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Artisan Luxury Crystal Maker Saint-Louis Blends Traditional and Contemporary Artistic Trends

photography courtesy of MAISON SAINT-LOUIS

crystal chess pieces from Saint-Louise in France

Benoît Teillet

Granted the title of “Royal Glassware” by King Louis XV in 1767, Saint-Louis has a long history of crafting the most luxurious crystal pieces still today.

If you have ever had the pleasure of watching a professional blow glass, you would know just how much creativity, skill and experience is needed to create those crystal pieces of art. Founded in 1586, the oldest crystal maker in Europe Maison Saint-Louis, has a long history of hand-crafting the most luxurious, artisan crystal pieces.

With the goal of making the finest and most transparent glass possible, alchemists at Saint-Louis perfected the technique for making genuine crystal.

blue crystal vase with gold embellishment from Saint-Louis

In 1767, Saint-Louis was granted the title of “Royal Glassware,” by King Louis XV. Some 14 years later with the goal of making the finest and most transparent glass possible, alchemists at Saint-Louis perfected the technique for making genuine crystal.

After introducing their tableware concepts in 1829, Saint-Louis has since focused on crafting everyday crystal creations, including tableware, decorations and lighting. Saint-Louis offers chandeliers of various sizes, and a unique Folia portable lamp that showcases a vibrant alliance of crystal and wood.

Each crystal piece is crafted by master glassblowers and cutters, considered to be among the very best in France. Saint-Louis Crystal is mouthblown, hand-cut, hand-engraved and hand-decorated using 24-carat gold or platinum.

The team at Saint-Louis say that it takes many years of training to master the fire and acquire this ancestral know-how to make their luxurious pieces, and each piece is the result of an intense collective effort.

tower crystal vase by Saint-Louis in France

The crystal maker consistently innovates, reinventing itself through the transformation of a piece into something totally different from its original intended use. For example, a chess board in which the pawns are stylized decanter stoppers, or a Tommy tumbler that can be used as a vase or a candle holder.

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At Saint-Louis, most materials that are considered as waste can be recycled, nothing is lost.

bloody mary crystal glass set from Saint-Louis

In addition to innovating the purposes of their crystal pieces, Saint-Louis moves forward in step with the times, finding inspiration in a blend of traditional and contemporary artistic trends.

amber crystal Folia lamp by Saint-Louis

The crystal maker has worked with many external designers like Paul Nicolas, Jean Sala, Jean Luce, Michel Colle and Maurice Dufrêne, to incorporate a variety of different art styles over the years. They continue to call on the imagination and skills of designers to explore new uses for crystal and to renew and shape its identity.

In a collaboration with designer Stefania di Petrillo, Saint-Louis is hand-crafting transformative pieces like a light garland decorated with gobs of colored stemmed glasses, based on the concept of upcycling.

footed crystal bowl from Saint-Louis in France

“At Saint-Louis, most materials that are considered as waste can be recycled, nothing is lost,” Stefania di Petrillo says in an interview in Goodmoods. “The idea of upcycling has been present since the beginning of the manufacture; we didn’t even think about throwing away crystal that was already fired.”

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Saint-Louis crystal chess board and pieces

While innovation is a key part of the design process at Saint-Louis, the timelessness of the fine crystal pieces allows for heritage pieces to be reissued. Guipure and Tartan vases, pieces originally designed and crafted from 1940 to 1950, were reissued in this year in celebration of Saint-Louis’ exceptional history.

Thanks to the noteworthy skill and long passed on traditions of crystal making, Saint-Louis has skillfully adapted throughout the years and remained a constant for those looking for the utmost luxurious pieces of crystal art.

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