Monsieur Noury In 1869.  Georges Mauboussin, a nephew, joined the firm in 1898. The business became known as B. Noury, G. Mauboussin. They sold jewelry in the prevailing styles - which means they had no style of their own.

In 1925 Mauboussin exhibited in the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs where they won a Grand Prix. By this time they were developing a distinctive style of their own. Mauboussin attracted clients amongst wealthy Europeans, Indians prince, American millionaires, and Hollywood film stars.


Mauboussin bracelet, chalcedony, agate, rose quartz, mother of pearl and diamonds 1927

George Mauboussin's son Pierre Mauboussin understood the power of the silver screen. He bejeweled some of Hollywood's leading ladies. This was prescient: he required a credit for the jewelry to be assigned to the photograph.


Actress Clare Luce wears Mauboussin Jewelry left.  Her emerald  and diamond necklace right

In the fall of 1929 Mauboussin opened a new salon in New York city, as it turned out it was very inauspicious timing.The stock market crashed on October 29, 1929. The great depression followed, and business suffered. The Parisian firm was left with a large inventory in America, they were anxious to withdraw with minimum losses. Mauboussin reached an agreement with the American firm Trabert & Hoeffer which would assume the name Trabert & Hoeffer-Mauboussin.
Trabert & Hoeffer-Mauboussin produced some of the most dazzling American jewelry of the 1930's and 1940's. The associated trademark continued until the 1950's. Mauboussin went on to open a store on Place Vendôme in 1946.

Marlene+emwm Brac+marl

Marlene Dietrich's  Trabert & Hoeffer-Mauboussin emerald and diamond bracelet.

Maub1 Bird1960

Trabert & Hoeffer-Mauboussin   Bird Brooch,  signed Mauboussin Paris, 1968, bracelet, citrine amethyst   turquoise, gold, sapphires, rubies, emeralds, and diamonds set in yellow gold.   and diamonds. Mid 1930's

In 2002 Mauboussin was sold to the Swiss financier, Dominique Fremont.  He hired Alain Némarq as CEO. Michel Gutsatz wrote a very insightful article about Mauboussin's new direction here.

The  Mauboussin jewelry today is no longer even made in France according to Alain Némarq in a recent article entitled "Mauboussin le joaillier Iconoclaste" in the magazine 'Dreams:joaillerie,Été 2011': it is made in China. The jewelry can no longer claim "Mauboussin whose creations bear the charm and refinement of Parisian art". One of the distiguishing features of this brand was its "French-ness".  The recent styles are commercial, and look like the gem-set silver jewelry on offer in mass market retailers in America.  The TV shopping channel QVC also uses the name "Rose de France" for the pale-pinkish heat-treated amethyst seen in the ring on the right. Do you think the designs of Mauboussin's jewelry and watches reflect the brands essence and heritage?


Mauboussin window Place Vendôme Paris.  Pendant and rings set with blue topaz, amethyst, citrine, and pale amethyst ( Rose de France) set in 18k white gold.


"Avoid sharp points and edges in jewelry", this was the first rule I was taught in jewelry design class. This necklace reminds me of a ninja throwing star.


Tokyo French jeweler's diamond giveaway draws long lines
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
"Lines curled around for blocks in Tokyo's Ginza district Monday for 5,000 tiny but free diamonds French jeweler Mauboussin was giving away in an attention-getting drive.
'The value of a diamond doesn't go down. And you never get tired of a diamond,' said Noriko Suzumaru, a 39-year-old housewife who jumped on a train from Kawasaki to stand in line after learning about the giveaway.
Suzumaru was among a crowd of bargain-hunters lined up for the 0.1 carat diamonds Mauboussin was offering to its first 5,000 customers. The gems are valued at about ¥5,000.
Mauboussin, founded 181 years ago in France, is encouraging people to get their free diamond made into rings and pendants at its store. But that will come at a cost, starting at about ¥50,000.
Mauboussin's flagship Japan store opened in Ginza in February.
But the store had often been empty because its name, though associated with international celebrities, isn't widely recognized among Japanese.
Many still don't even know how to correctly pronounce the name of the store." 
From the Associated Press

Several months ago I was contacted by Marguerite de Cherval the author of two books about Mauboussin. She had been hired to produce an exhibition tentatively titled "Mauboussin 100 Years of Service to Women". She wanted to find out where the beautiful vintage Mauboussin Jewelry was that I had photographed for my books "Hollywood Jewels", and "American Jewelry : Glamour and Tradition". 
Could a proposed Mauboussin exhibition be a first step in an effort to reconnect and re-evaluate their own heritage, and design capital?
I have always thought a brand should fulfill a set of promises. One expects it to deliver unique identifiable products that are differentiated. Consumers also want to be in the club of the cogniscenti with a well communicated story of the brand's origins and identity. When a brand is healthy it is evocative and informative communicating its essences though it products and services.  It accumulates goodwill and symbolic value that evokes an emotional response and builds consumer loyalty.
In Mauboussin's  radical departure from its heritage and design history I feel that few of these promises are delivered.

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