For years, big houses dominated the Paris jewelry scene. But fast forward to today and there is also a thriving scene for independent fine jewelry, catering to the needs of a more informed and fashion-forward clientele. Take a virtual walk around Place Vendôme to understand the jewelry history of the City of Lights, then steal my addresses for your own jewelry insider’s guide.
Where to Find the City’s Heritage Jewelry Houses
Paris is synonymous with luxury and nowhere in the city is more upscale than Place Vendôme. A few minutes’ walk from the Champs-Elysées and the Golden Triangle, the famed square is overlooked by the Ritz Hotel and bordered by the dazzling storefronts of the world’s most famous fine jewelry houses.
As the epicenter of 19th-century Parisian chic, the Place housed numerous fashion and accessory labels, spearheaded by the first modern couturier, Charles Frederick Worth. The jewelry houses were traditionally on the nearby rue de la Paix, but after Paul Poiret and other couturiers began to move elsewhere in the city, the jewelers took up residence.
Boucheron was the first in 1893, followed by Cartier six years later, then Van Cleef & Arpels and others. In recent decades, Repossi, Lorenz Bäumer, and a host of watchmakers including Piaget and Rolex have all taken over the mansion houses bordering the Place. And when fashion heavyweights Chanel, Dior, and Louis Vuitton developed their fine jewelry offerings, there was only one place for their showrooms.
Contemporary Jewelry Stores to Know
White Bird is a great starting point for a careful edit of international independent jewelry designers ranging from the organic style of Japanese designer Noguchi, to Cathy Waterman’s nature-inspired pieces, and the beautiful serendipity of the Polly Wales’ rainbow stones.
After a first store on rue du Mont-Thabor nine years ago and a second in the Marais, a third White Bird opened on the Left Bank in May. And all three carry the store’s own brand, designed by owner Stéphanie Roger.
Another Left Bank jewelry destination is Le Bon Marché, the city’s oldest and grandest department store. The jewelry hall makes for a one-stop shop for contemporary designers, including Atelier Molinari, whose delicate gold lace-work rings are inspired by the lace-makers of her native Normandy, and Charlotte Chesnais, who has become well-known in recent years for her abstract, graphical earrings and rings.
Montaigne Market is a fashion editor favorite that is beginning to fill the hole left by quintessential Paris concept store, Colette, which closed in 2017. The jewelry edit is also spot-on, with gem-encrusted statement pieces by Lynn Ban and India-crafted love lockets by ex-editor for French ELLE, Marie Lichtenberg.
Names to Look out for on Your Weekend Stroll
One Paris designer who has recently become part of the city’s style lexicon is Marie Poniatowski at Stone Paris, whose diamond mini-creoles became an integral element of the Paris Girl look.
Up in the 9th, Myrtille Beck specializes in “love rings” and love tokens of all kinds; her beautifully delicate jewelry is worth the detour and she has recently added commitment jewelry for men to her collections.
With the new Galeries Lafayette outpost on the Champs Elysées, offering a cutting-edge selection of French and international jewellery designers, ranging from Ellery and Jacquemus to Alighieri and Sophie Bille Brahe, it’s now well worth looking beyond Place Vendôme for fine jewellery in Paris. Venture off the well-trodden rues and you will be rewarded with a unique update to your collection to take back home.
On Place Vendôme:
Cartier – 23 Place Vendôme 75001 Paris
Van Cleef & Arpels – 22 Place Vendôme 75001 Paris
Repossi – 6 Place Vendôme 75001 Paris
Lorenz Bäumer – 19 Place Vendôme 75001 Paris
Piaget – 16 Place Vendôme 75001 Paris
Rolex – 9 Place Vendôme 75001 Paris
White Bird – 38 rue du Mont-Thabor 75008 Paris
White Bird – 7 boulevard des Filles du Clavaire 75003 Paris
White Bird – 62 rue des Saints-Pères 75007 Paris
Montaigne Market – 18 Avenue Matignon 75008 Paris
Stone Paris – 60 rue des Saints-Pères 75007 Paris
Myrtille Beck – 20 Rue Henry Monnier 75009 Paris
Le Bon Marché (Charlotte Chesnais, Atelier Molinari) – 24 rue de Sèvres 75007 Paris
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Written by Kate Matthams for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates