Georges & Jacques L’Enfant: The Father-Son Duo Behind A Century Of Designer Gold

woman wearing gold twisted rope link chain

The classic look of rich statement gold jewelry has risen once again in mod popularity. Smart and quintessential, you can more than likely thank Georges and Jacques L’Enfant for the refinement of the most fundamental jewelry pieces in modern fashion.

So, who are the jewelers behind the glittery gilded curtain?

(Pictured Above From Left To Right)1908 Cartier ad centering a necklace made by Georges L'Enfant, a close-up of the necklace, a carved French Bulldog with accents by Georges L'Enfant for Cartier in 1912

Born to jeweler parents, Georges proved to inherit the family gifts and was recognized for his talents by Boucheron at the age of 18 and by 1909 he was the Chainmaster Goldsmith for Cartier while also doing work for the likes of Boucheron and Verger-Feres.

In the nature of the family tradition of premature excellence, Georges son, Jacques, joined the trade at the ripe age of 11 in 1915.

Georges L'Enfant ad from 1920's displaying trademark with dapping die, wing and he letter G L 
(Pictured Above) Art Deco Era advertisement for Georges L'Enfant

Together, they opened their own shop in 1921 at 47 Rues Des-Petits-Champs, not far from their designer clientele at the notorious jewelry epicenter of Place Vendome.

(Pictured Above) A postcard of 47 Rue Des Petits-Champs

In the early days, Georges took on ownership of Maison Sandoz and Verger-Feres in addition to their designer patrons while Jacques took up apprenticeships under sculptures, enamellists and jewelers abroad.

(Pictured Above) Gold and jade Art Deco brooch by Georges L'Enfant 

After deployment in WWII, Jacques returned home ready to bring their shop into what he would later call “The Golden Years”

(Pictured Above) Carved citrine chevron mesh link bracelet for Gubelin, circa 1940's

Jacques developed a persistent interest with manipulating gold into the most intricate and unique patterns. 

(Pictured Above) Woven mesh bracelets, circa 1950's & 1965

Georges and Jacques developed the patterns and techniques most jeweler houses use today, having sold their patented designs to houses like Cartier, Hermes, and Tiffany.

After his fathers retirement.

(Pictured Above) Hermes ad featuring works by Georges L'Enfant, circa 1950 

Jacques continued the legacy under his trademark utilizing his affinity for innovative gold techniques. 

(Pictured Above) Woven basket weave gold bracelet by Georges L'Enfant, circa 1960's

Expanding their portfolio of notoriety, the Georges L'Enfant Maison designed and smithed for Bulgari, Boucheron, Mouboussin, Bouvin, Mellerio, Fred, Rouin, and Labarte.

(Pictured Above) Bracelets by L'Enfant exhibiting the Optical pattern technique developed and patented by Jacques, circa 1960

Known for their wonderfully woven and texturous gold design work, they are the true masterminds  and influence behind the Hermes anchor link, the Cartier panther link, Tiffany and VCA’s 60’s & 70’s optical swirling gold statement pieces and even Cartier's sought after 70’s zodiacs.

(Pictured Above) Examples of medallions by L'Enfant for Cartier, circa 1965 & 1970

Jacques, with his father in mind, wrote the book on gold chains (literally!) and brought chunky lavish gold work to the forefront of 20th century fashions.

(Pictured Above) The famous anchor link by Hermes, developed by Jacques in the 1960's

From chunky links to collars and brooches that appear woven out of delicate golden silk fibers.

(Pictured Above) Finely textured L'Enfant Bee Brooch, circa 1970's

Jacques would spend his later years guiding younger jewelers in their mason studios until his health would no longer allow. He retired from Georges L'Enfant in the 1980's and the L'Enfant trademark and mason was closed for good in 2003.

So next time you reach for that lavish link or plushily textured statement piece, think of the family roots that brought you those staples.