Paris’ independent jewellers
A custom-made pearl and diamond gold ring by Shauna von Giesbrecht. (Kim Laidlaw Adrey)
Paris is a well-known destination for luxury shopping, and many international fine jewellery houses can be found in the French capital. But you don’t need to spend a fortune to buy an exclusive and luxurious bijou here, as the City of Light is also home to some exquisite independent and boutique jewellers.
Monsieur Paris (53 rue Charlot, 75003) is a jewellery shop and studio in the hip northern Marais. The boutique’s signature pieces are simple bangles, hoop earrings and band rings made with rose gold, yellow gold and silver, sometimes set with rubies or diamonds. All of the creations are made traditionally by hand in the Parisian boutique -- making each piece unique and authentically French.
Emmanuelle Zysman, a self-taught jewellery designer from Paris, set up her Montmartre boutique and studio (81 rue des Martyrs, 75018) in 2001, and now has a second branch on the Left Bank (33 rue de Grenelle, 75007). Precious and semi-precious stones adorn her pieces, which are displayed under glass bell jars in the black-walled store. Made from gold and silver, Zysman dubs her creations “good luck charms for the urban princess”. Bespoke fine jewellery can also be made to order and Zysman’s designs are favoured among Parisians for custom-made engagement rings. All of the items are made in her studio and can only be bought in the capital.
Stalactite (101 Rue Marcadet, 75018) is a small shop and studio set up by a jeweller who formerly worked with French designers such as Agnes B. Delicate chain bracelets and cute star stud-earrings come in affordable gold plate or 18-carat gold, and some pieces are set with diamonds or semi-precious stones, so there is something to suit all budgets. All pieces are made in the studio above the shop, and bespoke orders can be placed too.
Shauna von Giesbrecht is a bespoke fine-jeweller with a boutique and studio in the shadow of the Sacré-Coeur (24 rue Veron, 75018). As well as designing costume pieces for the Lido and restoring precious vintage pieces for the Musée Galliara, von Giesbrecht also creates unique, made-to-order fine jewellery for the public, by appointment. You can create your own design in silver, gold or platinum or have von Giesbrecht work with you to create an original piece. There is also a small collection of purse-friendly, ready-to-wear jewellery available to buy in the shop.
A trip to any of these independent jewellers will help you find a unique souvenir or beautiful gift that has been handmade locally with traditional craftsmanship. As an added bonus, you won’t see this jewellery on every other wrist or neck in New York, London and Tokyo -- and that really is precious.
Kim Laidlaw Adrey is the Paris Localite for BBC Travel. She also writes unlockparis.blogspot.com.