ChamartChamart was founded by Charles Martine, in the early 1950's, as an importer of fine French porcelains. They specialized in fine dinnerware, hand painted ceramics and crystal. It was not until 1965 that Chamart started developing Limoges boxes as pieces for the coffee table. The line developed slowly and over the last thirty five years has evolved into Limoges boxes as we know them today.
Chamart uses a number of small ateliers for the painting of their boxes working on the theory that no artist can be best at all things and so each atelier specializes in another variety of box, i.e. animals, flowers and so forth. Their entire production is hand painted, never a decal, never a transfer, never a stencil. The current Chamart president, Leny Davidson, has a rule, "No shortcuts at all, ever." Looking at their boxes it is quickly apparent that they are all completely hand painted.
At Chamart when a new box has been designed the molds are made and, as a general rule, not more than 10 for any one design. Chamart uses a mold a maximum of 85 times before discarding it and starting with a new mold. They limit their entire production of each design to no more than 850 maximum and sometimes fewer. They do not mark them as limited editions because Mrs. Davidson feels that a limited edition should consist of far fewer boxes, but, in a sense, all Limoges boxes are limited editions because whatever the amount made, the nature of making them limits the amount of production and on a world wide basis 850 pieces of one design is a minuscule amount.
One of their strongest areas of expertise is in flower boxes. (For some of their current collection of flowers go to "How Does Your Garden Grow" in our catalog.) They make them entirely by hand. Mrs. Davidson remarks, "We have a very old, very talented gentleman in France who makes each of our miniature flowerpots by hand. Not only are they limited by this process but each piece is different within the design. The handle is hand twisted, each flower is made by hand and then inserted by hand. The maximum for any of these pieces is 300."
Currently Chamart has more than 2500 boxes in their collection representing every conceivable category--holidays, religious boxes,hearts and heart related boxes, books, animals, vehicles, luggage, perfume boxes, etc. ad infinitum, all created with much detail and an emphasis on beauty. And one additional thing, tongue-in-cheek humor.
Decor Main Limoges France