The Royal Jewellers S02 ep11 : Mauboussin Jewellery [Paris]
Interview with Patrick Mauboussin
In 1827, Mr Rocher started the jewellery designs behind Mauboussin. The universal exhibitions of Vienna and then Paris contributed greatly to the brand’s growing success. The great exhibition of Decorative Arts gave recognition to Mauboussin’s know-how. Throughout the 20th century, Mauboussin’s jewellery design went hand in hand, and even sometimes preceded, aesthetic trends and delighted jewellery lovers such as Marlene Dietrich. Mauboussin has long been known for its brilliant use of colorful stones—in 1939 Charlie Chaplin bought his wife, Paulette Goddard, a dazzling gold bracelet with floral motifs in cabochon emeralds and diamonds to console her for not getting the role of Scarlett in Gone with the Wind—and the current collection continues that tradition.
KM - What is Mauboussin?
PM - It is a jeweller in Place Vendome, in Paris. And it was born in 1827 and it’s still in the same
family, and for the time being, I am very proud to represent the 6th generation of jewellers.
PM - Mauboussin in the entomology seems to be "several" "nice" "signatures" - "Mau" "bous"
"sin", in old French .
PM - It starts naturally as an artisan, and after with a change of course of great customers from
the aristocracy and after the Royal family, we worked with them. The real strategy started with
Jean Mauboussin, and that was in the early 20’s, and that was in the Art Deco period.
PM - Do you know you have some international exhibitions, just like The Art Decorative Vision.
A lot of foreigners came to Paris. Paris was a very nice capital in terms of Art and we received first
prize in this type of exhibition. So his workmanship and creation were recognised and mainly,
which is something important, in the United States.
PM - Mauboussin was in terms of creation very different from Vever or Lalique or even Fouquet
and Mauboussin was recognised for their mixture and use of colours and coloured stones. It was
one of the first to use coloured stones mixed with diamonds.
PM - The art nouveau period was the flower and the vegetable period [of decoration and
KM - Flower or vegetable period?
PM - Yeah, exactly. After the Art Nouveau period of course it was much more structured, more I
would say like architecture, with a mix of different materials, important creators were using
traditional diamonds, emeralds or certain type of workmanship – Mauboussin wants to be different.
PM - Mauboussin was certainly one of the first, and I think before Cartier, to use what they call
"Tutti Frutti". That is to use the engraved stones that came from India, and just to mix all together
like more or less some rough stones just to make a decorative floral piece.
PM - The most creative and strongest part of Mauboussin’s history was during the Art Deco
period. You were free just to use different materials, to use different colours, to mix all together.
PM - One of the most important period, I would say was the Indian period with the Maharaja of
Indore. I remember when my father told me about that it was more than only business I would say.
The Maharaja loved to talk to my father about spirituality, about religion out of this world. My
father spent sometimes about 3 months in Indore.
PM - I had a great meeting one day that 1986 with the Brunei family and the Sultan of Brunei. I
now know him very, very well. During the 15 years that I spent with him, only in terms of creation,
he gave me the extraordinary chance to realise and to push me as he was a king to "surprise me", to
do something more. In terms of automatons – mixtures of technology and the art and I just choose
one territory which is the French "Art de Vive" also had the chance during the last 5 years to
realise his residence in the Place Vendome with just one word, to say "OK Patrick this is the
budget and delay" and in terms of what he wants: "I’d like a little classical, Patrick" and that’s it.
KM - Oh, you mean to tell me, he actually charged you with the responsibility of building his
PM - Totally.
KM - Why are you doing this?
PM - I definitely didn’t want to join the company. I was more interested in graphic arts and I
love it, l really love and after I was selling to some advertising companies at the times, doing
graphic arts or little graphic jobs.
KM - Yes
PM - One time my father, when I was ending my studies, he was very sure "O.K. you have
finished your thing, you have a little job that is OK, and now you get some holidays before joining
it again. Why don’t you try a training course in what you like in the workshop? First you would
start with some metals - not precious metals at all, and after if it is going well, you will use silver
and at last, last, last, it should be a drop of gold – nothing else". I said yes because I thought it
would be very interesting. After I start creating with my hands, some rings or brooches or just to
learn and I loved it.
PM - What I discovered was the third dimension, which was for me ,much more important,
because you know when you realise a jewel or a ring or something, it is like sculpture – it has
volume and space and how you build it. It is between sculpture and architecture.
KM - Yes.
PM - It is a mixture of the two things and I discovered it. I discovered that from nothing, from a
piece of metal like that, with your hand and with a wish that you have, you can hammer it
perfectly or create something, and from nothing, you create something which has a proper life.
PM - I was and am still curious of any metal used. Anything. Just to mix and how to do
something. I didn’t know it should be a jewel or something. Just the wish to create or to do
something different. But after when you have the chance to work a little bit with different colours
of gold and this is very, very interesting because you feel in your hand with your tool how to use
the sculpture of the metal and the resistance of the metal. It is like some wood, you feel the metal
like the wood come to life.
KM - What does the word jewellery mean to you?
PM - First, pleasure. Something which is wearing a lot of emotion and, I would say, the magic of
the precious metals because it is rare. How to buy the stone. Let us say the role of the jeweller is
like an alchemist, which has the power to know about the stones, what is the precious one what is
not and what is the power of each stone and how to use with metals to enhance them and to give to
the "Powerful" this rarity and this power.
PM - During Louis XIV and the Tavernier period, the jewellers or the goldsmiths, because it was
at that time more mixed, were the only professional artisans just to have the authorization to wear
this word on their lapel.
PM - You know I like to mix in terms of jewellery, tradition and the modernity. And this
modernity and especially for me and maybe a little different in my family, is first to have no taboo.
KM - Sorry?
PM - No Taboo
KM - OK So anything goes?
PM - Anything goes – I am personally against the codification of that specific job.
PM - I would be more than proud if in a 100 years or 150 years, if Mauboussin of course is still a
great name, has kept its culture and some of our jewellery, are considered in history as "a witness
of their time".
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Mauboussin Jewels