After a hot summer where it was good to read in the shade of the chestnut trees, I took the road back to Maine et Loire to find Saumur. If I’m going to make regular return trips to Paris, I might as well have books in my bag. Travelling by train allows me to take my time and read. As autumn gradually sets in, and I feel the desire for a comforting Pumpkin Spice Latte, here are a few books that – I hope – will allow you to enjoy your gardens a little more in the soft light of September.
1-“Le Musée de Minéralogie de l’École des Mines de Paris” (🇫🇷) – Gallimard / L’École des Arts Joailliers – from €14.50
Located just a stone’s throw from the Luxembourg Gardens, the Mineralogy Museum of the École des Mines de Paris is incredibly rich. Its collection of nearly 100,000 minerals, rocks, meteorites and gems is one of the most important in the world. Founded in 1794, its systematic organisation is a formidable educational tool for the students of the École des Mines but also for other schools and structures that teach geology, mineralogy and gemmology.
Written by the Director of the museum – Mr. Didier Nectoux – and its Curator – Mrs. Eloïse Gaillou – this richly documented book of 60 pages and more than a hundred beautiful illustrations tells the story of the birth of the museum and its history over the centuries. A place of History and Memory, this museum tells the story of the great hours of French power. Located in the Hôtel de Vendôme, at 60 boulevard Saint-Michel, the collection (the 4th largest in the world) was originally called the Cabinet des Mines. It was created in response to the needs of the school that housed it, whose mission was to train managers of mineral resources for private companies as well as for the major government bodies. Since then, the collection has never ceased to grow to meet the needs of training and study of the mineralogical riches of our good old Earth. So if you want to know everything about this place before you set foot on it (which I can only advise you to do!), this little book should delight you.
2“Minéralogie enchantée, 40 histoires de pierres” (🇫🇷) – Hoëbeke – From 25€
There are books that please you by what they tell, others that move you by what they transport. Enchanted Mineralogy is clearly in the second category. I have been reading this book for the last few days as it is one of the latest I have just received and I really enjoyed this beautiful book written by Patricia Desmortiers and illustrated with sublime sketches by Lola-Mona Lugand, scientific illustrator.
In this beautiful 176-page book, remarkably illustrated, the author – also a FGA gemologist – tells about minerals through different prisms to reveal what is as delicate as beautiful and attractive to humans. This is not a scientific book as such, but rather a travel diary into a fascinating world: the mineral kingdom. Written over the last two years, the book reveals the odyssey of 40 gems that are so many little miracles of nature. Between colour, brilliance, geography and geology, Patricia Desmortiers takes you along with her in her gemmological poetry, from the opal that “captures the light” to the coral, the “builder of the seas”. This light and delicate book is like a feather that gently lands on the ground without a sound. An afternoon treat that rests the mind. God, it feels good!
3-“Engraved stones, cameos, intaglios and rings from the Guy Ladrière collection” (🇫🇷) – Mare & Martin / L’École des Arts Joailliers – From €49
If you have not yet had the opportunity to visit the beautiful“Pierres Gravées” exhibition at L’École des Arts Joailliers, there is still time, as it closes on 1 October. And if you think you won’t be able to go and see it, well, there is the book written by Philippe Malgouyres, Chief Curator at the Department of Objets d’Art of the Louvre Museum, which retraces the genesis of this fabulous collection and the history of the pieces that make it up.
With this exhibition, the École des Arts Joailliers has offered us a rather fabulous event by unveiling to the general public part of the remarkable collection built up by the art dealer Guy Ladrière. In this catalogue raisonné, the author details and studies the entire collection of which only 200 pieces were selected for the exhibition. This is an opportunity to admire pieces that have never been exhibited in an exhibition, in the superb illustrations that adorn it. The book reveals the cutting techniques and recontextualizes the jewels in the different eras that saw their birth: Byzantine Empire, Gothic Europe, Renaissance or Antiquity. By discovering the pieces chronologically, the reader can thus become familiar with the evolution of the art of glyptics over the centuries and compare the stylistic evolution of the jewellery. Finally, the index of the collection presents the 341 pieces, allowing the reader to compare them and to appreciate the quality of this very fine collection. A necessary book to better understand a little-known art, often considered old-fashioned, which never ceases to dazzle by the dexterity of the craftsmen who created, in their time, these objects as small as they are detailed.
4-“Babetto, the entity of being” (🇬🇧/🇩🇪/🇮🇹) – Arnoldsche – From 48€ from the publisher
A return to school with Arnoldsche is always a good return to school! With this monograph, the German publishing house focuses on the Italian artist Giampaolo Babetto. Born in 1947 in Padua, the artist has been delighting the avant-garde jewellery scene since the 1960s. His language based on lines and flat surfaces finds a reality in the volume piece where he displays all his talent as a jewellery architect.
Babetto’s encounter with jewellery dates from the end of the 1960s when his school – The Academy of Fine Arts in Venice – was closed. He was forced to abandon his studies in sculpture, which had been brilliantly undertaken under the guidance of Alberto Viani. He then joined the Padua Institute of Arts and studied under Mario Pinton. As gold was a rare commodity at the school, he recovered his mother’s old jewellery to melt it down and make modern jewellery according to his definition. He said that when his mother saw the pieces, she thought he was going crazy. Like many of the designers of that blessed era, Babetto’s pieces are also pleasing in that they offer jewellery that is far from boring and unimaginative commercial standards. The 328-page book is a real bible for discovering this artist and his vision of jewellery. Intended as a catalogue raisonné of his work, the book will plunge you into contemporary Italian jewellery and offer you the opportunity to discover an essential artist.
See you soon!