Sainte-Claude – Capital of Pipes and Diamonds! You’d expect to find a museum here devoted to these fields of iconic local expertise.
From its beginnings manufacturing wooden pieces (toys, religious objects, and others), based especially around wood turning, Saint-Claude came to diversify its economy into the manufacture of briar-wood pipes. The town quickly became the capital of this skill, with no fewer than 14 companies. The town’s factories held a monopoly on pipe making until 1855. At the same time, the families of Saint-Claude and the surrounding area broadened their activities to include cutting diamonds and precious stones, once again using the hydraulic force of water from the Bienne, Tacon and Flumen Rivers that flow through Saint-Claude. The patient and precise Diamond and Gem merchants from Saint-Claude honed an excellent reputation in the jewellery world.
A Museum of Original Pieces
In this unique museum, we can learn about the craft of pipe-making and cutting precious stones – both the history of this local development and some fabulous collections.
With regard to pipes, the museum is brimming with original pieces, from the smallest pipe in the world to the impressive collection of snuffboxes and magnificent carved pipes.
The section on diamonds and precious stones is also outstanding, featuring a reconstruction of a diamond cutting workshop and several videos revealing the precise, technical handiwork of these local artisans.