A luxurious jumble of 18-carat gold, rough, black diamonds, glistening white diamonds and rich red rubies are illuminated by an antique work lamp as the artisan’s hands expertly model, polish and chase. A unique, made-to-order piece of fine jewellery. René Talmon l’Armée is the artisan behind the magic of rare, original and refined jewellery which he designs and fashions in his workshop in Paris’ historical fine crafts quarter, the Arts et Métiers.
The itinerary of a skilled craftsman: From Berlin where he was born in 1972 to a family of 18th century French craftsmen origins, where he studied and was trained at the traditional goldsmith Werkstatt – to Paris in 1995, where he rejoined his French heritage, working in a prestigious workshop, creating for Hermès and others, before opening his own atelier in 2001. In 2011 he opened a second shop in his hometown, located in the historical Scheunenviertel, an old artisans quartier now the gallery area of Berlin-Mitte.
“The boutique was originally a jewellery factory, it inspired me the minute I walked in and continues to do so”. A skilled craftsman and cutting-edge jewellery designer, Talmon l’Armée had been creating some of the most original and sought-after jewellery in Europe when he discovered “his place” – a traditional Paris Jewellery manufacturers workshop from the turn of the century – where he immediately recognized his heart and soul. Along with the space came various original tools, hammers, anvils, and jeweller’s magnifying loupes. Talmon l’Armée still uses these vintage instruments to craft his entirely hand-made pieces with a distinctly intimate approach to each individual piece – whether for small series or tailor-made pieces to order, including wedding rings.
Known mostly by those attracted to resolutely non-mass production and an avant-garde creation that is clearly outside the realm of classical jewellery designs, the Paris workshop appears as a sort of anteroom to a mysterious domain with its old, dark wood tables, its period-style chairs and display cases. Once inside and surrounded by rugged – yet precious – treasures in the form of various coloured rough diamonds, oxidized silver, 18- and 22-karat gold, leather-textured alloy prints, aquamarine and cabochon stones, the visitor realizes he has entered into a unique dimension: a singular blend of old world goldsmith and haute jewellery techniques with intuitive, daring creativity.