GALUCHAT

Galuchat

During the past centuries this material has had different names coming from the fish from whom the skin is taken. This is probably why even today there is confusion between the names such as Cina shark, Seadog, Rouffette and Stingray Skin.
Stingray skin was known, appreciated and tooled long before the French Revolution. From some documents of those days we know that the Marquise of Pompadour, Monsignor Richelieu, the Duchess of Brissac and His Royal Highness The Duke Charles of Lorena were estimators of this material.
Napoleon the III ordered a whole room made entirely of Galuchat in the Tuileries Palace.
Even before being used in France, Galuchat was used in Japan to cover the hilt of the katane and of tanto or to finish up some particularly elegant armour.
Mr. Galuchat and Son were among the best French artisans tooling stingray skin.
The word Galuchat as Stingray skin started to be used around 1760/1775, when several documents were found describing this material used to cover golden watches holders, beauty cases and precision instruments.
Although was at the beginning of the '900 that Galuchat comes to its golden time when many French ebonists started to realize furnitures, wardrobes, chairs, tables, lights, and various ornaments out of this material with marquetry of ebony and ivory.
Up until the 18th century the mostly used Galuchat was the one with small grains, while from the art dÈco time the one with big grains became the most popular. Unluckily there are no documents of previous work with this material, because every artisan jealously kept the secrets of their ability; therefore nowadays processing is a result of new technology and research, along with a complete gamut of colours of the skin.
While when we pay attention to the antique pieces, we notice that the main colours are only three: green, pale pink and nature white.
The only problem in working with this material is handling it; we have to remember, as a matter of fact, that besides being hard and inflexible, this material is made out of a mosaic of round enamelled wedges, and that it must be cut and folded with millimetric precision in order to finish the goods in a perfect way.
These days hardened steel and electric cutters are certainly helping a lot, but in order to obtain a perfect result, we need ability and craft care.


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