I have two images of this jeweler’s work at my disposal. One is
exceedingly clever… and the other is a tad grotesque. Which to show
you was–of course–not exceedingly difficult… as I tend to find
beauty in the grotesque and the hideously ugly. So …
It is made of chased yellow gold in the image of a grimacing mask
inspired by Chinese theatre. Its hair is adorned with small pearls.
Its measurements are 5.5 x 5.5 centimeters. Its gross weight is 47
grams. Its value is around $39,000.
It was created between 1910 and 1915 by our jeweler who wanted not
only to make this an ornamental piece of jewelry but also wanted it
to be within itself a work of art. He preferred working with raw
materials and on what he considered to be pure forms. Not too sure
what that means… but then again I usually find that I do not know
far more than I do know.
He was born in 1864 and his name still rings clear today with the
clarion notes of a master craftsman. The jewelry house which exists
to this day and bears his name maintains his imprint in that it
illustrates not only the quality of his work, but also its intrinsic
His name: Ren Boivin and he was the founder of the House of Boivin.
So here’s the question… and I know he belonged to a different time.
What were you doing with your life when you were 26 years old. Ren
Boivin–at that time of his life–purchased several workshops on the
rue St. Anastase in Paris… thereby setting up his first
Perhaps if there was a rue St. Anastase in Manhattan instead of a
Columbus Avenue inspiration might have gripped your soul and you too
would have opened a few new establishments. And where is your store,
my good man? It’s on Columbus Avenue. Ah yes. And yours? On the rue
St. Anastase, monsieur. But of course. See? No comparison.
His wife–Jeanne–was the first important female jewelry designer of
the 20th century. Ren Boivin’s work was soon introduced to the elite
in fashion and his jewelry reflected wealth and elegance. Alas… he
died young… in 1917… at only 53 years of age.
There’s much more to say about this man… but I don’t want to run
the risk of being pedantic… a trait I can not abide in others but
tend to be lenient about in myself. Go figure the dichotomies of
For those of you who are new to this thing called Tidbits…may I
direct you to my home page at http://www.tyler-adam.com where you
will scroll down the left side menu till you get to the area that
says Current Tidbits. Click it… and you will see represented on our
pages… a grotesque mask by Ren Boivin that can only be described
And there ya have it. That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.