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Saint-Louis - Biography

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Saint-Louis - Tommy

The glassworks of Saint-Louis was originally known as Münzthal when it was founded in 1586. It is the oldest glassworks in France. The factory was destroyed during the 30 year war (1618-1648) but was rebuilt in 1767 at the same spot. Under the direction of Gabriel d'Artigues the Saint Louis company became the first glassworks on european main land to produce items of the new lead crystal.  Almost two centuries later, in 1767, Louis XV granted the glassworks of Münzthal the honorable title of "Verreries Royales" and placed it under the protection of his patron saint, "Saint-Louis."

Fantaisie creative   

On the eve of the French Revolution, the House of Saint-Louis was the first on the Continent to perfect the manufacture of lead crystal. In 1781,The Royal Academy of Sciences acknowledged the high quality of this crystal when they recognized Saint-Louis as a Cristallerie.

Saint-Louis played a central role in crystal's golden age of the 19th century. The House's art revealed major technical and ornamental innovations: the master of color, the discovery of crystal opaline, the application of fine 24 karat gold, the development of new engraving and cutting techniques, and the production of the first millefiori paperweights and filigreed pieces. Each of these artistic dimensions remains present in the current collection.

After the french-german war in 1870 the Saint Louis glassworks was split up in a german part (Silesie) and a french location which was added to the Baccarat company. In 1918 the Saint Louis glassworks was reinstalled as an independant company.

  Saint-Louis made their first dazzling crystal chandeliers in 1836, and their creations were soon prized by royalty throughout the world. In 1893, the king of Nepal ordered several four-metre-high candelabra, each of which was made up of almost two thousand individual parts and weighed 800 kg. Electrified in the 1920s, the Saint-Louis crystal chandeliers are today bringing off something of a palace coup, thanks to the new fashion for this kind of lighting.  

In the House's rich history, the 20th century has proven to be as illustrious as the previous three. Today, the master craftsmen of Saint-Louis, as they have for over four hundred years, continue to blow crystal by mouth. Cutters and gilders shape and decorate each piece with their hands and thus each Saint-Louis creation is unique. These exceptional artisans, who have perfected their talents under the tutelage of their grandparents, and who will in turn train their own grandchildren, are considered to be among the finest craftsmen in the world.

Over the centuries, Saint-Louis has been coveted by kings, emperors, heads of state and connoisseurs. Saint-Louis is an integral part of French cultural heritage as it continues to blend a sense of tradition with contemporary relevance.

Most recently, in 1995, the company was purchased by Hermes, in the effort to keep this French craftsmanship alive and still flourishing in France.