Masters of matter and light
Lorraine is traditionally an industrial area and those with a love of the decorative arts can confirm this. With crystal and glazed earthenware, glass paste and enamelwork, regional expertise has found expression for several hundred years with a finesse equalled only by the international reputation enjoyed by its products.
A real delight for the senses and all the more enjoyable because Man has used natural substances (water, clay, fire, sandstone, sand etc.) as the raw materials with which to give free rein to his imagination.
As far as crystal is concerned, however large the pieces (from huge chandeliers to elegantly decorated glassware, not forgetting millefiori and less ornate paperweights) Lorraineâs crystalworks have always put beauty above every other consideration and, in doing so, have given the whole world an image of Lorraine as a place of refinement. After all, in Saint-Louis-les-Bitche, the region has the oldest crystalworks in France and it is still famous for its coloured crystalware, cut, engraved or decorated with pure gold.
Glazed earthenware, or faÃ¯ence, is steeped in the same love of luxury and, in Lorraine, it too has been an industry in its own right since the 18th century when it first developed in LunÃ©ville (1724), while Niderviller (1735) became famous for the production of high-quality grouped figures and statuettes.
Longwy is perpetuating the tradition at various works - Saint-Jean-lâAigle with a âLiving Heritage Companyâ label, Les RÃ©collets and the SociÃ©tÃ© des faÃ¯enceries.
The town is also well-known for its turquoise enamelware with craquelure decoration.
This is a place where patience rhymes with perfection. Be sure to visit the private museum â it contains some very rare items.
There is also a faÃ¯ence museum in Sarreguemines, best-known for its collection of ceramics and its winter garden, and a museum illustrating the techniques used in producing glazed earthenware.
All this in a town which, famed for its production of faÃ¯ence, majolicaware and sandstone, is seen as the other main centre of prestigious industrial expertise.
But let us not forget the faÃ¯ences or chinoiserie from LunÃ©ville-Saint-ClÃ©ment, and the glazed earthenware from the Islettes works in Argonne which can also be seen in the museum in RarÃ©court.