Techniques and craftsmanship
Each piece is produced in small series by hand, in a Parisian workshop, following traditional jewellery-making. The jewels are hallmarked to certify French fabrication and guarantee the metal content.
The materials used are non-allergenic and long-lasting: sterling silver, vermeil and fine stones (spinels, moonstones, amethysts, labradorites). The chains and clasps are supplied by the oldest casting houses in Paris and Florence.
Cut, hammered, shaped or laminated, each piece is made from sterling silver wire and plates. A balanced gesture is the secret of savoir-faire. The result depends on the hammering, its rhythm and intensity whilst imprinting the metal in a unique fashion.
This technique also maintains the metal’s suppleness. Heated to a certain degree, the silver softens then hardens again under the hammer blows. It is all about adjusting the gesture, giving the jewel its shape, its imprint and its bearing, whilst maintaining its malleability so as to obtain adjustable pieces which fit the body.
Vermeil jewellery are made from silver pieces upon which is applied a 5 microns layer of gold, using a technique called galvanoplasty (or electrolysis). Silver and gold tend to merge, as the paler silvery glints, with time, mix with the warmer sheen of gold and gain a harmonious patina.
Understanding the difference between precious and costume jewellery
Magali Paris jewellery is solely made of silver 925 and vermeil.
Vermeil : Silver 925 coated with a minimum 5 microns thick 750‰ gold layer.
Silver 925 : Silver, too soft and malleable to be used in its purest form, mixed with other metals such as copper, to increase its rigidity and its bearing. Silver 925, or 1st title, is an alloy containing at least 92,5 % pure silver. Below this percentage, the mention "silver" is not authorised in France.
Plating : Gold or silver applied on a non-precious metal. In France, the mention “plating” is authorized when the thickness is 3 microns at least.
Fine gold plating : A common expression in costume jewellery which actually designates a non-precious metal – most often brass or copper – coated with a thin layer of gold (0,5 microns, in other word 10 times thinner than for vermeil).
The maker’s mark
Magali Paris’s logo is its maker’s mark.
It is a personal marking, stamped by the master goldsmith in order to guarantee the metal content of the precious jewel.
It is composed with the goldsmith’s initials and a unique personal motif - a diamond-shaped ring for French fabrication, an oval one for imports.
Once the jewel stamped, the Master is deemed responsible and the object’s provenance is certified. Precious objects alone are stamped.
The first makers’ marks appeared during the Middle Ages, the most ancient are known to date back to the 13th century.
THE vertues of silver
Bactericidal and germicidal, silver is a natural antibiotic used since High Antiquity as a remedy and a preservation agent.
The Macedonians used to apply it to their wounds. Hippocrates prescribed it to heal open wounds. The Egyptians and the Romans put some in water or food recipients in order to slow down bacterial proliferation.
This method lasted for centuries, used during sea travels for instance. The tradition of tea, boiled water served in silver teapots, prevented British settlers from being contaminated.
These virtues are at the source of silver tumblers, given to newborns, or of the expression “to be born with a silver spoon in the mouth.”
THE HistoRY OF vermeil
As early as the Greek and the Roman Antiquity, objects and jewellery in plated silver can be found, preceding the creation of vermeil. Homer’s The Odyssey mentions techniques of folding and hammering.
The Incas invented a technique of superimposition of metals. Gold symbolised the Sun god and silver his wife, the goddess Moon. Numerous objects playing on this opposition were created for sacred rituals.
Vermeil, as we today know it, was invented in 18th century France.
With time, silver and gold tend to merge, silver’s paler glints blending with the warmer shine of gold.