One of France's most historic jewelers is being revitalized by a former Cartier executive

One of France's most historic jewelers is being revitalized by a former Cartier executive
Courtesy of Oscar Massin Jewelry 

A lab-grown diamond is being used to bring Oscar Massin back to life by Frédéric de Narp.

In 1829, Oscar Massin became a jewelry apprentice at the age of 12, when he was just 12 years old in Liège, Belgium. When Massin was 22, he moved to Paris and worked as a bench jeweler on the Place Vendôme where he earned a reputation for excellence in both design and craftsmanship.

At the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1867, Massin received the gold medal for showing his work under his own name for the first time. As a result of his eponymous atelier's establishment in 1863, he held his own among contemporaries like Frédéric Boucheron and Louis-François Cartier.

But after his death in 1913, Massin's name fell by the wayside—until now. With a new collection of elaborate jewels featuring climate-neutral, lab-grown Latitude diamonds produced by WD Diamonds, located in the Washington, D.C. area, Luximpact, a Paris-based company that revives historic French jewelry labels, recasts Oscar Massin's legacy for 21st century buyers.

Founder and creative director Sandrine de Laage tells Rich Report that Oscar Massin was a diamond reformer. "We believe he would do what we're doing if he were alive today," she says.

Courtesy of Oscar Massin Jewelry 

In addition to De Laage, Frédéric de Narp, a luxury veteran whose resume includes executive positions at Bally, Cartier and Harry Winston, and Coralie de Fontenay, a luxury marketing and development director (de Narp and de Fontenay are co-founders and co-CEOs) are partners at Luximpact).

According to de Narp, a 24-year-old who declined to be named felt that the brand reminded her of the quality of her mother's jewels but spoke more to the values of her generation. Kate Hudson and celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe also invested in the new company.

Courtesy of Oscar Massin Jewelry 

It isn't just marketing hype that Massin is considered a diamond pioneer. He is best known for his filigree setting that simulates the look of lace by setting diamonds in gold. According to de Laage, "This very delicate, very feminine aspect of his work is the inspiration for our first collection."

It has three pillars: Lace Flower relies on the use of negative space to create light, airy designs that evoke couture threads and is currently priced between $1,000 and $30,000. There are visible prongs on the Beaded collection, which add dimension and texture to the pieces. One of the collection's most noteworthy designs, a 2-carat emerald-cut ring, gives the impression that the prongs are piercing the diamond, according to de Laage.

According to De Narp, Luximpact uses lab-grown diamonds because of their traceability.

Courtesy of Oscar Massin Jewelry 

It is his experience that he speaks from. In collaboration with the Vever family, Luximpact recently acquired a minority stake in Vever, an Art Nouveau jewelry master. In addition to preserving rare French artisanal crafts (such as pliqué à jour enamel), Vever also uses innovative materials, such as lab-grown diamonds.

According to Narp, lab-grown diamonds push all brands to improve their value chains from extraction to retail. Only 25% of jewelry consumption in the luxury industry is branded; the rest is unbranded. Jewelry brands with lab-grown diamonds have a lot of room to grow, so there is a lot of room for branded jewelry. That's just a plus.