In recognition of international woman’s day on Sunday 8th March we explore the story of the jewellery house of Boivin. The French firm, founded by René Boivin (1864-1917) is considered to have produced some of the most innovative jewels of the twentieth century. The most recognised designs were created when the firm was run by René’s widow, Jeanne Boivin (1871-1959) who employed the design talents of three women: Suzanne Belperron, Juliette Moutarde and Jeanne’s own daughter, Germaine Boivin.
After the death of René Boivin in 1917, Jeanne Boivin made the surprising decision to take over the firm. In a male-dominated industry, no woman had ever been in control of a prestigious jewellery firm. At this time, Jeanne Boivin decided to create distinctive bold pieces made from unusual materials such as carved rock crystal, quartz, amethyst, citrine and of course woods such as sandalwood.
When Jeanne Boivin took over the firm in 1917, she employed Suzanne Belperron, who would establish herself as one of the most talented jewellery designers of the twentieth century and remained at the firm until 1931. So distinctive was the work of Belperron she never felt the need to sign it, stating, ‘My style is my signature’. Juliette Moutarde joined the company thereafter and too remained as one of the head designers until her retirement in 1970. In 1938, Germaine Boivin joined the firm as a designer and continued to manage the business after her mother’s death in 1959. Of course, the majority of designers at this time were men but it was the introduction of woman in the 20th century that paved the way for a new era.
To find a signed piece is a rarity as Madam Boivin was disinclined to sign pieces, maintaining the attitude they were not a retail enterprise but created original jewels. Today many female designers work without constraint and Boivin is one such individual who made an indelible mark on the jewellery trade. Today her pieces are highly sought after and sold at prestigious auction houses to collectors around the world. Visit Berganza today to find your own distinctive piece of jewellery with a unique history.