Photo Courtesy of Marchak JewelersMy recent interview with Marchak at their private salon in Paris, France defined for me what sets this jeweler apart from the others. This intimate line adds unique and delicate details to their creations, while the history and legacy of the Marchak name embodies its genesis.
What’s in a name? For the House of Marchak the name is everything, as it not only demands continued prestigious creations devoted to their client’s expectations, but also the respect to uphold their Tsar-like reputation, homage to their Russian roots.
"He had nothing to begin with but reached the heights of fame and he was soon called 'the Cartier of Kiev,' then outright rival of the illustrious Faberge," speaking of founder Joseph Marchak (right) explained by Countess Dominique de Blanchard, head of development at Marchak. Due to the Russian Revolution, the Marchak family fled to Paris to start a new life, smuggling with them under their clothes the last of their creations, and those of Faberge.
As a personal favor requested by the Faberge family, the virtuous Marchaks brought with them some valued Faberge jewels over to France and kept their word by returning them to the awaiting rightful owners of Faberge (who had also fled from Russia around that time).
For almost 150 years now, Marchak has been creating objects for royalty, chiefs of state, and collectors. "All official gifts presented by Tsar Nicolas II in Kiev for the 300th anniversary of the Romanov’s Royal House bore his signature," proudly explains Blanchard of Joseph Marchak. House of Marchak continued with a noble clientele when in the 1960’s King Hassan II of Morocco commissioned them "to create and elaborate the official and private gifts. For example, the nephrite jade display unit given as a gift by the King to Mrs. Charles de Gaulle," reveals designer Marie Christine de Ribet with a worthy smile as she shows me the momentous photos.
I study the black and white photos on the walls of the hallway leading to their Russian red salon. I share her reverence as I stare at a picture of President Dwight Eisenhower holding a hunting gun bejeweled by Marchak and gifted to him by King Hassan II. The President peering down the barrel as if aiming to shoot; just his way of admiring the meaningful gift. King Hassan is beside the President as he stands in this position; both formally dressed in a suit and tie in a stately office. I gaze at this photo and feel like I have experienced a part of this history. This is the feeling you have when you wear Marchak.
Designer Ribet explains how sometimes a significant gemstone is purchased, not for its scale, but rather for its beauty, even if there is no placement for it within a design at the time of purchase. The House of Marchak prefers these rare and unique stones of quality, not necessarily the size. Gems are kept away, sometimes for years, until Ribet is inspired for its destined home within a design. Although they may make a piece of jewelry up to five times, the colors and sizes will always vary, thus each a one of a kind.
Frankly, the extraordinary jewelry speaks for itself. The use of various colored precious stones and the assorted, and often humorous, fine jewelry designs are true conversation pieces. From classic floral and butterfly motifs to eggplants and mink hedgehogs, Marchak clearly has something for all ladies who desire a new ornament. Ribet continues, "what is extremely important for us is a secret detail within the piece," encouraging me to more carefully examine the furry little animal I hold in the palm of my hand.
Today, Marchak is owned by descendant Dr. Daniel Marchac, a renowned surgeon in France. As one of the final heirs to Joseph Marchak in Paris, his desire as owner of Marchak Jewelers is ultimately personal: to preserve the respected heritage of an imperial Russian name as a high-end internationally acclaimed bijoutier.
In honor of their ancestry, Marchak opened a boutique in Moscow at the luxurious Hotel Ukraina. You can also find some Marchak treasures through select jewelers in China, South Korea, and in the U.S. The Parisian salon is by appointment only, so when visiting, please give my regards to my new friends there.
All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love. -Leo Tolstoy