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Raymond Templiers jewelry design drawings auctioned November 2021 ©Artnet

Raymond Templier & “Modern” Art Deco Jewelry

May 15, 2023 | art deco jewelry

Who was Raymond Templier?

Raymond Templier was a third generation French jeweler who worked in the 1920s and 1930s for his father at Maison Paul Templier et Fils in Paris. Member of a tight community of jewelers and graphic designers, Raymond Templier co-founded the Union des artistes modernes (UAM) and became known for his advocacy of mathematical precision in design. This resulted in highly cubist, geometric jewelry that reflected, and often incorporated elements of, the machine age.

Collection of cigarette cases by Templier | Art Deco Jewelry: Modernist Masterworks and their Makers
Cigarette cases by Templier | © Modernist Masterworks & their Makers

Read more about the Cubism in jewelry design and the “school of the straight line”.

Shop affordable contemporary costume jewelry inspired by Raymond Templier at the minusOne jewelry shop.

When did Raymond Templier make jewelry?

Raymond Templier is one of the most well-known jewelry designers of the 1920s and 1930s. He began work at his father’s Maison de Paul Templier et Fils in 1922 and continued to commission the execution of his design sketches until his death in 1968. His designs will likely be in production for years to come; 27 of Templier’s jewelry design drawings were auctioned in November 2021.

Read more about the Art Deco Jewelry timeline.

27 of Templier's design drawings were auctioned in November 2021; ©Artnet
©Artnet

The two designs above, originally drawn by Raymond Templier and produced and exhibited in 1925 at the renowned Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris, were recreated in 1966 at the artists’ request.

Image ABOVE LEFT: Originally drawn with lead pencil, ink, and gouache by Templier and produced and exhibited at the 1925 Paris Exposition. Pendant made from this drawing in 1925 was in platinum, enamel and diamonds.

Image ABOVE RIGHT: Originally drawn with lead pencil, ink, and gouache on tracing paper by Templier and produced and exhibited at the 1925 Paris Exposition. Bracelet made from this drawing in 1925 was in platinum, malachite and diamonds.

Who did Raymond Templier work with?

Raymond Templier was one of the Group of Five, aka the Chareau Group. Along with Templier, the Group of Five included: interior designers Pierre Chareau, André Domin (aka Dominique), and Marcel Genevriére, silversmith Jean Puiforcat, and bookbinder Pierre Legrain.

Templier was also a founding UAM member, so collaborated with other decorative artists and architects who were advocates of innovation in design, including Art Deco jewelry designers Jean Fouquet, Gérard Sandoz, and Gustave Miklos, and silversmith Jean Puiforcat.

Examples of Raymond Templier ring designs

Here are a few of Templier’s ring designs painted with gouache, an opaque watercolor paint that provides a flat, matte wash of bold color.

Some of the design work imagined by Templier and his team during his lifetime has been executed, and his drawings to this day provide inspiration for weddings, engagements, and formal events.

Templier and the African Art Movement

Templier commissioned Gustave Miklos, in particular, to design avant-garde, modernist jewelry reflecting African motifs and themes, then deemed L’Art Negra.

ABOVE LEFT: Clip by Miklos for Templier, c. 1937/1942

ABOVE CENTER, RIGHT: Pendant and pendant necklaces by Miklos for another jewelry house

Read more about other non-Western cultural influences on Art Deco jewelry.

What was the UAM?

UAM was the abbreviation for the French Union des artistes modernes, an organization that was co-founded in May of 1929 Raymond Templier and furniture designer and architect René Herbst in philosophical and political opposition to the Société des Artistes-Décorateurs (SAD).

The mission of UAM members was to “…rise up against everything that looks rich, against whatever is well made, and against anything inherited from grandmother…impose will where habit is not invoked…overcome the habit of the eyes.”

Members included decorative artists and architects who were advocates of innovation in design, including jewelry designers Jean Fouquet, Gérard Sandoz, Gustave Miklos, and Raymond Templier (founding member), and silversmith Jean Puiforcat. UAM members participated annually in the Salon d’Automne.

The UAM was active until 1959.

What are Raymond Templier’s most famous jewelry designs?

Raymond Templier is perhaps best known for the jewelry designs he made for the movies. Hollywood star Brigitte Helm wore his designs in the movie L’Argent (trans. Money) in a 1928 film by Marcel L’Herbier, with writer Emile Zola.

ABOVE LEFT, CENTER: Brigitte Helm wearing Raymond Templier

ABOVE RIGHT: Raymond Templier headdress for the movie L’Argent

Because there so many designs, Templier is also known for his cigarette cases.

Templier cigarette case, c. 1930.
c. 1930

His cases might be mistaken for those made by his contemporary, Gerard Sandoz.

What materials did Raymond Templier use in his jewelry?

Raymond Templier was undoubtedly old-school in his use of materials, and many of his legacy jewelry designs incorporate the most expensive materials: diamonds, gold, and platinum. He sometimes used semi-precious stones like onyx, lapis lazuli, coral, and jade, and often relied on rhodium plating and lacquer to add texture.

ABOVE LEFT: Silver, platinum, diamond bracelet, c. 1930

ABOVE RIGHT: Emerald, lapis, diamond ring c. 1930

Young jewelers, in fact, joined the UAM Templier co-founded to create with less expensive materials to make jewelry more accessible to the general buying public than the trend in art jewelry design at the time: precious materials like platinum and gold, and precious gems (diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, and rubies).

Read more about the use of diamonds and other precious gems in Art Deco jewelry.

What colors did Templier use in his jewelry designs?

Raymond Templier is better known for his Cubist geometries and experimentation with light and dark than his exploration of color. He did sometimes use quintessential Art Deco color combinations of red and black, and green and black. However, Templier’s designs are most often monotone, relying on silver metals like greyed gold and platinum, white stones like diamonds and rock crystal, and black onyx.

Templier seemed very much a part of the jewelry design scene that trended toward bijoux blanc (trans. white jewelry).

Examples of Templier’s more colorful jewelry designs

Examples of Templier’s bijoux blanc

Platinum and diamond bracelet by Raymond Templier, c. 1932

ABOVE: Bracelet in platinum and diamonds, c. 1932.

ABOVE: Bracelet in platinum and diamonds, 1935. Part of a parure, with clip at right.

Woman wearing jewelry by Raymond Templier | Art Deco Jewelry Modernist Masterworks and their Makers

ABOVE: Templier bracelets, necklace photographed early 1930s.

Examples of Templier’s monotone cuffs

ABOVE: Bracelet in grey gold, silver and lacquer, 1928.

ABOVE: Bracelet in grey gold, silver and lacquer, 1927.

ABOVE LEFT: Bracelet in silver and laquer, 1927. ABOVE RIGHT: Bracelet in silver and enamel, 1929.

ABOVE: Bracelet in grey gold, silver and lacquer, 1927.

Photographs published in Art Deco Jewelry: Modernist Masterworks and their Makers.

Raymond Templier and the UAM

As a leader of the modernist coalition that was UAM, Raymond Templier attracted criticism for the dominance of machinism and mathematical abstraction in his designs, and in the first half of the 1930s came the anti-UAM call: “down with Cubist Europe!”

A large and comprehensive book about the UAM. 575 pages with text in French and profusely illustrated with black and white illustrations and some color plates. Published 1986
©1stDibs

ABOVE: Book about the UAM, published 1986 |

He showcased his modernist bent as a UAM member at the Salon de la Lumière in 1935, and a three-dimensional sign was created by René Herbst for the exhibition.

Signs like this one reflect the close relationship between the era’s graphic artists and jewelers like Templier.

Advertising for Raymond Templier: In praise of ‘modern jewelry’

Beginning in 1924, Paul Templier published a full-page advertisement of his son Raymond’s designs in the annual catalog for the Salon des Artistes Décorateurs in praise of ‘modern jewelry’.

ABOVE LEFT: Cover of Salon Des Artistes Decorateurs, 1924, by Jean Dupas
ABOVE RIGHT: Living Room, Paris, circa 1928. Salon of the Société des Artistes

Raymond’s father took out one advertising brochure in particular celebrating (and selling) his son’s jewelry during the Christmas 1928 season, just a few months before UAM was established.

The brochure points to designs by Raymond, and execution by his father and the House of Templier & Sons, where a team of 30 people were employed in Paris.

Advertising in the 1920s was fueled by innovations in graphic design and font craft as well as systems of production and distribution. Advertisers wrote marketing copy that gave a sense of the spirit of the age, as well as the romantic sensibilities of its readers.

What is Modernist Jewelry? A manifesto

Modernist jewelry was defined in a nearly political advertisement for Raymond Templier in a 1925 brochure titled Qu’Est Ce Qu’Un Bijoux Moderne? The answer includes references to the most exciting moments of the Art Deco era, like the flight of Charles Lindbergh, alongside technological advancements in plating and mechanics. Modernist Jewelry aspires, philosophically and design-wise, to balance art and machine.

The significance of the Bijoux Moderne leaflet, included as an insert in issue no. 11 of the journal Arts et Métiers graphiques (trans. Graphic Arts and Crafts), is indicated by the fact that the journal’s publication date is the very same day the UAM was established by Templier himself.

Brochure advertisers a collection by Art Deco jewelry designer Raymond Templier
Brochure advertisers a collection by Art Deco jewelry designer Raymond Templier

The brochure was designed as a work of art in its own right, and a manifesto of the UAM. Templier’s jewelry was photographed by Laure Albin-Guillot, and the layout was designed by Cassandre. The lyrical text describing their mission in support of the marriage of art and technology was written and signed by stout modernist Blaise Cendras.

English Translation of Blaise Cendras’ Qu’Est Ce Qu’Un Bijoux Moderne?

The whole world understood Lindbergh’s achievement.

In a world championship, 100,000 spectators know how to judge a punch.

In a car race, 25,000 amateurs applaud the best time of the day, even if it is only a matter of [being the best by] a fifth of a second.

Every kid today plays with the wireless [radio] and has fun receiving a long wave message on the short waves.

It all shows the extent to which modernity — with its questions of precision, speed, energy, fragmentation of time, diffusion in space — has infused the general sensibility of [the Art Deco era].

That’s why jewelry — this product of vision and of matter, of sensibility and emotion, of precision, of virtuosity, of technique informed by research and trends and the general evolution of aesthetics and era — that’s why contemporary jewelry can only logically be MODERNIST JEWELRY.

What is MODERNIST JEWELRY?

Jewelry is not a bolt that you mount on a pin.

It is not a ball-bearing that you put under glass in a salon.

It is not the longitudinal cross-section of an airplane motor, nor some nickel-plated gears swimming in a lubricating soup of electricity.

It is not a luminous fountain, nor the Eiffel Tour, nor the incandescent pearls of advertisement.

Modern Jewelry is the reflection of all these things, it is the keystone of them.

It is the weight on the eye’s scale,

The metal at right angles to it,

The world at both ends of the sight line,

A look,

A shiver,

The emotion,

The joy, the breath, the spark,

The launch, the trigger-point,

Ovoid, helix, spiral,

Chrome, platinum,

Living, being.

It is the jewel of RAYMOND TEMPLIER, as he designed it, as he conceived it, as he created it.

On one’s finger, around one’s neck, in one’s heart.

trans. by Carol Critchlow Davis, PhD., with help from the author

How much do Raymond Templier’s designs cost today?

Current listings for Art Deco era jewelry designed by renowned jewelers like Raymond Templier are available for anywhere from $20,000 to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Depending on the quality of the materials, a brooch by Raymond Templier could list for $20,000 to $40,000. Bracelets and necklaces would fetch higher prices.

It is possible to know for sure what his designs fetch, but Artnet’s subscription rates are too high for my budget. If 1stDibs ever gets a listing, I’ll update the prices here.

Thanks for reading!

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