50 years of creations

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the House, a book has been written with archive illustrations to retrace the 50 years of creations by Philippe and Mathieu Tournaire. 

Enter the intimacy of our beautiful House of Jewellery and (re) discover the history of the brand. This book is printed by the Chirat printing works, a certified Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant (Living Heritage Company) located in the Loire region of France. The various papers used for this book are PEFC or FSC certified. These environmental certifications attest that the paper comes from sustainably managed forests. The inks used for printing are vegetable-based.

"I dreamed of doing physics". As we take stock of 50 years of creation at Jewellery, Philippe Tournaire has travelled many other paths as an inspired self-taught artist. The artist opened the book of memories for us: we went back in time, evoked his beginnings with emotion, smiled at the anecdotes of the initiatory journey of the man who made his name a brand of haute Jewellery, today passed on to his son Mathieu.

Chapter I: Getting into the swing of things

Create breathing space

The story begins in Saint-Germain-Laval, in the Loire region, where the Tournaire family lives. Born in 1949, the young Philippe was a curious, attentive child. He spends hours observing the craftsmen who make up village life: the carpenter, the blacksmith, the mechanic, the mason, the tailor, the shoemaker... He discovers with interest the skills of these artisans. Everything seems possible. But where he spends most of his time is in his father's workshop. "Dad taught me to weld at a very early age, around 9. He repaired radios, TV sets and all kinds of machines. I was in awe. I was suffering from asthma at the time, which prevented me from living like children my age. I loved to tinker, and paying attention to soldering, meticulous repairs or examining the mechanism of an alarm clock, calmed my breathing". 

This asthma led Philippe to the Lycée Climatique d'Altitude in Briançon, where he attended school from 6th to 3rd grade. He talks about it with emotion and modesty, and has very fond memories of his schooling, despite the strict but fair discipline and the distance from his family: 

"I only went home to my parents in Saint-Germain-Laval three times a year: at Christmas, Easter and for the summer vacations. There was a real sense of solidarity among the students, we were close-knit and it was for the best. We were only allowed to go out in groups. If five of us went out, five of us came back! It was compulsory to have a regulation haircut: short and close behind the ears. Once outside, we made the most of this freedom, exploring the city and spending long hours in the public library, which held many treasures for me at the age of 13.

It was at this school that Philippe 's artistic sense was revealed, as she developed a passion for pen-and-ink drawing. "I was creating shapes, nothing figurative, but with a certain harmony. It was at the end of this same pen that, in those years, I found the signature of my name and invented my alphabet inspired by cuneiform writing. The lessons on Mesopotamia had captivated me, and I must say that I had an exceptional history teacher". 

Philippe remembers being drawn in by a reproduction of a Paul Klee painting hanging above the door of his 6th grade French class.  

"The geometric shapes and magical colors of this work - Castle and Sun - fascinated me, and I've never forgotten it.

The Free bracelet is born of a canopy

At the age of 17, after finishing high school in the late 1960s, Philippe opted for an apprenticeship in radio electronics. With his CAP in hand, he worked with his father, and it was in the family workshop that he created his first jewelry: "There was copper. One day, I tried shaping something and I got a taste for it. The desire to create inspired Philippe, who, with a silver cutlery in hand, chose to divert it: "It was a fork, the object guided me, I shaped it, I did a lot of trial and error, and three months later the Free bracelet was born. To hear Philippe Tournaire tell it, the creation of this first piece of jewelry seems quite simple, yet it's the fruit of a long process of reflection, fuelled by the young man's lifelong interest in Einstein, astronomy, history, archaeology and, above all, ethnology. "My father was first and foremost a scientist, not just a craftsman. He could answer all my scientific and historical questions, and it was he who led me into all this.