Friday, March 12, 2010

Grinnin' for Shagreen

I love Shagreen! (Pronounced Shuh-green) Shagreen is the skin of a stingray and can add beautiful texture to accessories and furniture.
The skin of the stingray is covered in tiny enamel "beads". Towards the center of the back, the beads get larger and form a sort of "eye". It is this extraordinary part of the hide that is used for decorative purposes. The stingray is fished for food throughout Southeast Asia, isn't endangered and is one of the few fish in the world that has beautifully preservable skin.

Not only is Shagreen incredibly striking to look at and touch, it is incredibly durable as well, which makes it great for furniture. A long time ago (17th and 18th century), the skins were mainly dyed green, polished with black lacquer and used as a veneer. This is when it came to be known as "shagreen". It became popular through French furniture makers during the height of the Art Deco movement. Many designers since, such as Ruhlmann, Jean Michel-Frank, Clement Rousseau, among many others, have embraced this exotic skin.
Shagreen is a highly labor intensive material and is ofter referred to as the most luxurious material amongst furniture aficionados. Therefore, it is not inexpensive. Thanks to modern day technology we can all have a little shagreen in our homes by going the faux route.

This hall chest by Stanley has faux shagreen veneers on the drawer fronts. It makes this basic piece of furniture sing with sophistication.

This little guy, courtesy of the always lovely Dransfield & Ross, is in my very own living room. This sweet little box houses some swanky faux shagreen coasters.

Another beauty from Dransfield & Ross are these chic pencils and case in a creamy faux shagreen. I love the black piping detail, it screams Chanel.

You can add slight touches of shagreen with a statement accent table such as these.

Century Furniture

Century Furniture
Try an entire piece of furniture veneered in a luscious gray faux shagreen like this vanity for Lamps Plus.
Small touches of this gorgeous texture on a lamp would give your not-so-special side table a little something special.

Lighting by Century Furniture
I found these amazing real shagreen stools on FirstDibs.
Bring a little interest into your home with this beloved material and you'll be grinnin' for shagreen too!


Karen Robert said...

Funny, I am posting on Shagreen as well and came across yours. I have designed a few invitations in Shagreen (not real...) I will link to this posting.


Maria@Live Beautifully said...

Thanks Karen! Cute invitations :-)

Anonymous said...

I found marvellous shagreen products made by a french company called ginger brown.
Have a look:

Anonymous said...

I love beautiful, well-made furniture and interiors but just have to say that this is not ok. The entire ray species are slow to reproduce and are under tremendous pressure to survive due to human activities. Rays are amazing creatures which have been on earth for some 500 million years and deserve better treatment than this. I truly hope Shagreen becomes as culturally unacceptable as ivory, tiger skins and elephant-foot wastepaper baskets.