One of the true delights of Paris lies in the art of ´flânerie´ – the leisurely, aimless stroll that leads you through the city’s hidden nooks and crannies; and as you meander along, you may chance upon a charming boulevard or an irresistibly romantic alleyway. It’s in one of these tucked away corners of Paris that you’re bound to stumble upon an ´atelier,´ an artist’s workshop where someone is engrossed in crafting something unique, completely absorbed in their work amid the bustling tapestry of daily life. They may not even notice your arrival, and when they do, you might receive the obligatory “bonjour” that every shopkeeper offers as you’re left to explore in quiet contemplation.
´Then, inevitably, you’ll discover that one item that captures your heart, whether it’s a whimsical broach, the perfect pair of earings, or an exquisitely beautiful necklace. In that moment, you’ll know that you simply must make it yours. When you return from your journey, that special piece you acquired will become a cherished addition to your life and whenever you wear it, people will inquire where you found such a captivating piece of wearable art.´ – Charles Daniel McDonald
While it’s indeed impossible to encompass every jewellery designer or shop in Paris, the following recommendations should serve as a tantalising starting point for your imagination. Though the experience may not replicate the enchantment of wandering through the city’s streets, it can still inspire dreams of unique and exquisite finds that you may encounter on your next trip.
If you’re a jewellery enthusiast, then Paris is undoubtedly your haven, and within this haven, Place Vendôme and rue de la Paix stand as an oasis at its very heart. This enclave is home to a multitude of extraordinary designers, among them, the jewellery house that proudly claims to be the oldest in the world: Maison Mellerio dits Meller, or simply, Mellerio. Established in 1613, this venerable establishment has graced 9 rue de la Paix in the heart of the illustrious jewellery district since 1815. It carries with it a legacy of royal patronage, counting among its distinguished clients luminaries such as Marie de Medici, Queen Victoria, and Marie Antoinette. Today, their online boutique offers you the opportunity to virtually step inside their hallowed store, peruse their collection, meticulously size out engagement rings, and immerse yourself in their ´high jewellery´ offerings. While the price tags often reach stratospheric heights, it’s not difficult to comprehend why Mellerio has endured for centuries as the ultimate reference point for exquisite French jewellery craftsmanship.
The Marais is an ideal location for a leisurely stroll to uncover hidden treasures, and Monsieur Paris is undoubtedly one of the finest places to do just that. What makes it even more special is that the ´Monsieur´ behind Monsieur Paris is none other than the petite and inquisitive Nadia Azoug. While her large eyes and curious demeanor may evoke thoughts of Amelie Poulain, Nadia and her craftsmanship transcend this comparison. Drawing inspiration from her Kabyle heritage in North Africa and driven by the ambition to create a jewellery collection that could proudly stand alongside the venerable houses of the Marais, all while remaining accessible to fellow artists like herself, Monsieur Paris offers a range that truly caters to everyone’s tastes. The collection boasts playful pendants, delicate rings, bohemian bracelets, and timeless earrings that effortlessly become your everyday adornments. What sets Monsieur Paris apart is its commitment to ethical practices. Every piece is crafted from sustainable 18k gold and recycled silver. Furthermore, the workshop, skilled jewellers, and artisans are all located within a mere kilometer of each other in the heart of the city. This proximity not only adds to the charm but also ensures meticulous craftsmanship and quality in every creation.
Even if you haven’t yet come across the name Messika, it’s quite likely that you’ve encountered their creations adorning some of the most renowned women in the world. A particular favorite of celebrities like Beyoncé and Kate Moss, Messika had its genesis in Paris back in 2005 under the visionary guidance of Valérie Messika. Notably, her father, André, is celebrated as one of the city’s foremost diamond merchants. Valérie Messika’s initial triumph came with the introduction of the “Skinny” collection, a series of delicately thin and flexible designs that revolutionised the concept of statement jewellery pieces. The flagship boutique, nestled on Rue Saint Honoré in Paris, exudes an atmosphere of serenity with its harmonious blend of neutral tones and opulent finishes. However, if an immediate visit to the boutique isn’t on your agenda, the online store offers an equally immersive experience, allowing you to delve into the world of Messika from the comfort of your own space.
You know that indescribable, effortless charm that some French women seem to effortlessly exude, as if they just woke up with it? That enigmatic magic is an integral part of 4 Crosses, the artisanal jewellery collection crafted by Parisian artist Sophie Vallois Gouard. Each piece is a unique creation, meticulously designed by Gouard in her atelier, and they all embody the timeless elegance associated with icons like Jackie Kennedy, who serves as one of her inspirations. What sets 4 Crosses apart is its ability to capture the cherished sentiment of a piece passed down through generations. These are the kind of jewellery pieces that become more intriguing the longer you gaze at them, making it entirely possible that you might find yourself dedicating a day to the captivating world of their fineries.
The House of Repossi originated in Turin, Northern Italy, but it has found its abode in Place Vendôme, Paris, since the 1980´s, solidifying its status as one of the most iconic contemporary jewellery brands worldwide. Repossi’s earliest designs from the 1940´s epitomised the artistic shift toward avant-garde aesthetics, characterised by geometric patterns and vibrant colours that were emblematic of the era. In the decades that have ensued, this ultra-sleek and eternally chic sensibility has endured, evolving to resonate with a new generation under the creative direction of Gaia Repossi. Gaia’s influence extends well beyond the world of fashion, firmly establishing her as one of the most influential figures in the industry. Their online boutique is a treasure trove of pieces that encapsulate the essence of Parisian chic. Its minimalist aesthetic serves as a poignant reminder of the city’s unique allure and timeless elegance.
Jewellery shopping in Paris is a delightful experience that combines the city’s rich history of craftsmanship, iconic brands, diverse selection, and personalised service. Whether you’re seeking timeless elegance or modern designs, Parisian ateliers offer a wide range of options to suit a myriad of tastes and budgets. The cultural and historical significance of these shops, along with the assurance of quality and authenticity, make jewellery shopping in Paris a truly unique and memorable experience for visitors and locals alike.
Article: Charles Daniel McDonald
Photography: Maison Mellerio / Monsieur Paris / Messika / 4 Crosses / Repossi