Behind the scenes of Paris’s Place Vendôme Jewelry Houses

Last week, I’ve had the pleasure to discover the fine jewelry houses of the legendary Place Vendôme. I’ve had a VIP visit of the private collections and workshops of the biggest names in the business and I’ve learnt how precious stones are fashioned into works of art with consummate craftsmanship. From French Houses, to Italian and finishing with a Swiss touch.

I think, the most famous of the Vendôme jewelers, would be Cartier, which opened its first shop in 1899 at the entrance to the square sur la Rue de la Paix. Cartier transited for fashionable watches and later for the extravagant jewels by artistic designer Jeanne Toussaint, who collaborated with the Duke and Duchess of Windsor on some of the century’s most celebrated jewelry.

Louis Vuitton jewelry, took up the corner edifice sur la Rue de la Paix, making way for the so called “corporatization” of the Place Vendôme. The supermodel Natalia Vodianova, wearing a lacy neck piece by Lorenz Bäumer, the artistic director at Louis Vuitton at that time (which now has he’s own Boutique in Place Vendôme), was at the store opening along with Princess Charlene of Monaco et la crème de la crème parisienne. Those guests went on to dine on the covered Ritz swimming pool — the last dinner before the restoration begun.

If before, we could name the square La Place Vendôme, nowadays, the nickname “Monsieur Arnault” would do more justice to the place. Why? Well, because it will soon become the place of all LVMH houses.

The 4C’s of Diamond Quality

Until the middle of the twentieth century, there was no agreed-upon standard by which diamonds could be judged. GIA created the first, and now globally accepted standard for describing diamonds: Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat Weight.

Today, the 4Cs of Diamond Quality is the universal method for assessing the quality of any diamond, anywhere in the world. The creation of the Diamond 4Cs meant two very important things: diamond quality could be communicated in a universal language, and diamond customers could now know exactly what they were about to purchase.

As creator of the Diamond 4Cs and the International Diamond Grading System™, GIA is not only a global authority, but the world’s trusted source for unbiased assessment.


4C Diamond Quality. Source: GIA

The 5 S on Pearl Quality

Gübelin’s grading system is based on Autore’s “Five S’s™” grading system. This method of grading was developed specifically for cultured pearls and provides a comprehensive and consistent methodology for grading the features that predominantly define the quality and thus the value of cultured pearls.

The Five S’s refer to the quality characteristics Shape, Size, Shade, Shine and Surface.
The grading of the pearls is performed using a pearl master set under standardized conditions.

The Teeth Test


Teeth test for pearls quality

  • Rub the pearls against your front teeth.
  • Hold one or two pearls between your thumb and forefinger and press them gently into the biting edge of your front teeth.
  • Rub them against your teeth with a side-to-side motion.

A real pearl will usually have a slightly rough or gritty texture from tiny scale-like imperfections in its outer layers of nacre. Fake pearls made from glass or plastic will usually be almost perfectly smooth.

You may want to brush your teeth before attempting this test to make sure they’re clean. Food residue from a recent meal can give false results.

Laurenz Bäumer Universe

Lorenz Bäumer opened his Boutique at 19, Place Vendôme in June 2013. Bäumer’s work is gloriously colorful. One of his most celebrated commissions was a wedding tiara for Princesse Charlène de Monaco.
Laurenz Bäumer was born in the United States to a German father and French mother, has lived in Paris since 1995 and, before becoming a jeweler, studied engineering and architecture.
When you go inside his Boutique, you feel like entering a private universe, where you discover his passions, his creations, his fine wine & spirits collection and the best chocolate to go along with. With every step that you take, you discover more about Laurenz Bäumer.

If you want to work with Lorenz Bäumer, don’t forget the ä in your letters, otherwise they will only see the bottom of the trash.

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Tournaire Paris Universe

When we say Tournaire Paris, we say Family, Heritage, Father & Son. Using a superb blend of colors, symbolic architecture and a keen eye for detail, for more than 40 years Philippe Tournaire has worked hard to establish his own distinctive rules of harmony. His son, Mathieu Tournaire, makes the transition throughout a different continuity of the Brand. His first major collection symbolises, through the use of a bridge, the link between himself and his father: a passage from one generation to the next, from father to son.

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David Morris Universe

David Morris, a London jeweler came to Paris to battle with the most prestigious houses of jewelry. He opened a Boutique near the Hôtel Costes, sur la Rue Saint Honoré, near Place Vendôme. Why not Place Vendôme? Well, for one, it is very difficult to fight with Monsieur Bernard Arnault for a shop there, but also because the Boutique wanted to take advantage of the traffic that Rue Saint-Honoré benefits from.

David Morris’s pieces are complemented by the sleek decor of the new space, designed by Eugène Brunell. With more than 50 years in business, David Morris jewelry has been in the spotlight as a present from Richard Burton to Elizabeth Taylor and with appearances in several James Bond films. Established in 1962, the brand currently has boutiques in London, Paris, Hong Kong, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Moscow, Riyadh and Baku and is set to open a Qatar boutique later this year.

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Dior Joaillerie

When you step into Dior Joaillerie Boutique on Place Vendôme, actually you step into the universe of Victoire de Castellane, who reinterpret the codes of the House of Dior with colorful jewelry, rich with meaning and history.

Her collection, Rose des Vents (windrose), is simply a masterpiece. On a small medallion, she has managed to inscribe over 60 years of history of the House of Dior.

The story starts in Granville, the hometown of Christian Dior where he spent his childhood. There, where in the family home perched up on a cliff overlooking the ocean, the great couturier grew up. From this villa baptized “Les Rhumbs” (the mariner term “rhumb” refers to the angle between the two points of the windrose of a compass) one could see the Anglo-Norman islands and boats on their way to America or even further as far as the imagination could take you. Everything evoked voyages, such as that which took Dior to dazzle the four corners of the Earth with his fashion. It’s also there, in the garden of the villa, that the young Christian saw his passion for flowers blossom: the resedas, the hawthorns, and especially the roses, which he loved so much. Then, the story continues in Paris, the day when Christian Dior, now an adult and very superstitious, finds a star on the sidewalk of the capitol and takes it as a sign of destiny to open his own couture house…

For this collection, Emilia Clarke, famous for her role as Daenerys Targaryen in the series “Game of Thrones”, lends her image to the collection.

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by Fashionista in Paris

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