Sometimes it is described as the ‘French know-how’ and, when it comes to jewellery, this isn’t just a phrase, but history and craftsmanship rolled into a trio of words. The international brands on Place Vendôme demand great amounts of attention, yet this ‘French know-how’ is exhibited by jewellers large and small, both recognisable and more discreet. Here are five more brands and designers who, along with those mentioned in my French Jewellers Focus Part One, are worthy of any jewellery lover’s little black book.
Hailing from New Caledonia in the South Pacific, Anouck Veyret grew up surrounded by jewellery and watches in her family’s boutique in Nouméa. To realise her passion for gems, especially coloured stones, she travelled from the small island archipelago to the bustling streets of Paris and created her own eponymous maison, specialising in fine jewellery that’s especially suited to daily wear. Anouck is a trained gemmologist and therefore sources her stones personally. Perhaps most emblematic of the brand’s signature style is the Sari Grand Soir cuff, which has a subtle ‘V’ shape and an openwork design, drawing inspiration from the Maison’s three core pillars of sun, light and travel. The Sari Bridal Perles d'Or ring looks especially bold when set with richly toned pink or blue sapphires, framed by two rows of millegrain.
Cannelle Poncin Germain (abbreviated to simply ‘CPG’) is an award-winning French jewellery designer who, although based in Paris, is more typically found in Geneva, Sydney, Dubai or wherever her private clients may be. In addition to creating her own pieces, she collaborates with leading brands in the Place Vendôme, as well as in Asia, the Middle East and in Oceania, which gives her design process a broad international perspective. Her key sources of inspiration spans across various cultures, legends, architecture as well as flora and fauna. Having a closer look at the designs that Cannelle has created for her own collection, it became apparent that she loves to introduce infinity elements in her designs, let it be an endless ribbon that wraps around a tourmaline in a ring or the diamond swirls elegantly holding a pearl drop.
Annette Girardon is led by the distinctive personalities of her clients and while there is no doubt she could create a fully-formed collection, she instead chooses to make one-off creations tailored to the moods and whims of her customers. Born in Düsseldorf, Germany, Annette eventually found her way to Paris, which is a theme among fine jewellers looking to establish their careers. She trained at the Haute École de Joaillerie and learned the skills of modelling, casting, setting and polishing that allowed her to work firstly as an in-house jeweller and, some years later, for herself under her own name. Today, the creations that emerge from her studio on Rue du Mont-Thabor are colourful and sculptural, featuring Australian opal, carved chrysoprase, amaranth wood and fire opal; smooth shapes of rose and yellow gold; ‘chocolate’ South Sea pearls and even carved fire agate.
There’s a rebelliousness at the heart of FLAV jewellery, founded by artist Flavie Paris, that has captured the attention of similarly unruly creatives in her homeland, most notably street artist Le Diamantaire, with whom she created a gender-neutral joint collection: Chic & Bling. Flavie studied art history and archaeology before becoming an apprentice at Cartier and working as a jewellery designer for Michelle Ong in Hong Kong. Since establishing her own brand in 2015, Flavie has followed her own rules and channelled her inspirations – art, architecture, antiquity and symbolism – into large cocktail rings and Pop Art-like pendants with a sense of humour that temporarily draws attention from the significant stones they contain. Recently Flavie did an exciting collaboration with the French artist Le Diamantaire and together they created a series of gold rings styled as diamond facets to reflect Le Diamantaire’s signature style.
There’s undoubtedly bravery in choosing to create minimalistic, sculptural designs… there’s nowhere to hide! Since the creation of her brand in 2005, Amelie Viaene has demonstrated jewellery discipline with sleek lines of precious metals, bright pops of faceted and cabochon gems and hand-making precision that makes pieces seemingly perfect from every angle. From her atelier at Rue Vaneau, Amelie creates jewels that fall into one of four collections, Essential, Ideal, Celebration and One of a Kind. In the latter, you’ll find some of her brightest sparks of colour, from the Ginza ring with a chunk of berry red tourmaline to the Sunset ring with a bright orange carnelian in smooth yellow gold. Head over to her Instagram and a world of bespoke commissions unfurls, like the recent Mandala ring with a rotating gemstone bead and an onyx cameo in blackened silver.
Diverse talents appeal to diverse tastes, which is why jewellery crafted in France by French artisans is worn as a badge of honour by jewellery aficionados in the United States, China, the Middle East, Russia and many more corners of the world. With this small but mighty selection of French jewellers, I hope you too are inspired to explore their works further and consider a broader spectrum of jewellers for the next addition to your collection.