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Crafts stories
Moise Mann - Gemstones travel

Crafts stories

Interview with Moise Mann, from Manalys

It's hard to think of a more creative subject than crafts. It is also difficult to give a single definition to explain what we are really talking about when we talk about crafts.
It is a history shared throughout the world, a history made up of men and women, of all cultures, of all influences, of thousands of materials, tools and work, a lot of work, to finally, one day, be able to become a Master and transmit, as he was transmitted, his mastery to another, an apprentice of an extraordinary knowledge.

Here is a very interesting interview with Moise Mann, gemstone expert & artisan in Brussels and owner at Manalys & Holemans.

LB : Moise Mann, what does being an artisan mean to you, this notion of craftsmanship, what is your definition of an artisan?

MM : To be a craftsman is first and foremost to be passionate. It means building with your own hands. For me, craftsmanship is also the desire to make something beautiful, unique, and also and above all to be able to perpetuate traditions and train future generations in this beautiful profession (which unfortunately is more and more industrialized). At Manalys or at Holemans, you have the certainty of having pieces created by hand by our qualified craftsmen (who work in the back of our stores).

LB : Do you also make available to your other brand and company, the famous maison Holemans, the magnificent jewelry workshops and the craftsmanship you have here at Manalys?

MM : Of course, there are many similarities between Manalys and Holemans. We share the same DNA, that is to say the handmade creation from A to Z by our designers and craftsmen.
Holemans is celebrating 100 years of passion and craftsmanship this year, and it is my intention to perpetuate what has made maison Holemans successful and famous.
Another point in common between the 2 jewelers is the precious stones that adorn our jewelry. They are all of high quality (purity, color, size, symmetry, etc.) but also and above all certified.
Whether at Manalys or Holemans, we adopt an eco-responsible approach because we reuse (recycle) 99% of the gold, and we know the origin of our stones.
The main difference between the two brands is in the style of the pieces. At Holemans, you will find a classic, elegant, modern but above all timeless style. At Manalys, you will find more "original" creations with stones of exceptional caliber and quality. Our two workshops offer a custom-made creation service of course.

LB : In relation to the quality of the gems you offer at Manalys or Holemans, how do you buy these gems, how do you choose THE right gem, I guess experience is mandatory !

MM : Indeed, experience is essential, but not sufficient. The feeling is for me essential.
You should know that I travel around the world to find gems. Traveling and meeting with gem dealers and cutters is of course reducing the number of intermediaries (and therefore the prices) but it is also and above all creating a bond of trust with these people and having a much wider and richer panel of stones.
It takes a lot of time and attention, but the result is clearly there.
When I talk about feeling, it is something difficult to explain. I will choose stones that speak to me and express something strong. The way the light passes through the room is important, the absence of inclusions also.
Finally, before validating any stone purchase, the stones will have to pass a final test, that of certification which will confirm its characteristics including its origin and the fact that it has not undergone any treatment (such as "heating" which concerns a very large majority of sapphires).
For us, buying a gemstone means buying a natural stone, not one that has been treated to alter its brilliance.
It is in this case that the word "precious" takes on its full meaning.
I recently took 4 gemology students on my last trip to Sri-Lanka to teach them - in all humility - how I select and negotiate stones.
It was also a great opportunity for me to be challenged and learn from the students.

CM : We can easily imagine, considering some of the jewelry models we can see here, that you probably had some extravagant requests from your customers, or perhaps also from your suppliers, exceptional stones purchased, do you have a story to tell us in particular?

MM : We make custom stones, so we receive many special requests.
Since the creation of Manalys in 2009, I have also had the opportunity to mount exceptional stones. I especially remember a necklace with a 254 carat sapphire or a flower-shaped bracelet with a magnificent 50 carat Burmese sapphire (unheated of course) in its center. Or even more recently a ring with a 60 carat sapphire.
Another anecdote concerns a client I didn't know who wanted to see an exceptional stone. Once the stone was brought back to the boutique from New York, I called the client to tell him that he could come by the boutique or that I could visit him at home.
This was without counting, that he gave me an appointment on his boat in Sardinia (^^).
Once we arrived on the boat, we had dinner, swam, explored beautiful places, but we didn't discuss the stone for a minute.
When I showed him the stone, he said "this is not the time".
So I returned (empty-handed) with the stone to Brussels.
Nevertheless, we have built up a very good relationship with this customer who has come back and become one of our loyal customers.

More info about maison Manalys and maison Holemans.

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