Finding a Louis Rousselet jewelry piece is a rather rare and thus very special occasion. The renown jewelry maker was born in Paris in 1892. At the age of only eight, Louis Rousselet already apprenticed with M. Rousseau, mastering his technique of lamp-work beads. Thirty years later, in 1922, Louis opened up a workshop in Menilmontant -- a neighbourhood of Paris -- and started hand-making glass and galalith beads, sometimes using unusual ceramics in his work.
Louis quickly became recognized for his glass beads, often given baroque shapes to accentuate their individuality, and imitation pearls. He made the pearls out of glass by coating the glass with essence d’Orient, or namely, a fish scale compound. Consequently, his firm became a major source of handmade beads for the world. Louis Rousselet became known as one of the most outstanding beadmakers of the twentieth century.
Louis Rousselet workshop employed nearly 800 workers over the years, and each worker reportedly trained for six to seven years. His brand produced beads and jewelry designs that have adorned singers, models, and actresses for the past 100 years. Louis designed jewelry for Music Hall stars Josephine Baker and Mistinguette.
Gifted Louis Rousselet Family
Denise Rousselet, Louis’ daughter, designed several collections for her father from 1943 until 1965, when all exclusive design responsibilities were handed over to her. Together with her father, Denise produced charming floral necklaces made of imitation and colored pearls, glass colored beads and clear and colored rhinestones. Many fashion and jewelry houses sourced their supplies from Rousselet. His beads were used to embroider and accessorize clothing designs and are still highly sought after.
Craftsmanship of a Parisian Jewelry Maker
Louis Rousselet’s galalith beads were produced from casein, (latin caseus, meaning cheese) which is a phosphoprotein -- one of the chief components of milk and thus the basis of cheese. This substance is widely used in the manufacturing of plastics, glass, pearls, and ivory, and is known for its yellowy white color. The imitation pearls were coated with a fish scale substance to give a pearly sheen and luster. The glass beads were also, similarly to the technique used in Venice, worked directly over a fire on a brass rod. When the form of the bead began to take shape, it was dissolved in acid, ridding it of holes. The shape could then be completed, and a single bead would be created.
Remarkably, all Rousselet beads were hand-wound and hand-polished. A wide variety of colors and styles were employed, and these iridescent, foiled, or lamp-wound multi colored swirls were produced using the same tried and true techniques for fifty years.
The craftsmanship of Parisian jewelry makers guarantees the perfect composition. The beads, rhinestones and pearls that were used in the jewelry of a goldtone and silvertone metal base, were prong set and wired together. Each Louis Rousselet jewelry piece you find is genuinely unique and can instantly beautify any outfit. No matter what your jewelry preferences are, Louis Rousselet has something for everyone: From large and eccentric statement designs measuring several inches, to tiny and delicate seed pearls, which can be as small as less than a millimeter (0.039 inch) in size.