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Marc Robbez Masson…his career path…caught between two trades!

One could indeed use the word destiny, with gem-cutter great grand-parents Eugénie &  Joseph Burderon at the beginning of the XXth century, and grand-parents, Juliette & Luc Robbez Masson. From 1910 to 1930, his grand-parents, living in the heights of Jura province in l’Amoura, were farmers in summer and gem-cutters at the farm in winter! On February 23, 1936 at age fourteen, his father, Marcel Robbez Masson enters the ADAMAS cooperative in Chassal until 1940 where he goes underground to escape forced labour in Germany.
1946, he leaves for Morocco, hired by another Jura resident. Very quickly he sets up his own diamant-cutting firm and later a Gem-cutting workshop, the SOBIHOR.

1962, he returns to France, to Mende in Lozère province where he creates a jewellery works with his wife, Gisèle Robbez Masson, which today, under the authority of their other son, is the leading firm in this line of trade…
An yet, Marc is hesitant. He is attracted by the restaurant business (culinary art is still a passion!). But it’s at the Rue du Louvre school in Paris where he is enrolled in 1973 and confirms his apprenticeship in a large Parisian workshop where he obtains his two professional diplomas in “Jewellery & Gem-cutting”. He discovers Corsica in the summer of 1974 and the Mediterranean sun suits him much better than the grey skies of Paris! 

1975, he settles in Porto Vecchio where he discovers shop sales and direct customer relations for whom he creates his first pieces in his workshop.

End 1980, he opens the coral-cutting works. Until then, coral harvested in Corsica was cut in Torre del Greco, the site of supply for the Robbez Masson family business; there was a great desire to compete with the Torre workshops!
A teacher friend and young students of the Art Institute of this coral world capital contribute their know-how in Marc’s workshop. But… the knowledge about raw coral and mastering the cutting of this very singular substance is long and difficult to acquire, all the more so since his training as jeweller is quite different from that of gem-cutter. After a few years, it’s better to work the coral in the Torre workshops with which Marc creates partnerships and close relations…

 

The Coral-cutting works, today…

Following these long years, the coral-cutting skill is acquired, but the mass production of pieces proves to be difficult, if not impossible, for various reasons that Marc cannot delve into here.
The Porto Vecchio workshop is reduced to two work stations during renovation of the sales area. In 2003 the creation of new models and special cutting such as assembly or adjustment for gem pieces are executed on-site. All mass-produced or commercial pieces and pearls are executed by the Italian partners. The mass production of gem jewellery is executed at a French plant installed in Portugal. Unique hand-made pieces are produced on-site or in France by experienced Gem-cutters.
For the past five years, Erica Robbez Masson has joined her father to assist him. No specific position, unless we consider sales:  in this craftsman’s family business, she’ll have to master all areas!  Within the framework of its expansion, the Coral-cutting works opened a new boutique in the Porto Vecchio old historic town.

 

Code of Ethics…

Master all aspect in order to attain perfection through the love of work well done! Whether it is liked or not, the jewel must be executed according to the rules of the trade.  
Although gem-cutting is a traditional legacy, it is not archaic for all that. It’s an artistic craft that was marked by the passage of all eras!
The development of new techniques, the renewal of trends, the passion for raw materials, all nourish a creative spirit.

With an artistic vision and perfectionist ideal, being confronted with the grim realities of the business world, changes in consumer demands, the sarcasms of globalization, can lead one want to abandon it all, but the passion sharply pulls back the reins!

 

 
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