Robert Goossens (1927 – 7 January 2016) was a French jeweller. The son of a metal foundry worker, he was born in 1927 in Paris, France. In his younger years, he served an apprenticeship in jewelry making, perfecting the techniques of casting, engraving, and embossing semi-precious and simulated stones into gold and silver metals. In his decades of creating fine jewelry, Goossens mixed the genuine stones with the fakes, a blend of the artificial gems with the semi-precious for clients including Coco Chanel, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent, Madame Gres and Christian Dior.
Goossens' designs were heavily influenced by paintings and artifacts in Paris museums, with inspiration most often taken from Maltese, Byzantium, and Renaissance works. Over the years, he traveled extensively, frequently bringing back stones including sapphires, amethysts, rubies, coral, and chalcedony. Rock Crystal, the clear and colorless variety of quartz, was Goossens’ favorite medium and he was the first to set it into pieces of jewelry as he felt that its delicate and inexpensive attributes were well suited to costume jewelry. He also utilized bronze, shells, pearls, colored and natural rock crystal in his necklace, brooch, bracelet and earring designs.
Work With The House of Chanel
Starting in 1953, Goossens worked with Coco Chanel to design jewelry to accompany her fashion designs, mostly through presentations where she would guide his inspiration. Chanel herself loved to blend the rich with the poor and Goossens' creations were entirely in keeping with that approach. Notable work during his tenure at Chanel includes silver and gold plaited pins set with emeralds, moon earth pendants, and crystal Byzantine crosses. Goossens would create original pieces for Mademoiselle Chanel made of real gold and genuine stones, which in turn were copied as imitations designed for fashion shows and presentations. These models ultimately served as the basis for Chanel's costume jewelry designs.
Goossens continued his work with the house of Chanel after its founder's passing, and collaborated with her successor Karl Lagerfeld throughout the 1980s and 1990s to create costume jewelry for Chanel's ready-to-wear and couture collections. Chanel bought Goossens' company in 2005.
Goossen's workshop north of Paris is still operating to this day, employing some fifty people to handcraft his designs. Goossens Showroom is in Avenue George V, one of the most fashionable streets in Paris.
- Gilles Plazy, Chantal Bizot, Bijoux de Haute Couture, Collection Robert Goossens, Ed. Plume, 2000