COPPER AND LATTEN: an alloy of copper and zinc, latten was used in place of bronze (copper mixed with tin), for the creation of prototypes of small works to be molded (belt buckles, for instance). Silvered coppers are not inspected and bear no guarantee hallmark. The most important works in copper or latten feature only the signature "GOUDJI", written in full.
IRON AND STEEL: although Goudji mastered the art of craffing wrought-iron in the USSR, he now forges for very specific orders only - the seats for the cathedral of Chartres, for example. However, he uses the craft on a daily basis to manufacture the tools necessary for his work.
SILVER: as early as 1975, Goudji began working with repoussé silver, bought in laminated sheets for which he had to pay , ling" ("premier titre"), in other words 950 parts of silver alloyed with 50 parts of copper (950/lOOOth). Its quality is guaranteed by the supplier . To ensure a better finish, Goudji always covers his sterling silver works with an electrolytic coating of pure silver.
Sterling silver can be bent and will maintain its curvature. That is why, in very particular cases, Goudji uses a silver alloy ("second titre"): in a refractory earth mould, he melts leftovers of sterling silver skeets and mises in approximately 10% of copper. This means he can produce silver blades which are both flexible and rigid, particularly for maLing paper knives.
VERMEIL (or silver-gilt): vermeil is sterling silver with a 21 carat gold electrolytic skin. It is inspected in the same way as silver and bears the same hallmarks. Goudji has been using it since 1976.
GOLD: Goudji uses gold to create jewels but also, more rarely, for goldsmithery. It is beaten gold, repoussé or smelted, 18 carat, in other words, 18 parts of pure gold with 6 parts of silver, the green gold specially produced to enable him to carry out repoussé work using a hammer. For a better finish, Goudji always covers the woris he creates in gold (18 carat) with an electrolytic coating of pure gold (24 carat). Like silver, the grade of gold is inspected . by the "Bureau de la Garantie de Paris".
All works made of precious metals are sent to the "Bureau de la Garantie de Paris", before the stones are inlaid. The Bureau checks the weight and grade of the metal before stamping its hallmark: on larger silver or vermeil works, the hallmark takes the form of a crab or the right-hand profile of a helmeted Minerva, in a rectangle with broken corners. In the case of objects made of "pure" gold, the guarantee hallmark features the right side of an eagle's head. Every one of Goudji's works bears a hallmark. Only the master's hallmark is compulsory: a vertical diamond shape with the initials "G" and "A" superimposed separated by two horizontal hammers, superimposed and facing in opposite directions. The signature "GOUDJI" is generally stamped by the artist himself. This is not a legal obligation. The letter "G", meaning Goudji, and the initials in Georgian characters are engraved for the sake of decoration. The jewels ordered by the "Réunion des Musées Nationaux" to commemorate the bicentennial of the "Musée du Louvre" bear a rectangular hallmark on three levels "GOUDJI / AU / LOUVRE".
The number "925" corresponds to the minimum grade needed to commercialize silver works in Switzerland; this is obligatory for export to Switzerland.
The "STERLING" mark indicates a minimum grade ( equivalent to "pre
mier titre") for export to the United Kingdom and the United States. The "PARIS" mark indicates the place of creation and promotes export. During the 80's, Goudji occasionally inscribed the last two digits of the year of creation: "83"=1983.
The only legal hallmarks, the absence of which would indicate a risk of counterfeit, are the diamond-shaped master goldsmith hallmark and the guarantee hallmark.
The triangular-shaped vent holes necessary for the evacuation of cyanhydric acid and rinse water from hollow works subjected to electrolysis are often integrated into the decoration and may be considered as distinctive hallmarks of Goudji's works.
STONES AND ORGANIC MATERIALS FOR INLAID WORK
GoudJi uses inlaid work featuring stone or organic material for its decorative aspect (choice of colors, contrast with metal), for the symbolic value of colors or, for instance, as a reminder of the stones which constituted celestial Jerusalem in the Apocalypse according to Saint John (the academicians' swords or the collection of liturgical objects at Chartres, for instance), and also for technical reasons: inlaying stones around the edge of a silver sheet bowl or the wheels of a cart gives them more weight and rigidity. What is more, with Goudji, one can never tell the real width of the metal: the edge of the work is widened and stiffened by a rim or braided with stones inlaid in the metal.
Goudji buys most of his ornamental stones in Rhenania-Palatinate. At this ancient site, 20 miles from Trier, agates and amethysts have been mined since Ancient times and today it is a very important center for the transformation of decorative rocks and a major marketplace for international transactions of ornamental stones. The colors and origins of the rocks listed below are those of the stones used by Goudji.
AGATE: colored quartz, ribLonned chalcedony, diaphanous or opaque, with concentric lines alternating between light and dark, of a grayish and brownish color. Mostly Brazil, India.
ALABASTER: fine-grained variety of gypsum, brown, beige or pink. Nepal.
AMETHYST: compact quartz, semiprecious, purple stone. It is said to be a talisman, conferring good luck and strength, a protection from spells and drunkenness.
AMPHIBOLITE OR ZOISITE: semi-precious stone of volcanic origin, green, flecked with black and ruby.
Brazil or Madagascar.
AVENTURINE: green quartz, even-colored, dark or light. Brazil
CARNELIAN : orangey chalcedony, even-colored or ribbonned, semi-transparent. Its name derives from Its color, simiilar to that of the cornelian cherry, fruit of the dogwood tree. It is said to have the power to dissipate
emotions soothe anger and often serves as a basis for engraving intaglio. Brazil. ~j
CHALCEDONY: blue-gray quartz, even-colored or slightly more transparent than agate. Brazil.
CHRYSOPRASE: the most precious of chalcedonies, apple-green, even-colored. South Africa, Madagascar, Brazil. ~
CORAL: the calcareous skeleton of arborescent polyps living in warm waters, coral is a precious substance of organic origin. The most commonly used is noble coral, of a uniform color ranging from orangey pink to "sang de boeuf" red. Lybia, Italy.
CORDIERITE: transparent silicate, purplish blue,
almost black. Brazil, Madagascar. ~
ROCK CRYSTAL OR QUARTZ: compact, translucent quartz. The glazed quartz features whitish "clouds" which are in fact inclusions of micro-bubbles of gas, trapped during rock formation, or as the result of geological faults. In its "raintow" variety, the crystal acts like a prism, breaking down light into the colors of the rainbow. Brazil.
EMERALD: one of the four so-called precious stones,
emerald is a bright-green, yellow-green or deep-green beryl, colored by chrome and vanadium. Always fragile, it exists in transparent form or with inclusions. Myanmar, Thailand.
GARNET: semiprecious gem, deep red to black. Madagascar.
GRANITE: heterogeneous rock composed of quartz, feldspar and mica. Green granite from the Pyrenees, pink and red granite from Armorica (Brittany) France.
HAWK'S-EYE: opaque quartz, crow's wing blue or greenish blue with brown or yellowish parallel lines of crocidolite (amphitole). South Africa.
IRON EYE: brown and red rock ribLonned with gray and gold metallic reflections; iron oxides and red jasper alternating with short and perpendicular strips of tiger's-eye. South Africa.
IVORY: very hard creamy-white dentine, part of which comes from elephant tusks. Rarely used by Goudji, it comes from an inventory bought from a former ivory sculptor. Africa, Myanmar, India.
RED AND GREEN JASPER: opaque quartz, similar to the chalcedonies, streaked, fleeked, spotted or flamed depending on its inclusions. South Africa and Brazil...
LABRADORITE: dark-gray or black feldspar with stunning blue and green shining reflections. Finland.
LAPIS LAZULI: aggregate of lazurite, sodalite, hauyne and noseane, indigo blue to deep blue, very often speckled, with white (calcite) or gold (pyrite) spots. Afghanistan.
MOTHER-OF-PEARL: shimmering organic substance of varied coloring. Pacific.
NEPHRITE OR RUSSIAN JADE: variety of amphibole or jade, green with black spots, formerly worn to protect the kidneys, or to cure kidney disease (hence its name). Russia, Brazil.
ONYX: even black chalcedony. Brazil and Madagascar.
ORTHOCERAS: fusiform and cloisonné fossil shell,: translucent in a dark gray mother rock, comes from a cephalopod deop-sca mollusk of the primary and secondary eras. Morocco.
PYRITE: iron sulfur with golden reflections (hence its nickname "fool's gold") with crystals embedded in a gray, black or blue mother rock like lapis lazuli. South Africa.
SMOKY QUARTZ: beige, brown, gray or black quartz Europe, Brazil.
PINK QUARTZ: pink, transparent quartz, oPten cracked and turDid. Brazil and Madagascar.
RUTILE: intense red inclusions of titanium, with "angel's hair" or golden needles intertwined in the quartz. Brazil.
SERPENTINE: dark grcen metamorphic rock. Madagascar.
SODALITE: light or dark blue feldspar, lined with small white calcareous veins occasionally featuring, like lapis lazuli, golden yellow pyrite dots. Namibia.
TIGER'S-EYE: opaque quartz with shimmering parallel lines of brown, beige and golden ycllow crocidolite South Africa.
TOURMALINE: brown, red, grcen or yellow borosilicate of aluminium embedded in quartz, usually in the form of black needles. Brazil.
ZOISITE OR AMPHIBOLITE: semiprecious green stone with black or ruby spots. Brazil or Madagascar.
Goudji works wood only as a support (the altar frame in Chartres), in making certain pieces of furniture (dressing table-cabinet) or as ornamental inlaying material. He buys his exotic woods on their arrival at the port of Le Havre.
MAHOGANY: red wood, dark, hard and fine-grained, likely to take on a very attractive shine. Amazon.
KINGWOOD (Dalbergia ccarensis): variety of rosewood with lighily-veined, black wood. Amazon.
BOX-WOOD: light wood, yellow, hard and very finegrained. Amazon, Europe.
EBONY: dark or black wood, hard and heavy, very fine-grained, acquires an excellent shiny finish. Mostly used in venecring, since large pieces have a tendency to split. Amazon.
ROSE-WOOD (Dalbergia nigra): hard, heavy, dark brown wood, with purplish reflections. Amazon.
PEAR: fruit wood, fine-grained, easy to work and to dye; it replaces etony in furniture making since it does not split when used in large pieces. France.