Crystal cutting expertise passed down through the generations.
José Benito arrived in France from Spain in 1925 and set up a workshop to make perfume bottle stoppers with his brother.
His son, Martin, was 14 years old when he began his apprenticeship as a crystal cutter. A gifted and determined man, he started his own company – Cristal Benito – in 1952, and not only did he train his father and his two brothers in the art of crystal cutting but he also began to design exquisite crystal pieces.
He developed the Cristal Benito 32-point star, which began to feature in many of company’s design creations and for which it became renowned. Incorporating the 32-point star created astonishing pieces, where the effect of this inventive cut style breaks reflections into a million fragments, whatever the shape or dimension of the object, or colour of the crystal used.
To create these extraordinary pieces, he perfected both the grinding wheels used for cutting and the technique of sculpting crystal; daring to cut as deeply as possible to the limit of the crystal’s resistance to achieve the enhanced lustre, shine and the infinite reflections he imagined.
Martin’s designs accomplished great success in France and internationally, particularly due to the famous Napoleon III style ‘bar à liqueurs’, an elegant free-standing globe of cut crystal, trimmed with precious metals, and hinged to open in across the middle to reveal six crystal liqueur glasses.
Cristal Benito continues to make and extend it range of fine crystal in traditional and contemporary styles and also accepts commission for custom-made pieces.
His son, Franck Benito, is the current managing director, who originally joined the company to develop its international business, before being trained by his father in crystal-cutting.
Franck became an exceptional cutter in his own right and continues to expand the range of Crystal Benito creations, designing new models and revisiting existing ones. He likes to use new colours and experiment with light and reflection to enhance his sculptures, refining the techniques passed on by his father.
Cristal Benito is accredited as one of the Living Heritage Companies (“Entreprises du Patrimoine Vivant”) which is a mark of recognition of the French State, set up to reward French companies for the excellence of their traditional and industrial skills. Cristal Benito is also a member of the Ateliers d’Art in France and has received various awards for its art and commercial dynamism.
More information on http://www.cristal-benito.fr/