Look at this lovely little kitty paperweight I picked up one day while picking up stuff for the shop! It’s got the sweetest little face!
I was really excited when I turned it over and saw the “Baccarat” crystal name and insignia etched on the bottom. Baccarat is an old name in fine crystal. Originally known as Baccarat Glass, the company was founded in 1765 by the Bishop of Metz. According to Crystal Art USA the Bishop wanted to “encourage industry” in the village of Baccarat which is about 250 miles east of Paris, France.
The primary industry in the village was making utility glassware like windows, bottles, tableware, etc. and they did well for a long time. The business survived through the French Revolution (1789) but Crystal Art USA says the company struggled through the Napoleonic Wars (1812-1815).
When Aime-Gabriel D’Artiques, the owner of Vonech glassworks, suddenly found his company outside of France in the newly formed Belgium after the Napoleonic Wars, he bought Baccarat so he could have his company in France again. He didn’t want to pay heavy import taxes so this worked for his French customers.
The new Voneche-Baccarat company did well focussing on high-quality lead-crystal glass. D’Artiques sold the glassworks in 1822 and the Compagnie des Cristalleries de Baccarat came into existence. Crystal Art USA says that the name Voneche was left attached to the company until 1843.
It became and has stayed one of the foremost makers of glass in France winning medals in Paris from 1823 up. Baccarat is particularly known for their crystal paperweights (like my little kitty). They are well-known for their beautiful decanters and bottles, also for figurines. According to the New York Times, Baccarat crystal completed its first royal commission of crystal glasses for Louis XVIII in 1823. This commission, it is said, started the fashion for using different glasses for different beverages.
Baccarat has continued since that time to become innovators in their field. They have perfected techniques and have a reputation for creating beautiful crystal glassware, as well as for being excellent, caring employers. The town of Baccarat depends on this glasswork company as their major source of business and jobs.
Believe it or not, the company is now under the leadership of an American investment firm, Starwood Capital and Catterton Partners. It’s amazing how small the world is in this global market place! That is the way the world is changing, to which this company that started as a small village industry can attest. I always find this stuff so interesting!
I hope you learned something you didn’t know before and take this with you. I love learning and find something each week that I didn’t know before. Leave me a comment if you get a chance! I will be partying at the great blogs on the right side of the screen this week. Check them out, there’s so much to learn from each of them. Have a great week!