I am a jewelry junky.
No, I do not have a ridiculously large or valuable collection, but everything I have I love. Thanks (not really) to my house being robbed quite a while ago, I started from scratch rebuilding and replacing my collection. Luckily, I was not at home when I was robbed but none-the-less felt ever so violated. And of course on that day I was wearing my junk jewelry. I lost some very heartfelt pieces – my grandmother’s wedding link bracelet, a gold watch that I received from my parents on my 13th birthday, an emerald ring and a few other memorable items. Other pieces I cannot remember but I was able to purchase new items with the insurance coverage. Things such as an Elsa Peretti floating heart necklace was easily replaced, others took much longer as I am very particular.
I was in the retail jewelry trade for 10 years having worked in both an artisanal boutique and a very well known high end luxury chain. I met artists, designers and commercially successful owners – brands from David Yurman to Verdura and mom and pop businesses to successful one horse shops. Surprise, I feel the same about jewelry as I do about clothes and accessories. I am not particularly keen on commercially successful brands that everyone is wearing. Give me a piece of jewelry from an unknown artist and I am happy. Of course the piece must be practical to some degree, that is, will stand the test of time but it has to have its own voice and not worn by the masses.
I have purchased jewelry in various places: craft shows, small retailers, a major US store or two and of course in Italy. In Italy, if you have a good eye, you can pick some treasures from the mass of commercial pieces. Yes, I love the Ponte Vecchio and I long to look out the back window of a shop to the Arno River some day again soon. And of course in Florence – gloves, handbags, clothes… and lots of gelato! Yum!
Paris certainly has its share of jewelry establishments. You can peruse in luxury retailers, historically successful stores such as Cartier or Van Cleef and Arpels, other shops on Place Vendôme or hunt around the arrondissements for its flavor of jewelry. There is no shortage of selection just the proverbial shortage of time and money. Here are a few of the brands in Paris that seem popular – Dinh Van and Emmanuelle Zysman. I am particularly fond of Tiany Chambard, a terrific little shop in St. Germain, stocking vintage jewelry.
For those of you Francophiles living either in the US or abroad, please share your jewelry store finds. Mama Mia, Italian sources are welcome too.