with strong historical and cultural roots
Our jewellery is inspired by unique ethnic pieces in our family collection. Our grandparents, Monique and Jean Paul Barbier-Mueller, founded the museum that bears their name in 1977. Its mission is the conservation, study and sharing of world cultures through the arts.
les Muses BM
The year 2017 marks the 40th anniversary of the Barbier-Mueller museum. On this occasion, we are united and fully committed to carrying on the family tradition. Our jewellery tells a story - the story of the diversity and inventiveness of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.
Having witnessed long, rich traditions, jewellery is appreciated by women and men for its aesthetic appeal as well as its ability to convey cultural heritage. Our jewellery carries within it this heritage, which echoes the mythological mother of the nine Greek Muses: Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory. Through wearing our jewellery, bring the myth of the Muses alive and become an ambassador for the Baoulé of the Ivory Coast, the Chinese Miao people, or other ethnic groups from the Tamil Nadu region in India, amongst many others.
Through this project, we wish to pay homage to our grandfather, Jean Paul Barbier-Mueller, who believed that curiosity about the world, respect for other civilisations and the transfer of knowledge were our duty.
The artists and partners
Sonia Morel is a Swiss artist from Lausanne. Following her higher education in applied arts, she entered the professional world as an independent and exhibited her work both both in Switzerland and abroad. Sonia met Monique Barbier-Mueller in 1992, and from this day on they have traveled throughout Africa, in countries such as Mali and Ivory Coast, which have represented a great source of inspiration.
Over the course of her career, Morel has received numerous distinctions such as the federal scholarship of applied arts (Bourse Fédérale des Arts Appliqués, 1994 and 1997), the 1st price “die Besten” in Zurich (1996), the young creators prices from the Fondation Vaudoise pour la Promotion et la Création Artistique (2008), or even the 1st price in the category of jewels from the Ethical Fashion Days in Geneva (2008).
Her experience, as well as her realizations’ elegance, have allowed Sonia Morel create unique necklaces in line with Les Muses’ atmosphere.
Romain Ulmann is a young Swiss creator from Geneva. After receiving an education in the field of watch manufacturing, he’s worked for close to 10 years for prestigious watch and jeweler’s craft brands, where he came to master the techniques of jewels creation.
In 2017, he went on to develop his own brand, Rudivico, which offers original quality ornaments. Moreover, Ulmann, pushing his own limits further, decided to also offer his clientele tailor-made jewelry as well as pendants that are typical from Geneva.
While combining the Swiss expertise and the modernity of his time, Romain Ullman managed to offer pieces of jewelry that respond to Les Muses’ philosophy.
For the past 30 years, Laurence Mattet has been the director of the Barbier-Mueller Museum, which owns the largest private collection of non-Western art. Together with Jean Paul Barbier-Mueller, founding President of the Museum, they have organized more than 100 exhibitions around the world and published 110 reference works.
Laurence is the editor-in-chief of the magazine Arts & Cultures and director of the Cultural Foundation Barbier-Mueller Museum, with the support of Vacheron Constantin. The purpose of this foundation is to support and finance anthropological missions to forgotten people. The last activity of this Foundation: ethno-tales. Two books on young people, inspired by the Foundation's studies, have just been published by Glénat: Tooksipa and the golden stool and Tarara des Kiribati.
Laurence has supported the Les Muses BM project from its inception.