Ardennes Coticules since 1865
Ardennes Coticules is one of those companies that's a living example of a renaissance: being born and re-born once again only to take on a slightly different, better form of itself. Shaped in 1865 as a creative workshop, Ateliers Burton, it transformed into Ardennes Coticules more than an age later, in 1998. Maintaining the age-old knowhow in the production of the whetstone Coticule. Under the motto: "Valuable expertise should not be forgotten, but innovation is necessary", the exploitation of the Atelier Burton quarries remains, but the traditional production and sales of schist are being used for different, more contemporary, applications.
The Ardennes story is quite a unique tale. When telling this story one needs to go back in time, way back. Holding the Coticule in your hand, is literally touching a piece of Earthly history. Whetstones have been mined in the Belgian Ardennes since 1625. Today these deposits are unique and only to be found in the Southern part of Belgium. But the story really becomes impressive when you realize that the Coticule is a living piece of prehistory. With the modest age of 480 million years old, this whetstone is a valuable piece of this blue globe's natural wealth. The Coticule is mined from almost soft, grey-yellow sedimentary rocks built up from clay and volcanic ash, the typical consistency of the Ardennes' soil.
This stone might not seem so special at first, but hidden in the corners of this object, a unique and valuable Belgian natural resource and the knowhow and tradition of Ardennes is to be unraveled and discovered. The Coticule, or Belgian sharpening stone, is an age-old type of whetstone unique to the Ardennes territory. In crystal form the Garnet is round or slightly oval and resembles a football (5-20 micron), made up of tiny facets (Rhomboid). These facets create obtuse angles to each other and form the corners that are put in contact with the metal to be sharpened. These attributes are why the stone sharpens so quickly and delicately and is undoubtedly valuable and imperishable in its use and to its owner.
THE CONNECTION WITH LES SAGAS
For Les Sagas this could be labeled a Saga de Noël, a.k.a. a Christmas tale. On one of her annual strolls on the Brussels’ Christmas market, Catharina's eyes fell upon one of Ardennes' Coticules. While she was looking for a Christmas present, what she found was a precious sharpening stone, a valuable object to complete Les Sagas' collection of authentic objects that tell a story. Ardennes Coticules’ story that, Maurice, Ardennes' owner, was eager to share with Catharina. In those words, in that stone a story was told on the rhythm of Christmas carols and in the bright window of Les Sagas the tale of Ardennes Coticules is being shared today.