My 5 absolute favorite French jewelry brands!
We all know that famous Place Vendôme in Paris, that corner of the world known for being this incredible fine jewelry hub. The famous names that opened their first boutique right here, in the mondain centre of Paris.
Today I would like to take you with me and explore some of my very favorite brands from France. Some old, some rather new. There is so much beauty and creativity and so many sophisticated jewelry houses.
French versus Italian jewelry
Is there a difference between French jewelry and f.e. Italian brands? Today, with all of us living in a world that has become so much wider, where globalisation isn't just a fashion word anymore, but a thing we all live in some way, on a daily basis, I would argue that styles from different countries are all influenced by creative expressions abroad. Big companies hire international staff, thus losing some of their original cultural heritage. But this is not a bad thing at all. In the end, we are all still searching to feel what defines us as people of a certain country, whilst at the same time, we feel more than ever connected with other cultures and people throughout the world. Technology has brought us this and technology will bring us much further in the future for sure.
But it's delightful to see some of the roots back into any creative expression!
Lorenz Baümer, has opened just a few years ago, his very first boutique, right next to the big names carrying an important and long history on the Place Vendome. I appreciate this daring move very much. His jewelry is often described as whimsical and there are indeed some fantastic fauna and flora inspired pieces in his collection. I published his creations many times already on Bizzita. He dazzles me!
Ray of sunshine
Lorenz is trained as an engineer, but really had the opportunity of following his own heart, creating jewelry. As a child op a German diplomat and a French mother, he attended many official occassions and witnessed how is mum almost transformed right before his eyes, when she put on her jewelry. As by magic, she became more sophisticated and princesslike, the jewelry brought her and those around her a ray of sunshine. His love for designing never stopped, even during his education as an engineer. His first pieces were all sold to friends of his mother and later he got noticed by Chanel and other very famous names. For the past years he has been the creative director for Louis Vuitton's fine jewelry and he turned his own brand, who used to work from an office and only by appointment, to a real brand with a real store.
Perhaps relatively unknown, standing in the shadow of his famous neighbors, but a brand to watch. The jewelry is magnificent. And if you have the chance to see his jewelry for real, when visiting Paris, do not hesitate to do so!
Morphée jewelry is this fantastic company, also relatively young. Pamela Hastry, originally from Belgium, works from the French capital for some years now and she is doing so well! Her jewelry has this ultra feminine touch. It's light, fresh and nature inspired. It's approachable and very wearable! In touch with fashion developments, but still with that uber chic approach that Paris is so famous for. I adore her jewelry and thinks she is such a lovely, warm and inspiring person!
The cherry blossom collection is amazing, but it's her frog that captured my heart :-) and she knows it!
Boucheron needs hardly any introduction. This historical company started by Frédérique Boucheron in 1858 has so much glamour to it and such a rich history, that it's almost overwhelming.
Why you pay a little more for famous brands
But what you need to know is that their standards are extremely high. All the big brands, whether that's in fashion or in jewelry, will always have that added value to the jewelry. You'll most probably will pay relatively more for a piece of jewelry by a famous jewelry company. And it's not the difference in quality, that makes you pay more. Maybe I can explain it better like this: there are some amazing bag companies that produce the most beautiful handmade bags, in a small workshop with artisans and those bags are in leather and perhaps much better in quality and material than a Gucci bag. Yet, it's the Gucci bag that many will buy, as it is recognizable,and it has created that strong desire amongst the readers of fashion blogs and magazines. It is status that everyone will recognize in an instant. And only the happy few will notice that the bag from the small artisan company, is really more beautiful.
Love the hedgehog!
Even in value, should you want your bag or piece of jewelry to have a second life, the name of a famous company will add value to the sale. Having said all this, I do not mean to potrait Boucheron as a company that makes you pay a lot more for a little less in quality. Boucheron has a very beautiful and unique style. It has a collection that starts from slightly more affordable all gold rings, even with the whimsical figures such as the hedgehog. And of course, it has this high profile, extrememly valueable and stunning collection of fine jewelry that is only for the rich and famous people on this planet.
I love Boucheron for their history, but I love them also for their stunning jewelry...and I adore them because they have such an amazing collection of animal jewelry :-)
Mathon Paris 1931
Roger Mathon had an uncle Camille Bournadette, who opened a small jewelry workshop in 1931. They worked together and created the most amazing pieces for companies such as Van Cleef & Arpels. In 1972 they also created jewelry as their own brand Mathon.
Why I love Mathon? Because it's colorful and rich. It's the love for craftsmanship. And of course, again this company has a vivid imagination and has created the most awesome animal inspired jewelry pieces. In their very own and unique way. Mathon is also such an approachable kind company with an almost modest attitude. Something I love. I see the glamour of the pieces of jewelry, and I do understand the world of glitz and appearance.
But I am a modest, down to earth person who looks much more at all the hard work behind the scenes. Maybe a little less impressed by stars, red carpets and so forth, yet so appreciative of the hard work of people in marketing and pr, the creators of the jewelry, the ability and craftsmanship of the goldsmiths.
My favorite piece of Mathon? Well, right now it 's this frog ring!
You have seen her jewelry on this blog so many times. And there is a good reason for it. It's not just that I am personally very fond of her creations, but also: gosh, these images are so impressive on the screen. Some jewelry is nice and lovely, but online it kind of fades, it becomes slightly anonymous. Well, that's not the case with any piece of jewelry from the collection of Lydia! They are loud and in your face, yet so fantastic and so very extravagent that even people who would never dream to wear her jewelry, it expresses fun and boldness, bringing a smile to their face, like a piece of art can do that too.
Dark, playful, and very amusing
Her jewelry is unique and has it's very own fans. It takes a person with a strong character and a daring approach ( and well filled wallet ;-) ) towards jewelry, to actually wear her pieces. It's not that I say this to brag about my own taste, but I have seen so much jewelry in the past 20 years and I have now that kind of age, where you know yourself. Where you feel that you do not care so much about what others think of your choices and appearance anymore, but where you feel that you like something that really represent YOU, instead of chosing whatever is fashionable today. And yes, I do love those fashion jewelry pieces too. They are fun and so much easier to wear and buy, hahaha...But if I should ever be in the position to be able to spend really some money on a piece of jewelry, I would want it to be very personal and reflective of who I am. My husband still thinks that Lydia Courteille is amazing, but still struggles with the idea of me wearing a turtle, frog or donkey on my finger. No...I have none of these, but he knows that if money was no option, this is what his wife would wear..hahaha...
Lydia is there to be enjoyed. For a public that has already lots of jewelry. Normally people buy something classical first, like a diamond ring, a string of pearls and so forth. Only then, people dare to go for more fantasy and extravagant pieces. What I love most about Lydia? Her darkness and her fantasy and the colors of her jewelry.
My favorite piece? Changes everytime but at this moment it's the seahorse!
My personal reflection
All the companies described have beautiful jewelry. It's all well made! So, you can't choose on which one is the absolute *best*. There is no such thing as the *best*. But I tried to describe what I find appealing about them. This is a very personal thing, and it's what makes me turn my head around and look really close at the creations of these companies. I had to make a selection and had to leave out so much great jewelry from others! But next week, I will compromise for the fact that I left Van Cleef & Arpels out of this blog ;-) I hope you'll look at jewelry, trying to understand what it is that is attractive in your eyes. It sometimes is much more subtle than we think. It could be the kindness of a company, the color of a ring, a certain gemstone that appeals to you, the fact that a seahorse has a specific meaning for you. See, for me the seahorse represents the place where I go to when I meditate, for example. I go there in my mind, we have no such thing here as white beach, with waving palms and a colorful marine life here in the Netherlands...hahaha, but there you go. It's a symbol for that happy place in my mind. Would love to know what you think, found attractive or what it means to you!