The 324 years old Oak tree used to create this incredible piece was born in the Versailles gardens. Planted in the spring of 1679 and cared for by André Le Nôtre (1613-1700) landscape architect and the gardener of King Louis XIV of France, it was located near l'allée de la Reine between le Grand Canal and the Grand Trianon where Marie Antoinette (1755-1793) and the royal family often stayed.
The huge oak tree was one of the few that escaped the major renovation of the Versailles gardens order by Louis XVI in 1776. As of 2003, this tree was also one of the few specimens that survived the terrible storm of December 26, 1999. Measuring finally 115 feet high and 18 feet around, weakened by the storm, it fell victim to the same sun it had sheltered royal heads from, dying in the drought that accompanied a heat wave in 2003. As if being Versailles's oldest and biggest was not enough, this tree was more notorious for being called Marie Antoinette's Oak "Le chêne de Marie-Antoinette" as it was said that it was her favorite place to rest during hot summer days. At already over 100 years old during her reign it surely provided plenty of shade to rest.
The bottom section of the tree is now on display in Versailles (as of 2004, Palais du Trianon). One of Marie Antoinette's sapling was planted at its original location.
The remaining portion of the tree was purchased in its entirety by Vialis Creation™ (Chateau Laguiole®) to make a variety of knives and this wine opener. This Chateau Laguiole is the fifth addition to the exclusive Versailles collection and is exclusively found in North America trough NeverUnder, LLC / Laguiole-Imports.com website. The selection of woods used to create the magnificent Versailles collection was harvested from the gardens of the Chateau de Versailles. Nearly all of the rare and old specimen trees of the castle were uprooted during the terrible storm of December 26, 1999, most of those trees were imported from around the world to the Chateau de Versailles during the 18th century has part of the 1776 gardens renovation ordered by Louis XVI.
The symbol represented on this Versailles model is an exact replica of Marie Antoinette's seal and represent the Queen's interlocked initials (M.A.) The queen was notorious for marking her properties located in "Le petit Trianon palace" with this symbol. The permission to use Marie Antoinette's seal was kindly given to Mr. Vialis by the Chateau de Versailles authorities. Read this CBS article Marie Antoinette's Oak Croaks.
Handle Material:Marie Antoinette's Oak, France (Gardens of the Chateau de Versailles). Age of the old tree is based on the year the matured sapling was planted (~1685) and the year it died (2003). Note that the gardens of Versailles are "renewed" every ~100 years and that removal and replacement trees are historically recorded and archived.