In a sign that lab-grown diamonds are ready for their moment in the luxury spotlight, a group of Paris-based investors led by former Cartier executives Frédéric de Narp and Coralie de Fontenay have revived a historic but long-forgotten French jewelry name and are positioning the brand for the 21st century with a big focus on man-made diamonds.
The brand is called Oscar Massin and is named after a talented jeweler born in Liège, Belgium, in 1829. At age 22, after a decade of apprenticeship, Massin moved to Paris and found work as a bench jeweler on the Place Vendôme, where he was a contemporary of Frédéric Boucheron and Louis-François Cartier. His reputation for excellence in both design and craftsmanship culminated in 1867, when he was awarded the gold medal at the Universal Exhibition in Paris.
Massin retired in 1892 and died in 1913. His name was soon forgotten. Now, Paris-based Luximpact, a company that revives historic French jewelry labels using a sustainable and progressive business model, is resurrecting his legacy with a new collection of jewels featuring climate-neutral, lab-grown Latitude Diamonds produced by WD Lab Grown Diamonds in Maryland.
De Narp, cofounder and co-CEO of Luximpact, explained that Massin’s reputation as a “diamond reformer” who reinvented how to set diamonds lends itself well to using lab-grown stones.
“There is enormous room for a brand like Oscar Massin to enter and have a position, especially for new generations that want that traceability,” he says.
The brand’s design ethos, according to partner and creative director Sandrine de Laage, takes its inspiration from Oscar Massin’s patented setting techniques, including one called lacework as well as a filigree motif that recalls the threads of a couture gown.
The collection, which is currently available on the brand’s website while Luximpact evaluates wholesale opportunities, starts at around $1,000 retail and, for the time being, maxes out at around $30,000.
“Our closest friends and partners recognize it’s a beautiful story,” says de Narp. “It’s a beautiful adventure.”
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