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Gien: 200 years of Earthenware know-how

Faïencerie de Gien still controls, to this day, the entire manufacturing process of its goods; from sourcing raw materials, to making clay paste and slip, to turning out the finished product. All its plaster molds and glazes are developed and produced exclusively at the Gien factory in the Loire Valley.

Two centuries of know-how go into the production of an exceptionally high quality earthenware. Techniques used in manufacturing are traditional to this day and synonymous with excellence. Quality controls at each stage of production ensure Gien goods have no faults.

A brief history

1821: The Legacy

The Faïencerie de Gien was created in 1821 in Gien, Loire Valley, in the heart of France. The 19th Century gave birth to many production sites, heirs to the potters of past centuries. Gien's bicentennial history is linked to the name of its creator, the Englishman Thomas Hall who moved to Gien and bought the 'Convent des Minimes' located on the banks of the Loire.

At that time, the city of Gien had several assets: it is an important commercial crossroads, the city is full of raw materials (clays, sands, siliceous pebbles from the Loire) and especially the Loire allows the transportation of wood from the forests of Orleans for the baking ovens.

The first years were marked by the manufacture of white earthenware in an octagonal shape and the sophisticated modelling imitated from goldsmith's pieces, then by the appearance of the first themed plates.

1850 - 1914: The Golden Age

From the second half of the 19th century, Faïencerie de Gien becomes more creative. The gesture of the Earthen Master becomes more precise.

The manufacture thus offers decorative pieces and table services inspired by Rouen, Saxony, Marseille, the Renaissance, the Ottoman Empire, the Antiquity. Production continues to grow and this period is certainly the richest and most inventive of the Manufacture.

1984 - 2014: The Second Breath

In 1984, the Faïencerie the Gien experienced a new lease of life after a period of decline in the early part of the 1980s. Now offering a new range of products (hand painted pieces, numbered limited editions) a museum is also created to honour the works and history of the company.

Famous names are associated with the Gien brand, including Paco Rabanne, Andrée Putman, Patrick Jouin, Isabelle de Borchgrave, Garouste and Bonetti through their design of new products in the Gien collections.

Since 2014: The rebound

Convinced by the exceptional heritage, the excellence of the know-how and the notoriety of the Faïencerie, a new direction at Gien perpetuates the tradition and explores new ways by promoting contemporary creation, along with launching into new export markets.

Today, more than ever, the Faïencerie the Gien is part of a programme of excellence. A member of the prestigious Colbert Committee, which brings together the major French luxury brands, it has been awarded the 'Living Heritage Company' label.

The women and men of the Manufacture are resolutely turned towards the future to reinvent the fine earthenware of tomorrow while relying on its bicentennial roots.

See inside the manufacture


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