My little story
Being a jeweler is a natural thing for me. Indeed, my grandfather, Jacques MONIQUET, will remain as a true model.
After two successive failures to bachelor degree, my grandfather came to look for me, to save me...
In the footsteps of my grandfather
I grew up by his side. I have always been surrounded by this atmosphere of metal, the sounds of the forge and the bell that rang in his workshop when a customer walked through the door of his shop. With his workshop next to his jewelry shop in Les Baux-de-Provence, everyone could see that my grandfather worked alone, in this place of work where tools, silver wire and prototypes of all kinds were cleverly arranged.
I am sure that doing as he did was always on my mind.
That's how I explain a more than unpleasant school career for my mother... but I already knew deep down inside that I wanted to take over this family know-how.
Learning to be a silver jeweler
At the beginning of my apprenticeship, things were not simple. Making a bracelet or a ring, of course... but making a beautiful silver ring or a pendant whose curves and shape I liked took me a very long time.
Especially since my master was a perfect autodidact. His ways of working, his tools... everything was out of his head and his many encounters with sculptors, plumbers, lathe-millers or even an aerospace engineer.
But that is why his creations have always pleased, because they are his own, they are different and very neat. I remain firmly convinced that this difference in creativity is an essential ingredient for success in an art profession, and it is what stimulates me a lot on a daily basis.
I also tried to pass a Professional Degree in the art of jewellery and gems, excuse the pun. But three months got the better of me and I gave up. I quickly put an end to it because I felt that I was learning much more by practicing with my teacher from Les Baux-de-Provence...
My leitmotiv is "handmade".
It's an expression that is a bit overused in jewellery today, but in my opinion it's fundamental. In my world, nothing is industrial or serial. Sometimes I've thought of wanting to make a mould of a small heart or another shape, and thus no longer have to make them individually. But this way does not correspond to my philosophy, nor to the values I have been transmitted.
The cold forging technique that I use is more laborious but also rarer (I think that there are no more than four or five jewellers in France using it), I have the opportunity to offer a more exceptional and precious manual work, to which I am very attached.
Detail is important
The fact that you can feel the hammer blows, or a defect that a jeweller could consider as a mistake, well precisely, I like these "accidents" that make each piece produced in the workshop is unique and authentic.
Everything must be done with love, I must love what comes out of my workshop before proposing it to our customers. If a piece made in my workshop does not meet this requirement, it is systematically melted down.
I make all the jewellery in solid silver (925, 950, rhodium...), only from wires of different diameters and profiles. I forge them, I shape them, I cut them, sometimes I braze them, I file them and then I polish them for a long time. For this purpose, I obtain high quality silver wire from a precious metal counter in Marseille.
From time to time, I bring back to them the scraps and scraps of metal that they transform into beautiful new threads. Nothing is lost, everything is transformed...
Simplicity as art
In my workshop, there is no 3D printer, laser or other such modern machine. I only have a few hammers, a saw, an anvil and a polishing table.
I like this concept of simplicity, and besides it is reflected in my jewelry creations, aiming at a unique and timeless design. We could mention the example in the picture above, the mixed bracelet model " Marie-Colette ", that my grandfather always made but whose bases I reworked.
Making jewelry is not the big deal, and I would even say that it's the easiest when you like to spend your time in the shelter of the workshop. The tricky part is selling them...
For that, I'm very lucky to own a small village house in a sunny region; a small house in Maussane-les-Alpilles in the heart of Provence, in which I lived until I was a teenager.
Funny anecdote: I remember drawing the front with "Moniquet" written roughly on it. A premonition!
The shop in Maussane
On May 18, 2012, I opened my own shop there, after having worked there for more than six years with my grandfather. Before that and to understand how lucky I was, I tried my luck again - believing the grass was greener elsewhere - abroad. It was notably in New Zealand, during a trip on a sailboat flying the Swedish flag, that I had to learn the famous bow tie that you can now find in many of my creations. It is always with great emotion that I think back on this trip which allowed me to understand that my true home was in the heart of the Alpilles...
If I had to borrow money to buy a business and pay rent, things would have been a lot tougher. Those who have this courage are respected.
From the opening, it was a success. I am of course aware that I benefited from my grandfather's name and reputation. So I didn't have to wait long to be able to make a living from it.
It was also at the opening that I met Claire, who welcomes you today with such kindness in the boutique. She is the link between you and me!
Let's do ourselves a favor
One of the main keys to the success of any business is the relationship you have with your customers. We are here for you. For me, the customer relationship has to be at the top, just like what we offer them as jewelry, and we put all our heart into it.
We bring a lot of care and service included with each sale, like changing the color cords, refurbishing or repairs...
This job saved my life. Without the jewelry, I wonder where I'd be. Having happy and satisfied customers is my greatest happiness.
Before I started, I didn't think I would be able to invent new shapes, new jewellery, develop my own style... but finally finding yourself alone in the arena makes you grow unsuspected wings, and with perseverance everything happens.
The key, as in many things, is to dare and above all to confront your fears. Nothing is more constructive than to go against them, you have everything to gain!
Being a jeweller means wanting to please, and that's my job.