Below one of the original
Guyot Showroom Boards
showing patented filigree
the 8849 series
Finding a Dream
Dreams and struggles, hope and
healing weave a constant strand in the history of Attleboro, Massachusetts, the
town where the costume jewelry industry was born. Over one hundred years ago
Numa Guyot, born in Lyon, France, arrived on the shores of America to stake his
claim in the American Dream.
'An engraver, he settled in Attleboro and opened a
tool and die company, N. Guyot & Sons (now Guyot Brothers Co.) 1904. This
industry, both then and now thrive on creativity and design. Incorporated as
Guyot Brothers Company, Inc., in 1926, their creations range from some of the
smallest and most delicate to the boldest - squares and bead caps and egg stands
in well over 4,000 stunning designs. Four generations later, the Guyots still
manufacture decorative jewelry findings in Attleboro.
North Attleboro had an
immigrant French population which attracted Numa from Biel-Bienne, a
French-German area of Switzerland to open his first shop in a loft at Union and
Mill Streets in Attleboro. The factory was moved to 45 Union Street, then again
to 37 Union Street and in November 1960, to its present location at 20 John
Guyot Brothers is credited with
developing unique findings and held five patents, including a square filigree
and some box style settings which are still being produced. After only ten years
of operation as N. Guyot and Sons, Numa died in 1914. His sons, Gaston, Eugene,
and Arthur, continued in the business, in turn passing the operation, in 1958,
over to Gaston’s sons Marshall, Eugene and Roy. Today the firm of Guyot
Brothers Co., Inc. is guided by the fourth generation, Steve, Andrea, and
Marsha, all children of Marshall Guyot.
Gaston and his business
associate, William Boots, developed many product patents during in the 1930s and
1940s. The bezel setting for setting stones and cameos was patented by Gaston.
William in turn invented the expandable watchband, and Gaston and William
founded Foster Metal Products for the production of the watchband.
As a manufacturer of decorative
brass stampings for the costume jewelry and related arts trade, Guyot Brothers
has been renowned for filigree, charms, floral motifs, leaves, bead caps and
other brass stampings for over a century. Their product lines number in the
thousands. And to think it all began by making findings for shoe buckles. On a
recent tour of the operations facility, I was shown so many fabulous findings by
the Guyots.There are three distinct types
of findings: the functional - which performs a utilitarian function; the
decorative - to add embellishment, and the hybrid, which involves a combination
These master designs, known as hubs and dies, are used especially for
embossing and coining. The shop contains walls full of numerous, moveable panels
that display brass stamping samples of every possible product manufactured. The
legacy of Guyot’s excellence is visible in the historical records, vintage
machinery and pictures which decorate the entire plant.
The Haskell Mark
Steve related that his father,
Marshall, born in 1920, welcomed Miriam Haskell to Guyot’s factory when he was
just 18 years old. The year was 1938, when Marshall showed Miriam Haskell his
line of findings - and the rest is history. Steve remembers the stories his
father told over the years - that Miriam was a real lady, was extremely well organized,
and became a valued client.
The Guyot Brothers Co., Inc. stamped hallmarks for
Miriam Haskell and made the marker, a punch in the oval shape until the 1980s.
Two people, Marshall and Miriam, both new to the industry, were about to embark
on marking costume jewelry history. Even today the relationship with the Haskell
line continues, each treating each other with old world mutual respect.