The Cristallerie de Saint Paul is the only French manufacturer of enamels for application on copper, gold and silver. With two hundred years of experience, the SOYER enamel factory produces the best quality jewellery enamels on the world market today.
Originally from the Chantilly and Meaux region, Robert Levy (1741-1813), a porcelain maker and ragpicker (fabric producer), lived in a château in Gonesse, which was sold in 1899, and his wife, Berthe Minier, was a porcelain decorator (enamel painter). They had a son, Michel Levy (1789-1819), an earthenware or porcelain maker and husband of Victoire Ployard. To help his wife, Robert Levy bought an existing workshop (around 1810), then enamel production formulas, and started a porcelain enamelling business. In 1820 he bought formulas from the Leblond family (1820) for the "blanc à cadran". Then Michel's son, Denis Levy (1813-1873), husband of Joséphine Victorine Lebrun (1803-1873), developed this workshop into an industry. He bought formulas from Monsieur Dragos (in 1840), then from Léon Martin in the Quartier du Temple, as well as from an Alsatian and a Ukrainian. Around 1840, he bought a piece of land for growing onions, as his aunt lived in the "lin court" area, which was part of the village of "Pintin", which had become the Pré Saint Gervais (capital of broken glass) and Pantin, on the way to the quarries in America. He built a house and the factory at Le Pré, which finally became 24 rue d'Estiennes d'Orves after the Second World War, where he died. Their daughter, Marie Victorine Ester Levy (1836-1901) married Louis Soyer (1833-1876), son of Stanislas, Charlemagne Soyer. Louis Soyer, who came from a farming family near Meaux, had an "industrial" earthenware business in the village of "La Vilette" (which in the 19th arrondissement of Paris became the present Rue de Flandres). The business became "Entreprise SOYER". Their son Denis-Georges Soyer (1860-1935) married Berthe Cabourdin (1862-1957) and developed the business. In the Museum of Antwerp, there is still a collection of enamel of the Denis Soyer type which is still used as a reference by diamond dealers. His son Louis-Edouard Soyer (1894-1940), husband of Marie Louise Bignier (1898-1965), succeeded him.
Following a fire, he rebuilt the Pré Saint Gervais factory in 1928 in metal and brick, whereas it was originally made of wood.
The factory became "Etablissement SOYER".
The factory manufactured its own crucibles, which were originally open, closed when necessary, and then eventually switched to closed crucibles. It had a pre-war coal furnace, a pre-war oil furnace and a post-war furnace. Triangle "watches" were used to measure the temperature of the furnace. The factory had steam engines instead of horses and the production was 120 kg per day in Louis Soyer's time and 250 kg per day in Jacques Soyer's time.
In 1900 the factory employed 140 people, the workers started at the age of 6 and the best ones learned to work with cane. The company sold all over the world and exported more than 80% of its products. The great speciality was rhinestones (notably those offered by Bokassa to Mr Giscard d'Estaing). During the war, it was necessary to use the heaps of rhinestones stored in the cellars of the factory. By melting them down, the precious part came off and the slag was recycled. During the war, the company exported all over the world, but its production was very limited.
In the 19th century, Les EMAUX SOYER, which was very close to its English competitor, considered joining forces and shared its specialities (in the 20th century it shared Europe with its German competitor). The factory also made synthetic rubies, the last of which, weighing 284 kg, was sold in Kabul, cut in two for transport because of looters. Fabergé eggs were decorated with combinations of SOYER enamel and precious stones. When it was created, the Legion of Honour was enamelled with SOYER red and real diamonds. The first (Soviet) object sent to the moon was enamelled with SOYER.
During the Second World War, Emaux Soyer continued to receive uranium for the yellow. Louis-Edouard Soyer died in 1940 as a captain in the French army in Zeeland and his widow, with the help of the employees, took over the business until the mid-1950s. Their son, Jacques Soyer, born in 1928 and husband of Chantal Leguil, trained as a "master glassmaker" by the old journeymen, was able to take over and change the name to "EMAUX SOYER".
In 1970, he joined Paul Coiffe's CERADEL company in a joint venture and moved to Condat sur Vienne (87920) near Limoges, to the Moulin de Saint Paul, before retiring from the company. Three years later, Jacques Soyer tried to relaunch an artisanal production of enamel powder in Crouy sur Ourcq under the name of "Technique et Enamel Jacques Soyer" but an electrical strike destroyed his first large crucible and ruined his hopes and those of his many customers. Bernard CHARLES-LAVAUZELE, Paul COIFFE's son-in-law, took over the business and created La Cristallerie de Saint Paul on 1 January 1979. After his death in 1999, his widow ran the business for a year before selling to Mr Franck Dufour.
He will continue the manufacture of Opaque, Opal and Transparent enamels and will restore the importance of EMAUX SOYER.
Franck Dufour and Jacques Soyer
Emaux Soyer : from artisanship to excellence in the production of coloured glass.
Today, the Cristallerie de Saint Paul exports 65% of its products to Europe, the United States and Japan, where they are used by art enamellers and to decorate paintings, jewellery, medals, vases and coats of arms.
Music: "Yes, yes, yes" by Jérôme Chauvel : http://www.abydos-musique.fr/
Over the years, the company has become a specialist in the development and production of very high quality coloured glass, meeting the needs of the most demanding customers.
Emaux Soyer is committed to fully satisfying its customers by offering them a wide range of colours, products and grain sizes. The company offers nearly 180 different colours (see our range of colours) to meet the varied needs of its customers.
The use of top quality raw materials, combined with rigorous control and a state-of-the-art production process, enables the company to offer superior quality products.
Our commitment to progress related to sustainable development.
Cristallerie Saint-Paul is committed to a policy of responsible management of the chemicals used in its production processes. It ensures the regulatory compliance of all substances used and follows the latest developments in regulations. The company also promotes the use of substances that are less harmful to the environment and health, by constantly seeking alternatives to the most polluting chemicals. It also encourages the implementation of good practices to limit the risks of accidental pollution and trains its employees in the responsible use of chemical products.
Cristallerie Saint Paul is also committed to continuous improvement of its environmental performance in terms of chemical products, by working with its partners and suppliers to implement more environmentally friendly processes and by integrating environmental criteria into the selection of its suppliers.
Through this responsible chemical management policy, Cristallerie Saint Paul contributes to reducing the environmental impact of its activities and to ensuring the health and safety of its employees and neighbouring populations.