D’Argental was a brand of cameo glass created byThe Cristallerie de Saint Louis in the 1920’s. It evolved to compete against the then popular cameo works of Galle and Daum. One of its most prominent contributors was Paul Nicolas who joined the cristallerie and designed for this brand after the failure of his own atelier; some of his pieces are signed Nicolas. Saint Louis itself has a very rich history in the world of glass making. For as long as can be remembered, the province of Lorraine, on the eastern border of France, has been a region graced with rich sand and expansive forests. Supported by the abundance of these natural resources, the art of making glass flourished in this area. The glassworks of Saint Louis were originally known as Münzthal when they were founded in 1586. Almost two centuries later, in 1767, Louis XV granted the glassworks of Münzthal the honorable title of "Verreries Royales" and placed them under the protection of his patron saint, "Saint Louis." On the eve of the French Revolution, the House of Saint Louis was the first on the Continent to perfect the manufacture of lead crystal. In 1781, The Royal Academy of Sciences acknowledged the high quality of this crystal when they recognized Saint Louis as a Cristallerie. Saint Louis played a central role in crystal's golden age of the 19th century. The House's art revealed major technical and ornamental innovations: the master of color, the discovery of crystal opaline, the application of fine 24 karat gold, the development of new engraving and cutting techniques, and the production of the first millefiori paperweights and filigreed pieces. Each of these artistic dimensions remains present in the current collection. In the House's rich history, the 20th century has proven to be as illustrious as the previous three. Today, the master craftsmen of Saint Louis, as they have for over four hundred years, continue to blow crystal by mouth. Cutters and gilders shape and decorate each piece with their hands and thus each Saint Louis creation is unique. These exceptional artisans, who have perfected their talents under the tutelage of their grandparents, and who will in turn train their own grandchildren, are considered to be among the finest craftsmen in the world. Over the centuries, Saint Louis has been coveted by kings, emperors, heads of state and connoisseurs. Saint Louis is an integral part of French cultural heritage as it continues to blend a sense of tradition with contemporary relevance. Since 1995, the Cristallerie de Saint Louis has been part of the Hermes group, one of the world’s most prestigious luxury brands, and one of the very few that has successfully retained its independence.
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