Stones in French: jewels, architecture and art

  • La pierre
  • Une pierre
  • Les pierres
Precious stone
  • Construction
  • It is a basic building material, it is strong and does not wither over time. It has been used for centuries to build cathedrals, castles and fortification walls. We use various types of stone depending on the visual we want to give to a building.

    They are, for example:
    • limestone (le calcaire)
    • marble (le marbre)
    • granit (le granit)
  • Jewelry
  • In this field, gem stones are used. We cut and polish diamonds, rubies and emeralds. They are then incorporated into jewelry, they are high quality ones. Designers are delighted with it because there are a multitude of colors, shapes and properties.

  • Geology
  • The different stones give information to understand the history of the terrestrial globe. Geologists study stone to get information about geological life: tectonic movements, climatic changes and the formation of rocks.

  • Crafts
  • Craftsmen use stone to carve works of art (statues and sculptures). Men have always carved stone. The sculpture of the stone crosses the ages.

  • Symbolism and culture
  • In many cultures the stone is associated with stability, strength and longevity. Dolmens and menhirs, for example, testify to the use of stone in ancient civilizations. maybe for worship services. Some stones are associated with specific symbols. For example, the diamond is associated with eternity and love.

  • Precious stone
  • The word pierre is associated with precious stone. They are:
    • diamond (le diamand)
    • sapphire (le saphir)
    • emerald (l’émeraude)
    • ruby (le rubis)
    • etc.
  • Kidney stone
  • Un calcul rénal is solid and forms in the kidneys, it is the result of the accumulation of minerals. We can use the term pierre to designate this.

  • First and last name
  • Pierre maybe a first name and a last name.

  • Idiomatic expressions
  • It is used in French idiomatic expressions. For example, Jeter la première pierre. It emphasizes the hypocrisy of those who criticize other people’s mistakes without looking at their own mistakes.

    To remember
  • La calcaire
  • Le marbre
  • Le granite

  • Le diamand
  • La saphir
  • L’émeraude
  • Le rubis
  • French architecture
    Stone walls (des murs de pierre / des murs en pierre)
    A stone house (une maison en pierre)
    Stone rooms (des chambres en pierre)
    A stone fruit (un fruit à noyau)
    Two very well-known examples of this link between French stone architecture and stones are:
    • la cathédrale Notre-Dame in Paris
    • le mont Saint-Michel in Normandie
  • La cathédrale Notre-Dame
  • It is a major monument in Paris, some consider it a work of art. It is in the Gothic style. Its construction began at the beginning of the twelfth century. The stone used to build it is limestone (le calcaire).

  • Le mont Saint-Michel
  • It is a rocky island located in the bay of Mont Saint-Michel. It is a beautiful example of medieval architecture. It was built on a granite base, with granite. It is a very strong material. It is one of the most visited sites in France.
  • La Pierre du Destin (La pierre de Scone)
  • It has been used as a throne by kings and queens of the kingdom of France. It was then transferred to Scotland, where it symbolizes the legitimacy of the Scottish kings and queens.

  • Myths and rocks
    • In France, le chaos de Huelgoat in Brittany is a site dotted with singular rock formations and Breton legends. These rocks are associated with stories of fairies, giants and other creatures. They are firmly rooted in local mythology.
      La Roche aux Fées is located in the same region. It is associated with the myth of Arthur. According to legend, this stone was a table where King Arthur and his knights gathered.
  • Megalithic alignments
  • For example, the Carnac alignments in Brittany.There are several hypotheses, they range from religious rites to the fact that stones provide vital energy to the earth and to human beings.

  • Dolmens and menhirs
  • There are many of them on French territory. The dolmens consist of large flat stones and the menhirs are large standing stones. They are associated with ancient myths and rituals.

    What are your favorite French monuments? Why? Tell it in French in the comments.

  • ……………………………………………

  • ……………………………………………

  • ……………………………………………
  • art with stone
    • Victor Hugo
      • Notre-Dame de Paris
          In this novel, the cathedral is a central character in the story. The stone of which it is made is the metaphor of permanence and stability. The stone is powerful, it does not change with time, it resists. The stone is used to represent the memory of historical events, it is a witness of the passage of time.
        Les Misérables
          In this novel, the stone represents inner strength and determination. Like the stone, Jean Valjean’s character remains emotionally stable despite the difficult trials he is going through.
    • William Shakespeare
      • Le Roi Lear
          It is a play that has been adapted into French. The stone is used to describe a cold heart, without emotions. The character of Lear compares his daughter, insensitive and without affection, to a stone.
  • Megaliths
  • The Carnac alignments are a very well-known site, they have been enormously represented in art (drawing, painting). We also find in the visual arts other representations of sites of the same type.

  • Roman art
  • The sculptures and architectural works in stone are numerous. Heroic characters and deities are represented.

  • Medieval art
  • On the Gothic cathedrals there are stone sculptures representing religious figures: gargoyles, statues and bas-reliefs.

  • Renaissance
  • One of the most famous artists, Michelangelo, perfected the art of stone carving. One of his best

  • Classic rea (17th century)
  • At this time symmetry and order are important. The statues and sculptures represent figures from myths or history.

  • Romanticism (19th century)
  • The expression of feelings and emotions characterize this period of history, the stone is used to express them. The main themes were, among others, monuments related to death and ruins.

  • 20th century – Today
  • The stone serves as a support for a wider imagination, with many creations representing abstract shapes.

    Watch these two videos to know more about
    • Les monstres de Notre-Dame de Paris
    • Les alignements de Carnac

    French rock
  • Faults (les failles): these are fractures in the Earth’s crust.

  • Folds (les plis): it is a deformation of the rock layers.

  • Erosion (l’érosion): this refers to the fact that the rock wears out due to the action of external agents.

  • Epicenter (l’épicentre): this is the point that is on the Earth’s surface directly above the center of an earthquake.
  • The three main categories of rocks are:
    • sedimentary (sédimentaires)
    • igneous (ignées)
    • metamorphic (métaphoriques)
  • Les roches sédimentaires
  • They are the result of the accumulation and consolidation of mineral, organic or chemical particles. These are rocks such as:
    • limestone (le calcaire)
    • sandstone (le grès)
    • shale (le schiste)
  • Les roches ignées
  • They are the result of the solidification of magma or lava.

  • Les roches métaphoriques
  • They are the result of the physical or chemical transformation of other rocks due to heat, pressure or fluids. These are:
    • marble (le marbre)
    • metamorphic shale (le schiste métaphorique)
    • gneiss (gneiss)
    • The quality of the diamonds
      • The diamonds are evaluated according to the 4 Cs
        • Carat (carat weight) – it is a unit of weight measurement, to quantify the mass of a precious stone. 1 carat = 0.2 grams.
          Cut (size and shape) – the way a diamond is cut and shaped. the 4 criteria are: proportions, symmetry, finish, shape.
          Color (color) – the presence or absence of color in the stone.
          Clarity (purity) – the presence or absence of internal defects, and the quality of the external surface of the stone.
    • The laboratories
    • They issue certificates that guarantee the quality and authenticity of the diamond.
      • GIA (Gemological Institute of America)
      • HRD (Hoge Raad voor Diamant)
    • Rubis
    • They are evaluated according to
      • The color: the more intense the color, the more precious the ruby.
      • The size and shape: well-made cuts maximize the brightness and brilliance of the stone, and therefore the value of the stone.
    • Gold
    • It is important to count the different shades of gold (yellow, white, pink) and the carats to make the right choice.
    • Experts
      • Ask for advice from certified jewelers, to be sure of the stones in which you want to invest.
        Have it evaluated by independent experts.

    To remember
      The 4 C’s
      • Le poids en carat
      • La taille et la forme
      • La couleur
      • La pureté
    FAQ for a French stone