Rue de la Paix – Place Vendôme: an iconic jewellery district nestled deep within Paris
Arriving at Place Vendôme or Rue de la Paix is an unbeatably breathtaking experience. Chanel, Cartier, Dior, Van Cleef & Arpels: this Parisian haven of French luxury reflects all the exceptional expertise of its jewellers.
Nestled within this exclusive epicentre of French high jewellery lies Maison Mellerio, which moved into Rue de la Paix around the time of the French Restoration. One hundred and sixty years later, it was joined by the quintessentially Parisian Maison Poiray. More recently, the octagonal Place Vendôme at the end of the street has become home to the ingenious Lorenz Bäumer, just a stone's throw from the Ritz.
To understand why these independent jewellery houses remain so firmly rooted on the capital's most legendary street, we need to explore their history and the foundations of their prowess.
9 rue de la Paix: the secretive and pioneering Maison Mellerio
Despite being one of the world's oldest jewellers, it has barely aged over the centuries. The first to take up residence on the legendary Rue de la Paix in 1815, Mellerio dits Meller is a family business with expertise stretching back over 15 generations. It has successfully navigated through five centuries of French history. Since 1613, it has been creating unique designs worn by artists and royalty alike, such as Marie de' Medici, Marie-Antoinette, Georges Sand and La Belle Otero. Building on 410 years of artistic craftsmanship, this illustrious family's key values are creativity, honesty and discretion.
Laure-Isabelle Mellerio has now taken over the reins. Her ambition is to nurture the traditional yet contemporary image of her heritage. Maison Mellerio is renowned for its modern and elegant designs inspired by Italy and its own signature, with contrasting volumes, colours and materials.
The singular excellence of its expertise is also illustrated through another patented technique known as the “Mellerio Cut”. This unique and skilful cut is characterised by the arrangement of 57 facets (24 on the crown and 33 on the pavilion) which illuminate the precious stone to give it unrivalled brilliance and sparkle. The final outline of the stone gives it an unusual oval shape, reflecting Maison Mellerio's ancestral roots. It features on rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelet watches.
17 Rue de la Paix: the iconic Maison Poiray
When founding the Maison Poiray in the early 70s, François Hérail and Michel Ermelin knew one thing for certain: that precious jewellery needed to be elegant, creative and tailored to the wearer's mood. Despite being considered to be audacious at the time, the concept was a roaring success. The two men opened their prestigious boutique on the only Parisian street deemed worthy of their ambitions: Rue de la Paix. They were joined by Nathalie Hocq in 1986. As an adventurous Parisian who loved to surround herself with artists, she brought her own vision of uninhibited luxury to the Maison. Jewellery was no longer only reserved for special occasions, but formed an integral part of women's multi-faceted everyday lives.
With its unrivalled knowledge of stones, Poiray was the first jeweller in Place Vendôme to expand beyond precious stones. It began to introduce fine and ornamental stones into its designs, opening up access to an immense colour palette. Parisian women adored it, and its success soon spread far and wide. These infinite colour combinations, along with exceptional jewellery expertise and an adventurous sense of creativity, are what makes Poiray stand out from the crowd.
Of the many designs created by the jeweller, one piece was to become truly iconic: the “Cœur Entrelacé”. First launched in 1993, it has now been enriching Poiray's collections for 30 years. Featuring gold or diamonds, fine or ornamental stones, white or coloured enamel, it is a timeless classic with curved, graphic and simple lines. Designed to celebrate any kind of love, it can be worn as a pendant, earrings, ring or bracelet. As well as “Cœur Entrelacé”, the “Ma Première” watch has also become an iconic piece for Maison Poiray.
19 Place Vendôme: the avant-garde Maison Bäumer
The only independent jeweller in Place Vendôme, Lorenz Bäumer has been designing his pieces for 30 years. By the time he moved into 19 Place Vendôme, his unbridled creativity already preceded him. His collaborations with Chanel, LVMH, Hermès, Cartier, Piaget, Bréguet, Baccarat, Nathalie Blanc and Guerlain reflected his inexhaustible inventiveness.
One of his proudest achievements was being chosen by the Monaco royal family to create the tiara for princess Charlene Wittstock. She was to wear this piece of jewellery for her wedding to Prince Albert II. Especially for her, he created “Ecume de diamants”; a unique, asymmetric piece inspired by their passion for each other and the sea, with its shape representing the movement of a wave.
Nothing is too daring for Bäumer. He believes that beauty heralds happiness and la vie en rose. His astonishing creations reflect his artistic skill and quirkiness. He designs tattooed diamonds, works with meteorites, creates the illusion that his stones defy the laws of gravity, and has fun hiding clever details in the curves or backs of the jewellery he creates.
Each and every one of his designs has a soul. This was the jeweller's idea behind the iconic “Heartbeat” collection. It represents a wave of emotion like the ones transmitted by an electrocardiogram, capturing the vibrations emitted by a heart as it delicately expresses its feelings. Available in rose or white gold or enhanced by delicate diamond paving, the jewellery in this collection elegantly exalts the woman wearing it.
Like timeless guardians of the secrets of French high jewellery through history, the Place Vendôme and Rue de la Paix are home to prestigious Maisons whose single aim is to inspire and delight. Waskoll, Korloff, Dinh Van, Jaubalet, Mauboussin, Vever: France's most prestigious luxury names bathe in the northern light that so perfectly complements the stones on display. And we are delighted to bring you them.
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