Verger

Verger Frères was founded, in Paris in 1872, by Ferdinand Verger (1851- 1928).  He served his apprenticeship as a watchmaker and went on to specialise in women’s watches. He became an agent for Vacheron Constantin in 1875.  For over 60 years he made cases and jewels set with movements supplied by Vacheron Constantin and is credited with making two of the famous Tsar’s eggs.

Verger registered his apple tree and F.V. maker’s mark in 1896 and moved to the Place des Victoires. His two sons, Georges and Henri, joined the business in 1911 and changed the maker’s mark from F.V. (Ferdinand Verger) to V.F. (Verger Frères). They moved to 51, rue Sainte Anne and on December 1, 1920Ferdinand Verger signed over the business to his sons in 1921 by which time they were employing over two hundred specialist craftsmen including goldsmiths, mounters, enamellers, engravers, lapidaries, diamond polishers, crimpers, carvers, gouacheurs, lacquerers, founders, case makers and watchmakers.  They were renowned for the quality of their pieces. Their attention to detail, exquisite workmanship, use of the finest gems and originality of design ensured huge success. Georges designed the majority of pieces, however he was also known to have collaborated with some of the most exceptional names of the early 20th century, developing partnerships with Paul-Frederic Follot, architect Eric Bagge, poster artist André Mourlot (Cassandre), sculptor Lambert Rucki and jewellery designers Maurice Duvallet and Juliette Moutard. With regards to art, Verger Frères collaborated with many famous craftsmen of the time such as Edmond Becker (engraver), Vladimir Makovski (lacquered mosaiste), René Lalique (glassmaker), Fernand Paillet (miniaturist). They became leading innovators in clock and objet d’art design.

The firm was known to many as the ‘jeweller’s jeweller’ because they supplied so many of the top jewellery firms.  Verger didn’t create pieces to the designs provided by their clients but sold their own original designs to retailers.  During the 1920s and ‘30s Verger created jewellery and timepieces for fine jewellery houses in Paris, America and across Europe including Cartier, Lacloche Frères, Boucheron, Van Cleef & Arpels, Chaumet, Mauboussin, Hermès, Ostertag, Gübelin, Dreiher, Tiffany & Co., Trabert & Hoeffer, Black, Starr & Frost, Marcus & Co, Charlton & Co. and Bulgari. Many works by Verger go unrecognised today as they often bear the name of the retailer. The quality of workmanship and design sometimes the VF mark can alert a keen admirer to the origin of a piece.

Amongst their clients were the most famous names of the day, couture models such as Lucien Lelong to sportswomen like Suzanne Leglen and Hélène Boucher, royalty as of the Russian princesses Natacha Palley, French Baba of Faucigny-Lucinge, Duchess of Westminster and Princess de Broglie to writers like Colette and Anne de Noailles, industrialists like Captain Barnato, founder of Bentley, politicians like Winston Churchill to explorers like Freddie Spencer Chapman and millionaires like the wealthy Greek ship owner Onassis, were all admirers of the Maison’s work. In Hollywood, Verger Frères' pieces would come to be worn by the first stars of the cinema such as Joan Crawford, Paulette Godard, Katherine Hepburn, Claudette Colbert, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Dolores Del Rio, Anne May Wong, Merle Oberon, Mae West, Sonja Henie and Gloria Swanson.

Between 1935 and 1945 the company was named Georges Verger & fils, remaining in the Verger family during the 40s and 50s, when they created Retro style jewels in gem-set, 18ct yellow gold, with bold scrolling profiles. From 1945 to 1979 the company was Verger & Cie. In 1980 the business was bought by Georges L’Enfant. In 2003 it was acquired by Atelier Bouder who have dedicatedly reconstructed the company’s heritage via the extensive archives of drawings and models.

With thanks to Hancocks, Verger Frères website and Lang Antique Jewelry University

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