Messieurs Carponcy and Chervin merged their names and talents to create a uniquely French jewelry presence in the Big Apple, and a reputation that’s as brilliant today as it was a half-century ago.
It All Began in Paris
Andre Chervin came from a long line of French jewelers. When it was his turn to follow in his forefathers’ footsteps, he eagerly complied, learning his trade in Paris, studying under the careful eye of master jewelers, and working as a model maker.
In 1954, Chervin ventured across the Atlantic and took a position as a bench jeweler for Louis Feron, a French-born sculptor, chaser, gold- and silversmith, whose workshop in New York City was renowned for its talent. It was there that Chervin began a friendship with a fellow Frenchman named Serge Carponcy. Chervin and Carponcy were struck by the fact that both arrived in America after apprenticing under master jewelers in Paris.
The pair decided to form their own partnership and founded Carvin French Jewelers, located at 16 East 52nd Street in Manhattan. They arrived at the name “Carvin” by taking the first three letters of “Carponcy” and the last three letters of “Chervin.” Both agreed, given their strong roots, that “French” must also be included in the name of their firm.
Together, the two former Parisians created a jewelry style that combined French panache with an American flair. The public responded enthusiastically to the jewels produced by the partners, and soon Carvin had amassed a following that truly appreciated the quality and exquisite craftsmanship that went into each piece.
Bringing Old World Style to NYC
At the time, American jewelers were using casting and other techniques to mass-produce jewelry. The classic jewelry training Chervin and Carponcy experienced gave them an edge over their competitors. The two were also master enamellists, a skill that was seldom seen in American jewelry.
The atelier continued to grow and expand, and soon it was necessary to bring in more talent. The New York shop employed some of the finest jewelers and specialized craftsmen from around the globe.
The Jeweler’s Jeweler
Early on, the firm produced jewelry for Verdura, Raymond Yard, and Donald Claflin, eventually supplying to all the major jewelry firms, including Cartier, Black, Starr & Frost, Tiffany, Bulgari, Asprey, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Harry Winston. Its reputation for supplying some of the most prestigious jewelry houses in the world earned Carvin the nickname, “The Jeweler’s Jeweler.”
Chervin and Carponcy used their skills as master enamellists and craftsmen to construct each piece using the finest materials. Their jewelry was fashioned in fine platinum and 18 karat gold with generous helpings of diamonds and precious color gemstones with fantastic attention to detail that is evident in every piece. Over the years, Carvin French has created a breathtaking assortment of necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings, brooches, and cufflinks, as well as decorative objects.
In 1983, Serge Carponcy made the decision to retire, leaving Andre Chervin as the company’s CEO. Several Chervin family members have joined Carvin French Jewelers, continuing the tradition of fine design and quality craftsmanship established by the master jewelers who came before.
Many of the best-known pieces from Carvin French feature boisterous designs with large, vibrant gemstones that take - and hold - center stage. While these may be the mainstay, others capture the imagination for their playful designs and intricate details…A mother and child pink flamingo brooch, decorated with pink diamonds, standing in a patch of demantoid garnets. A brooch featuring a trio of bejeweled chicks. A dome ring decorated in swirls of blue enamel and studded with a bezel-set diamond and colorful turquoise. It’s easy to see why Americans were taken with the distinctive style and beautiful abundance of Carvin French jewels.
A Feline Identity
The hallmark of Carvin French Jewelers is “Maxi Cat,” a seated feline with its long tail wrapped around its body. The mark helps identify the jewels produced by the House.