True, the mythic jewelers of Paris are way out of the budget conscious shopper’s league, but walking up the Champs-Elysées to the newest Cartier temple and drooling on the windows is absolutely free. Sure, the discrete gentlemen guarding the doors might not approve but what can they do? Every time I go (which might be more than could be considered normal but definitely less than obsessive, definitely, I’m sure), there are at least a dozen women standing with nose to glass right alongside of me. But there comes a time in every girl’s life when you must separate yourself from the store window and get a little real. If you look around Paris, you see plenty of women who are sporting a little sparkle, a bit of flash, a trinket here and a bangle there, and they are not offering up their children to Mr. Chaumet in exchange for baubles. Instead, fashionable Parisian women find the hidden boutiques and jewelry stores that offer affordable quality pieces or decadent imitations. After that, it is all about who you want to share your little secret with. I choose you, but you can’t tell anyone else, OK?
If you absolutely must have Cartier, Boucheron, Van Cleef and the others then stop by Dary’s, right near Place Vendôme, to view their collection of second-hand pieces. The jewelry is about 30% cheaper than when it was sold the first time around. This place is only for the expert and determined, though, as there is a huge collection in a very small space and it can be overwhelming.
Hours: M-F 10 to 6, Sat 12-6Musée du Louvre Bookshop
If you can’t have the 24k gold and diamond ring of your dreams, then why not settle for something almost as beautiful and charmed with the lure and mystery of history? The museum shop has over 250 pieces of jewelry based on original artifacts in the collection or details and objects in paintings. Earrings, rings, bracelets and necklaces, all inspired from masterpieces! Most of the collection is in silver or gold-plate, but there are a few pieces in gold. Visit the website to start shopping now.
Phone: 01 40 20 52 06
Fax: 01 40 20 54 45
www.satellite.fr (in French only) Founded by an enthnologue and her friend after their trip around the world, this boutique company features well crafted pieces. Their different collections offer you a choice of exotic and otherworldl:, romantic and fantastical, or whimsical and modern. Prices range from 20 euros for small, simple earrings to a few hundred euros for elaborate necklaces. Sandrine Dulon’s and Daniel Ouaki’s 15 year old business has been featured in most French fashion magazines, and their creations can be found in most of the large department stores. Visit their website to get a glimpse of their upcoming collection.
314 rue Saint Honoré, 75001, between Place Vendôme and Place du Palais Royal 10 Passage du Grand Cerf 75002, near rue Montorgueil and rue Etienne Marcel 23 rue des Francs Bourgeois, 75004, near Place des Vosges 15 rue du Cherche-midi 75006, near the carrefour de la Croix Rouge
Simple, understated, modern jewelry is the norm here. However, there are certainly a number of signature pieces, too. Most of their collection is in high-quality silver but they occasionally mix a few gold pieces into the lot. And of course, the prices are reasonable. There are some boutiques spread sparsely around the world. Check out their website or www.clioblueusa.com for more information on the locations.
8 place des Victoires, 75002
16 rue du Chereche Midi, 75006
What do you get when you mix a French architect with a jewelry aficionado? A great collection of well crafted, modern jewelry. This young designer, originally from Toulouse, just has one, small, slightly hidden boutique in Paris but it is well worth the search if you like funky, unique pieces. One of my favorites is a silver ring inscribed in French with a quote from the legendary Casanova. Only 95 euros! He also has several styles of bracelets with silver and leather and silver with light catching acrylic. If you prefer gold, most pieces can be customized in about 10 days. Store hours can be a little unpredictable so you might
want to call first.
Architect firm and jewelry store:
9 rue Antonin Mercier, 31000 Toulouse
www.lesnereides.com (in English and French)
I only mention this line because it is quite popular. While a few of their pieces have caught my eye in the past, I find this season’s designs too whimsical. But hey, that’s just me. Visit their website and judge for yourself.
23, rue du Four, 75006
12, rue du Paradis – 06000 Nice
(They also have shops in London and Japan)
Gas by Marie
André Gas brings the luxe and decadence of St. Tropez circa 1970’s into modern times with his own collection and the one named for his daughter. Lots of the baubles, sparkles and colors that are a la mode this season. But again, I’m not really lovin’ where fashion is going right now. Hated the 80’s the first time around. Still, while I was visiting the store I saw a fashionably clad woman snapping up necklaces to go with her swimwear and a brooch for her winter coat. May or may not be the collection for you but take a peak just for fun.
238 Mott Street, New York