Kiss my glass

Glassmaker Lalique opens door to Israeli-designed mezuzahs

Russian-born architect Irma Orenstein creates rounded case for Jewish religious object, inspired by childhood dreams of ‘golden dunes of the land of camels’

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

A crystal mezuzah designed for French glassmaker Lalique by Israeli-Russian architect Irma Orenstein. (Courtesy: Lalique)
A crystal mezuzah designed for French glassmaker Lalique by Israeli-Russian architect Irma Orenstein. (Courtesy: Lalique)

French glassmaker Lalique is renowned for many different types of offerings, from hood ornaments to perfume bottles to jewelry. Now, the hundred-year-old luxury brand is adding mezuzahs designed by Israeli architect Irma Orenstein to its catalog.

The gold or silver-plated crystal mezuzahs, decorative cases containing a piece of parchment inscribed with words of the Torah and attached to doorposts as a sign of Jewish faith, run from 900 euros (around $903) for the smaller Daniel Mezuzah, to 3000 euros ($3,010) for the larger Raphael version.

Orenstein wrote that she designed the swirled crystal case with inspiration from the “golden dunes of the land of camels” that she dreamed of as a child in Russia, where she was born, while her use of crystal characterizes her Russian heritage.

An architect in practice, Orenstein often works with glass in the homes she designs. She created glass barbecue stands, a glass kitchen island and even a 220-piece glass staircase for a Tel Aviv penthouse owned by Canadian billionaire Sylvan Adams, which went for a record-breaking NIS 120 million ($35 million) in 2014.

The Lalique mezuzah is part of the glassmaker’s 2022-2023 design season and as with all of the French company’s products, will be made at its Wingen-sur-Moder workshops.

Some 200 craftspeople at the workshops create between 350,000 and 400,000 crystal pieces each year, each piece involving up to 40 distinct steps during the manufacturing process.

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