Monsieur Bijou was the moniker given to Robert Goossens, a French jeweller who lived from 1927 to 2016. He was born in Paris, France, the son of a metal foundry worker. He learned the techniques of casting, engraving, and embossing semi-precious and simulated stones into gold and silver metals during his apprenticeship in jewellery making. Goossens combined genuine stones with fakes, artificial gems with semi-precious for clients such as Coco Chanel, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent, Madame Grès, Christian Dior, and others during his decades of making fine jewellery.
Goossens’ designs were highly inspired by paintings and objects in Paris museums, with Maltese, Byzantium, and Renaissance works providing the most inspiration. He travelled widely over the years, often returning with stones such as sapphires, amethysts, rubies, coral, and chalcedony. After restoring a cross that belonged to Madame Chanel, he made rock crystal his favourite material. It’s a colourless and transparent quartz variety. Goossens was the first to incorporate it into jewellery, believing that its delicate and affordable qualities were ideal for costume jewellery. Bronze, shells, pearls, polished and natural rock crystal, and other materials, were used in his necklace, brooch, bracelet, and earring designs.
Work with Maison Chanel
Goossens started working with Coco Chanel to design jewellery to complement her fashion designs in 1954 when he developed the Byzantine style. He did so mainly through presentations where she influenced his inspiration. Chanel was known for fusing the wealthy and the poor, and Goossens’ designs were no exception. During his time at Chanel, he produced emerald-set silver and gold plated rings, moon earth pendants, and crystal Byzantine crosses.
Robert Goosens – Works
Click on image for additional information
Goossens would make one-of-a-kind pieces for Chanel, made of real gold and genuine stones, then replicated as knockoffs for fashion shows and presentations. Chanel’s costume jewellery designs were finally based on these models.
After Chanel’s founder’s death, Goossens continued to work with the house, collaborating with her successor Karl Lagerfeld on costume jewellery for the house’s ready-to-wear and couture collections in the 1980s and 1990s. In 2005, Chanel purchased Goossens’ workshop.
Goossen’s studio, located north of Paris, employs approximately 50 people who handcraft his designs.
The Goossens boutique is located on George V Avenue in Paris.
Any of his works can be found in the collections of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs.
Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.
Wikipedia contributors. (2021, February 19). Robert Goossens. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 02:55, March 30, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Robert_Goossens&oldid=1007718758
More Jewellery Designers
You may also be interested in
Suzanne Belporren was a French jewellery designer. Her career flourished in the 1920s and 1930s. Belperron produced numerous designs of sculptured jewellery for René Boivin’s Paris shop. She subsequently opened her own Paris shop called Herz-Belperron. Her designs often featured glass encrusted with gemstones.
Miriam Haskell was a New York-based American Jeweller. In 1924, at the McAlpin Hotel, where she sold her jewellery, Haskell opened up a small gift shop. Her key designer became Frank Hess, a display artist at the nearby Macy’s department store. They worked on antique-quality glass-bead and simulated-pearl jewellery.