René Talmon L'Armée

17.February 2015

Sometimes it's the object who draws me, sometimes it's the artisan.

It was the image of René, at work in his jewelery box which drew me. I just passed the shop, and didn't take note of the name or address. I was new to Berlin and didn't know the streets yet.

Then I decided to meet him. I walked back and forth along the streets of Mitte and couldn't find him.

Then a bit over a year later, I moved around the corner. Now I pass and admire his shop, his style all the time.

I still haven't looked at the jewelry.

What impresses me is the care he takes in bejeweling even the outside of the shop, with care, humor, and real creativity.

... Barricaded for months under a scaffolding, René elevated the humble scaffold bars with gold foil adornments. At Christmas, he leached the romance of the store into the street, bejeweling the sidewalk with a pendant of mistletoe.

He only works with Black Diamonds, a material so strange no one can decide if they have any value or not. (And they're not black.)

I became slightly obsessed with this idea, as it seems to echo the feelings people have about me and much of the work I do.

I begged him to remake some earrings for me with black diamonds. He wasn't interested in the project. I got schooled. He wants to make art.

He also did not want to be interviewed. As the only jeweler to be included in my book, he held a high honor, which he didn't bother with.