Innovation and dazzling creations have chronicled Baccarat’s illustrious history. This year, the firm proudly celebrates its 250th anniversary. Roots span back to 1764; when, with the permission of King Louis XV, the first Glassworks opened In Lorraine, France. Through the decades, Baccarat became a symbol of superior craftsmanship and the French art de vivre. Fine crystal creations, including stemware, barware, chandeliers, perfume bottles and jewelry have kept the label influential and easily recognizable.
1. Vase known as Du Negus presented at the International Exhibition of Eastern France in Nancy, 1909.
2. Georges Chevalier.
3. Production process.
A pioneer in its field, Baccarat continues to create pieces that have been celebrated and esteemed by some of history’s most emblematic personalities. Its first royal commission arrived in 1823, when Louis XVIII ordered the production of a glass service. In France, Charles X, Louis-Philippe, Napoleon III, Presidents and Heads of State followed suit. Globally, the firm has also made an impact creating furniture pieces for Indian maharajahs, the Tsar Chandelier created for Nicholas II and water glasses engraved with the initials of American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Baccarat is applauded for innovation in the world of crystal: in 1839, the firm became the first Glassworks in France to make colored crystal, an accomplishment that would earn them a gold medal at the National Exhibition of Industrial Products. The new color, introduced in 1839 included the now famous gold ruby red, which has become a trademark hue for the luxury brand. Other striking pieces have won a number of prizes at various Paris Universal Exhibitions.
In the 1920s, Georges Chevalier stepped in as Artistic Director for Baccarat and propelled the respected company into the modern era with impeccable taste, bold choices and a rather geometric approach to design, which coincided with the advent of Modernism and Art Deco. Chevalier continued working with the firm until the 1970s, consistently merging his artistic flair with Baccarat’s traditional roots. His Sun Clock from 1948 is a solid crystal starburst that once adorned the Manhattan apartment of famed playwright Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe, and is now reissued for this important occasion.
Harcourt glasses, the oldest in the Baccarat archive, are a staple of French power. For this momentous anniversary, the Harcourt style takes on a new, playful form by way of a chess set designed by the Japanese design studio Nendo. Fifty limited edition sets has been created with clear and midnight blue chess pieces that sit on an illuminating board. Each impeccably crafted set took over 200 hours to craft. “Baccarat has a very long history of tradition, but there is always fun in the product, and I want to express that,” said Oki Sato, founder of Nendo.
Echiquier Harcourt, Chess Set.
Baccarat has established a reputable legacy in the art of crystal production. A passion for perfection, immaculate craftsmanship and artistic integrity has provided 250 years of fabulous designs and a strong historical presence. Generation after generation, elite craftsmen continue to create high-quality products that remain true to the Baccarat heritage. The firm has shaped the industry of crystal production with timeless works of art that leave lasting impressions.■