Nitot's family was from Château-Thierry, he himself was born in Paris on 2 April 1750. He began in 1780 as an apprentice to Aubert, court jeweller to Queen Marie-Antoinette. He survived the French Revolution and, in 1802, was appointed jeweller to Emperor Napoleon.
With the help of his son Francois Regnault (1779–1853), Nitot created jewellery symbolising the pomp and power that Napoleon wished to convey. These include the wedding jewels of Josephine de Beauharnais and Marie Louise of Austria. Nitot also designed Napoleon's coronation crown, his ceremonial sword and many other court ornaments.
François Regnault Nitot took over from his father after his death in 1809 and continued to operate until the fall of the empire in 1815. Nitot then sold his business to his foreman, Jean-Baptiste Fossin (1786-1848).
Notable pieces by Nitot
As official jeweller to Napoleon, Nitot made a number of significant pieces. He designed the Napoleon Tiara and the Imperial Sword.
The Leuchtenberg sapphire parure, now part of the Swedish royal family jewel foundation, is attributed to Nitot. The sapphires are thought to have been a wedding gift from Napoleon to his step-daughter. Princess Augusta of Bavaria, Duchess of Leuchtenberg and then passed to the Swedish royal family with Queen Josephine.
- "Milestones". Official website of Chaumet.
- Henri Vever La bijouterie française au XIXe siècle (1800-1900) 1976 - Page 46 "Sa maison resta à l'un de ses quatre fils, qui était déjà son associé : François-Regnault Nitot, né à Paris en 1779. Ce dernier mourut le 19 janvier 1853, place Vendôme, n° 15, laissant une fille, devenue comtesse Treilhard, et cinq fils; l'un"
- Nouvelles acquisitions du Département des objets d'art du Musée du Louvre. Département des objets d'art - 2003 "François-Regnault Nitot Paris, 1779-1853 : Après l'avoir secondé, il succède en 1809 à son père, Marie-Étienne Nitot, à la tête de la maison de joaillerie du 36, place du Carrousel; la maison est transférée 15, place Vendôme en ..."
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