From tableware to jewellery to home decor, renowned French brand Christofle creates inimitable pieces of silversmith and objects that endure from generation to generation
“We don’t need to reinvent our history, we have it for real,” says Emilie Metge Viargues, CEO of French brand Christofle, manufacturer and retailer of high-end tableware, jewellery and accessories for nearly 200 years. “From being a supplier to the Emperor, to playing a part in French history during the war, to decorating the roof of the Opéra Garnier, to supplying French embassies abroad, we are part of France’s DNA.”
Today, under the ownership of the Chalhoub Group, whose association with the company dates back to 1955, Christofle has boutiques across Europe and Asia, as well as at Harrods and Selfridges in the UK. Its tableware is favoured by many royal households across the world, but its story began in 1830 when a Parisian jeweller, Charles Christofle, assumed control of the jewellery workshop owned by his wife’s family. An innovator and visionary, he introduced pioneering new techniques such as electrolyctic gilding in the production of silverware. Christofle’s reputation for excellence, elegance and luxury soared. Such was the brand’s prestige that it blurred the lines between craft and art. It boasted collaborations with artists – including Man Ray, Jean Cocteau and Gio Ponti – a tradition that continues today.
Whether it is cutlery, a vase or a napkin ring, each object is rich with narrative and symbolism, and has enduring appeal. “Luxury is something you can pass on,” says Emilie Metge Viargues. “Whatever you buy these days, if the objects don’t have value, heritage or know-how, you won’t be leaving anything to your children. Christofle objects are handed down over generations.”
In 2022, at Emilie Metge Viargues’ instigation, the brand underwent a relaunch: a “retro-futurist” undertaking, highlighting its heritage, but with a twist of modernity. Green was reintroduced to packaging, as well as a distinctive, elegant cursive script for the Christofle signature. The company’s boutique concept has also had a rethink, with cutlery – Christofle’s absolute savoir-faire – showcased in sumptuous dark-wood display cases lined in green velvet. At the heart of the boutique, pieces are displayed as “Art on the Table”, facing the restored portrait of Charles Christofle. “With the founder Charles Christofle back in our team’s thoughts, our history and know-how has taken on its full meaning,” says Emilie.