Mauboussin

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Founded in 1827, the Parisian jewellery house began under M. Rocher and subsequently Jean-Baptiste Noury. Then named Maison Noury, it quickly established a reputation for outstanding quality of workmanship and choice of pearls and gem stones, which were often destined for retail in South America. The House was awarded a bronze award in 1878 at the Exposition Universelle in Paris. Jean-Baptiste’s nephew Georges Mauboussin (born 1862) joined the firm from an early age and eventually inherited the business, as from 1923 the new buildings “Mauboussin successeur de Noury” were erected rue de Choiseul. The new premises housed all aspects of the jewellery process; design, stone cutting, polishing, setting, and had show rooms big enough to house three important exhibitions 1928 to 1931. Each of these exhibitions were dedicated to a stone and travelled internationally. The ‘Ruby’ exhibition of 1930 went as far as to affect the international price for rubies at the time. Having seen tough times due to the unveiling of synthetic rubies, the market would suddenly find itself unable to meet demands at the high end with clients such as the Prince of Wales, the Maharajah of Kapurthala, the Maharajah of Indore, ministers, artists and politicians all flocking to the event. This international success coupled with their Medaille d’or at the Paris Exhibition de Arts Decoratifs in 1925, created enough publicity to crown Mauboussin one of the “leaders of fashion” by Vogue, Vanity Fair and Harper’s Bazaar. Mauboussin participated in 18 exhibitions between the years of 1924 and 1931, but this was not done by Georges Mauboussin alone, by then his son Pierre Mauboussin and Marcel Goulet (nephew of Jean-Baptiste Noury) had joined the family business and brought fresh blood and inspiration to the house. Pierre Mauboussin trained as an engineer and was particularly taken with the aeronautical world. He would combine and compliment his two passions simultaneously; exhibiting the Mauboussin jewels (inspired by mechanical elements and pure metallic lines) at the 1928 exposition des Arts Décoratifs at the Grand Palais and unveiling the first Mauboussin aeroplane (a tourist aeroplane which quickly established five international records for speed) that same year. Pierre Mauboussin was also at the helm of opening Mauboussin Inc. in New York. This addition was another breath of fresh air for the house which was able to be bolder and braver with its new New York clientele (whilst still manufacturing everything in their Paris atelier). However, the financial crash of 1929 hit the house hard, saw the closure of the Mauboussin Inc. showrooms, the depreciation of stock by 50% and the seizure of stock in the USA (including the 80ct “Nazzak” Golconda diamond) and Pierre Mauboussin directed his attentions towards his aeronautical pursuits. The salvation of the firm was largely left in the hands of Marcel Goulet as Georges Mauboussin was of a certain age by then and the stresses of the situation left him ill. This was the case throughout Paris, between the years of 1929 and 1934 the number of workers employed by the Parisian jewellery houses were cut by 90%. Marcel Goulet’s business virtuoso and draconian measures were nicely complimented by his son, who joined the house in 1930 and maintained the relationships necessary with important international clients that kept the house afloat during the financial crisis and War periods. Jean Goulet was the same age as the Maharajah of Indore and enjoyed a close friendship with him, discussing not only the virtues of jewellery but philosophy and religion too. Jean’s manner and soft intelligence made him a friend and confident to many important clients. The end of the war brought renewed opportunities for international business, in 1936 the house had begun a collaboration with the American house Trabert & Hoeffer and they became the official representatives for Mauboussin in America in 1946. Trabert & Hoeffer had kept an eye on goods Mauboussin had kept in America after the 1939 exhibition in New York and were obviously partners in the aftermath of the war as they already had showrooms across North America and an important showroom on Park Avenue.