Jean Saint – Dutch Goldsmith

Jean Saint was born in Saint Lo, Normandy, France in 1698. He was inscribed in the Dutch goldsmith’s guild in 1724. A year earlier he had married Maria Duzy, who had a German background. They had two sons, Guillaume and Jean Daniël, who both would become jewelers around the 1750s. It is very probable that Jean, as a Huguenot goldsmith, had many international contacts, a reason for his sons to follow this more lucrative path. Jean Saint still had close contact with his homeland. He very closely followed the style evolution in France and specially the work of Juste-Aurele Meissonier in Rococo style, who worked at the French court. At that time new styles were often first transmitted through prints and small accessories such as snuffboxes. Therefore it is not that strange that already it the early 1730s the Rococo was introduced in Holland. Many of the jewelers and goldsmiths who made those items were of French origin and influenced by the fashion in their homeland. The work of Saint is therefore a wonderful example of the Dutch Rococo style. Saint’s other international contacts, with London for instance, increased his success. French Huguenot silversmiths in London were famous for their chase work. His son in law was the English Huguenot Francoijs Theret who had been living in Londen for a long time, before he settled in Amsterdam in 1744 with the daughter of Jean Saint, Catharina. Through him Saint made many contacts but also through his son Jean Daniël who also lived in London for several years and finally came back with an English spouse, Anna Catherina Wilhelmina Routhin.

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