The first furnace of the crystal works is fired up. The Verreries et Etablissements du Val Saint Lambert, headed by the chemist François Kemlin and the engineer Auguste Lelièvre, becomes the first (and to date the only) Belgian crystal maker.
Val Saint Lambert’s site, 1826
Val Saint Lambert is awarded a gold medal at the exhibition of Belgian industrial products for its pure, refined and coloured crystal.
Val Saint Lamberts cuts a figure at the Antwerp world expo too, where crystal creations with geometric motifs are exhibited for the first time, to enormous enthusiasm and resounding success. Val Saint Lambert would raise the ingenious art of grinding, characterised by complex geometric patterns over the entire surface, into a world brand.
At 2.5 metres, weighing 200 kilos and with 82 crystals, the ‘Vase of the Nine Provinces" is a technical feat. A team of thirty people worked on it for more than 2000 hours.
Val Saint Lambert’s website
The end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century was the undisputed heyday for Val Saint Lambert. More than three quarters
The world exhibition
1900 - 1925
The two crystal chandeliers in the hall of the Gwalior maharajah palace in India are, literally as well as metaphorically, monumental references: 13 metres high and 3.5 tonnes – the world’s largest crystal chandeliers. Legend has it that the architect had the sturdiness of the ceiling tested by marshalling ten elephants to the first floor.
The Val Saint Lambert depot at Mumbai (Bombay), India
The Brussels-based goldsmith, sculpture and designer, Philippe Wolfers blends art nouveau and crystal. A stunning such creation is the ‘Crépuscule’ vase featuring a bat in several layers of crystal.
Art nouveau vase
Val Saint Lambert introduces the double coloured and cut crystal – an innovation that has secured the fame of Belgian crystal down to the present day.
Cut, coated and tinted crystal
1914 - 1918
World War I shuts down the crystal works for four years. The furnaces are started up again as soon as the war ends, but an important market has been lost with the fall of the tsars in Russia.
Val Saint Lambert celebrates its centennial. The crystal works, with over 5,000 employees, gain new ground with innovative art deco collections.
With an export market that accounts for 90% of the turnover, Val Saint Lambert is hit hard by the great depression.
The bombardments of World War II lay the crystal works to waste and cause structural financial problems.
Crystal, traditionally a luxury product, becomes increasingly more functional.
1970 - 1980
Val Saint Lambert cooperates intensely with external designers such as Samuel Herman, Yann Zoritchac, Borek Sipek, Philippe Starck, Frans Van Praet, Martin Szekely, and others.
Frans Van Praet designs the legendary seat in crystal for the Seville world expo in Spain.
The Onclin family takes over Val Saint Lambert, intent on putting the brand back on the map.
Val Sal Lambert causes a stir with its new identity at the Maison&Objet fair in Paris. A younger image as a first step towards a worldwide comeback… of its production is exported, the most important customers being the tsars of Russia.