One of the most renowned visionaries in crystal making, exhibiting not only fine craftsmanship but reimagining the art itself, Baccarat remains a top choice for fans and collectors of luxury glass and crystal ware.
Boasting a list of accolades almost as extensive as its history, the French manufacturer is loved by many, and some of its avid collectors include celebrities & well known designers. Famous not only for crystal glass tableware but also for crystal sculptures, chandeliers & perfume bottles, the company owns two museums, the Musée Baccarat in Meurthe-et-Moselle and the Musée Baccarat in Paris, where it exhibits its finest creations, further blurring the lines between its titles as the manufacturer and artist of crystal sculptures.
Baccarat also owns a hotel by the same name in New York, where many of its iconic creations, such as grand chandeliers are displayed and in 2012, Starwood Capital Group, the now US based owners of Baccarat, announced it would use the name and build a luxury hotel chain “Baccarat Hotels and Resorts” which will feature all of the company’s crystal chandeliers. Read on to find out more about the inspirational story of Baccarat’s rise to one of the leading brands of the industry and fall in love with the delightful craftsmanship of its artists, as you browse our favorites below!
Baccarat began when King Louis XV of France gave permission to open a glasswork company in the town of Baccarat in Eastern France and rose to fame when it received its first royal commission in 1823.
From then on, Baccarat was granted a lengthy line of commissions for royalty and heads of state throughout the world. The company remained on a steady rise to prominence for the next few decades and assumed its title as the leading crystal maker worldwide when it won its first gold medal in the World’s Fair in Paris, which propelled their plans to expand their crystal production throughout this period to include chandeliers, barware, and perfume bottles. The latter became one of the most popular items of the brand to the point where by 1907, production of these handcrafted bottles was over 4000 per day.
Sources of Inspiration
For the majority of its beginnings, Baccarat was inspired by French artists and themes, and only with the effective concluding of Napoleon’s reign of France in 1870, did the brand look to outside influences. Imports of crystal & glass from Japan became more widespread in France during this time, as did demand for Baccarat products in Asia and what is now the Middle East. Baccarat supplied the increasing demand and more, culminating in artistic excellence with the completion of the world’s largest chandelier and crystal balustrade for the Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul, shown below:
When Baccarat entered the US market in 1948, it adopted a uniform style called the Cylon designs – a famous example of this era is the Cylon Carrier Napoleon Hat piece (1958), now featured in the company’s museum.
Technique & Skill
On average, it takes 15 years for one artist to master their craft at Baccarat, which include ancestral techniques such as freehand cutting and relief brush gilding. While Baccarat has been uncompromising on quality , it has welcomed some changes to its manufacturing process – it adopted the Bohemian technique of embedding millefiori canes (multi-colored glass mixtures) which was an important innovative milestone in crystal making, when it created glass paperweights, which surpassed similar products in the market from Bohemia or Venice in sales.
A notable collection from Baccarat using meticulous techniques is the Harcourt 1841 glass – the stunning shape is created from a flat cut pattern combined with geometric and angular incisions.
Collections Roi Soleil and New Antique also pay a tribute to the know-hows of the manufactory’s artisans and the timeless Zénith chandelier remains a Baccarat icon.
Scully & Scully Favorites
Baccarat’s uniqueness lies in its wide appeal to both modern and traditional tastes. While most of the present day collections adhere to the classy standards set by the brand for centuries, they also speak to the creative freedom and expression the artists are given when crafting – additionally, styles at Baccarat are ever evolving, as traditional pieces are reimagined through the handiwork of different artists and with the influences of the modern times.
Browse our favorites below, get inspired and as always, leave your comments below!