Marie Christine Pavone
Marie Christine Pavone (French Born) has perfected the art of transforming this early form of material known as Galalith into wearable pieces of collectable art. She is renowned for the images she creates through an intricate time consuming process of cutting, carving, colouring, polishing and decorating (all of which she does entirely herself from start to finish, taking approximatly one week to complete each piece. We source our pieces directly from Pavone herself, and all Marie Christine Pavone earrings unless stated otherwise are clip-on, however they can be converted to pierced if required.
Galalith is a synthetic plastic material manufactured by the interaction of casein and formaldehyde. Given a commercial name derived from the Greek words gala (milk) and lithos (stone), it is odourless, insoluble in water, biodegradable,antiallergenic, antistatic and virtually nonflammable.
In 1897, the Hanover, Germany mass printing press owner Wilhelm Krische was commissioned to develop an alternative to blackboards.The resultant horn-like plastic made from the milk protein casein was developed in cooperation with the Austrian chemist (Friedrich) Adolph Spitteler (1846–1940). Although the final result was unsuitable for the original purpose, at the beginning of the 20th century French chemist J.C. Trillat discovered the means to insolubilize casein by immersion in formaldehyde.
Galalith can be cut, drilled, embossed and dyed without difficulty, and its structure manipulated to create a series of effects. No other plastic at the time could compete on price, and with ivory, horn and bone products becoming far more expensive, it found a natural home in the fashion industry.
This new plastic was presented at Paris Universal Exhibition in 1900. In France, Galalith was distributed by the Compagnie Française de Galalithe located near Paris in Levallois-Perret. As a result, the Jura area became the first one to use the material, resulting in the revolution of the button industry, with its capacity to create structural effects and imitate all sorts of material, including ivory, horn, tortoiseshell and wood.
Galalith could produce gemstone imitations that looked strikingly real. In 1926 Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel published a picture of a short, simple black dress in Vogue. It was calf-length, straight, and decorated only by a few diagonal lines. Vogue called it "Chanel’s Ford,” as like the Model T, the little black dress was simple and accessible for women of all social classes. To accessorize the little black dress, Chanel revamped her designs, thus facilitating the breakthrough and mass popularity of costume jewelry. Galalith was used for striking Art Deco jewelry designs by artists such as Jacob Bengel and Auguste Bonaz, as well as for hair combs and accessories. By the 1930s, Galalith was also used for pens, umbrella handles, white piano keys (replacing natural ivory), and electrical goods, with world production at that time reached 10,000 tons.
View the Marie Christine Pavone Collection available at Harlequin Market.