¡NO RETURN OR EXCHANGE ON THIS EXTREMELY SPECIAL ITEM!
Handmade in France
As special as anything we could acquire today, given the tremendous scarcity of the handle material, this Thiers-Issard ‘Spartacus’ variant has a hand-filed spine, a gold-gilded back, and a handle made, in part, from genuine mother-of-pearl. This business has been in operation now over fourteen years, and this is the first time during that period where we could acquire new-make handles of actual MOP. There is a liner layer present to protect the delicate shells, but the shells’ part is better than 2mm thick, on a total scale thickness of ~3.3mm…2-2.3mm was ultimately judged just a bit too thin to be safe without a liner. They’re stunning. Together with the liners, these razors come in at a hefty seventy-two grams each weight, and they’re nearly as big as a 7/8″ TI. If you have large strong hands you’ll love it.
In the late 1990s and in to the 2000s, the commercial use of cutlery handles in MOP from the one region where they are commercially farmed for this purpose were ‘over fished’, leading to plenty of shell stock, but all of it small. You’d need four or five pieces left to right to make one side of a razor. It takes the species generations and being left alone to grow to lengthen their average span. So, the country that controls this commercial trade for the EU’s cutlers parked the production, it was still available in smaller quantities for things like cufflinks or little pocket knives or other smaller objects, but not for knife or razor handles of substantial length. Now, here we are. You can see from the stock here that, indeed, rare is any panel without 2+ shells at a time per side, but their ability to make those seams aesthetically pleasing is, well, remarkable. To make it easier to move these things through the world, TI’s done a bit of careful order-of-wording on the packaging and invoicing, which says …’MOTHER OF PEARL RESIN IMITATION…’ just like that, but rest assured, the scale has pinctada maxima along the outer 2+mm with a resin lining (meant to, wink wink, imitate a mother of pearl!) I wouldn’t be crazy enough to dare to try and import this thing w/o a USFW permit because you WILL get busted, no matter how cutesy they were with their wording (which I thank them for doing anyway, #blessthefrench), but the biggest “tell” they never thought about would be, why the heck would anyone go to the trouble of using a resin liner behind a fake shell? It would be cooler if they were no-liner, no-seam, no glazing, but MOP is fragile stuff, and the uncompromising beauty of the material and its special iridescence is still here.
Parlaying the extreme demand for such a special thing, Thiers-Issard isn’t going to let you buy these handles on something cheaper like a “Le Grelot” or “Evide Sonnant Extra”; it will be cordoned off in the VIP lounge, and thus herewith we have a gold-themed ‘Spartacus’ trademark with matching gold gilding on the spine, which has been hand filed in the “motif feston long” physical pattern. (“275” = both sides matte, “889” = one side brightly polished, “188” = both sides brightly polished). File jimps – those little ridges provided for an enhanced grip – are present upon the tang.
This business is wholly centered upon the sale of one hollow ground straight razor to one shaver one at a time; “1 str8rzr alone” is ~50% of all our orders. You may elect to have your TI with its factory edge (which we think is exceptional, but that’s just one subjective opinion, and opinions vary) or further honed by ‘TSS’, as only you see fit; there is not a right or wrong answer. ‘TSS’ rather doubts the worth of debating this ‘Shave Ready’ concept today; anyone can bandy that term about as if objective, meaningful information (like a sprinter’s time), but in fact it is completely subjective.
If you elect for the factory edge (= just pick which ‘specimen’ you want from the ‘police lineup’ pics, and *don’t* add a note to vendor @ checkout), you’ll receive your razor exactly as its manufacturers intended…pretty simple! The factory seal’s been breached, yes, but only so you could choose from individual pictures of stock.
If you elect for The Superior Shave to further hone your razor (= add a ‘note to vendor’ in checkout), this TI shall be honed in the manner taught in 2016 to The Superior Shave’s proprietor by two kind Solingen master grinders (whom did/do not work for Dovo, but do use similar 1840s grinders’ textbooks methods). Regardless of their poor refinement compared to further-honed ‘Honemeister’ edges on offer, some physical elements of factory edges remain superior to most further honing attempts. The Superior Shave will devote the extra time to your razor a dying industry cannot afford in overhead, without taking away the factory edge’s inherently advantaged geometric metrics. We’re confident we offer the materially thinnest further-honed-by-vendor edge available for purchase – you’ll need to try that to understand why it matters. Please note: in the professional opinions of German and French razor grinders, a straight razor is not properly honed unless flush to the hone, without tape, so visual evidence of honing is unavoidable when honing is performed correctly according to its makers.
We hone with a method best coined as “the opposite of tape“ where a hone’s geometry’s wholly catered to performance of the razor and to no other concern. Unfortunately, this topic cannot be discussed upon any English-based straight-razor-centric forum because a select group of e-enthusiasts cannot abide such open discourse. Be encouraged to think for yourself, and let your beard and sense of touch be the judge; there is a lot of misinformation out there, much purportedly from experts! We wish you good shopping, and Happy Shaving.