VIVO is a continually evolving collection of genuine shagreen & full-grain leather bags & small leather goods. Jewelry using genuine shagreen and buffalo horn round out the collection. Home accessories also utilize genuine exotic skins bringing the luxury of the materials into everyday use. All accessories are designed by Diane Castellan, handcrafted from the highest quality materials & executed with a modern point of view.
A brief history of Shagreen, Stingray, Galuchat.
Shagreen has been a luxurious decorative material for many centuries, though it is perhaps most closely associated with the Art Deco era. The name shagreen typically refers to the skin of stingrays or sharks, both of which are cartilaginous fish with a smoothly pebbled texture. This versatile yet hardy material has also been used by artisans throughout history as a mild abrasive, like sandpaper, in smoothing wood and metal.
Supposedly, stingray skin has been prized since the time of the pharaohs and during the Chinese Han Dynasty (202 BC - AD 220), but has been better documented and preserved since it began appearing on the sword hilts and armor of Japanese samurai during the Middle Ages, in part because its texture provided a reliable grip.
Europe began importing shagreen-covered objects during the 17th and 18th centuries, and in the mid-1700s, a tanner in Paris became the first European shagreen expert (his name, Galluchat, has been transformed into galuchat, the French word for shagreen.) Louis XV's most famous mistress, Madame de Pompadour, was the dominant patron of Monsieur Galluchat, and it was said that a week didn't go by when she didn't buy some new object, often in shagreen ( read more about Madame de Pompadour ).
Shagreen became a popular material again in Europe during the Art Deco era, when designers sought to fuse the French tradition of luxury with exotic and precious materials. Designers like Clément Rousseau and Jean-Michael Frank used shagreen to create their most sumptuous furniture. Signifying luxury and exoticism, this unique material is once more in vogue.