Rene Bolvin, goldsmith and engraver
, started his firm in 1890 after buying out several workshops such as Soufflot or Marret.
In 1893, Bolvin married Jeanne Poiret, sister of famous fashion designer Paul Poiret, at which time they acquired several more workshops. Together they moved to 38 rue de Turbigo in Paris. Their first clients were Mellerio and Boucheron.
By 1905, Boivin no longer needed to produce work for other firms. They were busy creating jewelry for a small loyal group of clients. He was best known for floral-motif and gemstone jewelry
. Later, Boivin became audacious with his work which included bestiary realistic and mythological animal miniatures. It also included a series of cats. He ignored the Art Nouveau trends and created chunky pieces influenced by Egyptian, Syrian and Persian designs. Although not well received at the time, these designs became popular after his death in 1917.
After his death and during World War I, Jeanne, his wife took over the Boivin business. She hired Louis Girard to manage the firm and then hired Suzanne Vuillerme as her designer, who worked for the firm until 1931. Later, Juliette Moutard came to design for Boivin’s from 1931-1975. Her daughter, Germain, also began designing for the firm in 1938.
The best known designs by Boivin’s were created by these women. Although never signed, their pieces were unique and distinctive enough that everyone knew they were a Boivin cutting edge design.
Art Deco was popular at the time but they created sizeable bold pieces of jewelry as well as simple Assyrian swirls. The designers used yellow gold and preferred working with semi-precious gemstones and materials such as ebony, sandlewood and tiger skin. Their designs included angels, mermaids and unicorns which became widely popular in the 1940’s and 1950’s.
The daughter, Germain, took over the business when her mother retired. In late 1976, the business sold to Jacques Bernard who had been working with Boivin’s since 1964.
In 1991, Boivin’s sold to the Asprey Group.