Monday, 22 July 2013

Paris notebook: handmade jewellery from Medecine Douce

Paris is packed with tiny boutiques selling the kind of jewellery that I love - delicate but not too girly, made of decent materials that won't turn your skin green and it's all small businesses selling products they like at reasonable prices.
But although we went in to quite a few of these boutiques, I didn't really see anything that made my heart beat that little bit faster, nothing that triggered a totally illogical desire to buy something entirely ornmental with no real purpose.

Jewellery is different in this respect from most other fashion items. It really is pointless. Shoes, however ridiculous, do serve a function, as do clothes, hats, bags, wallets... but not jewellery.

For my grandmothers, jewellery - proper jewellery - was a real investment. That was its secondary purpose beyond the ornamental. And the best pieces were saved for special occasions. But most women I know don't buy jewellery like that any more. I don't really wear much jewellery on special occasions - it's usually just a great dress with minimal additions. And I certainly don't have the kind of money that would stretch to even high-end costume jewellery of the kind that retains value.

I grew up surrounded by cheap costume jewellery as a result of my grandpa and uncles' jewellery wholesale business. Going to their warehouse was a bit like visiting Aladdins cave, except everything was neatly organised into cardboard boxes labelled in black marker pen with my grandpa's distinctive small caps handwriting. I still have some boxes he labelled as it's one of my strongest associations with him. He was an amazing person to be around as a child and I was thoroughly spoiled. I used to love wearing loads of cheap jewellery. It was fun, and experimental, and quite freeing to just be able to wear it all at once.

However, as a result of this early glut of sparkle, I am now very picky about jewellery. So back to Paris, where the jewellery was lovely but failed to be lovely enough... and then we walked into Medecine Douce (I'm sure that name sounds much better when pronounced properly in French and without the unfortunate Anglophone echoes).
Founded by Marie Montaud in 2000, Medecine Douce moved to Paris in 2007 to occupy its current space designed by architects Flavia Fabbro and Philippe Delannoy.

The shop (image via

The MD shop, just off the Canal St Martin, takes up the left hand side of the space and is about the same size as most jewellery boutiques. It's pretty enough, but right next door is the workshop where you can watch people hand making all the pieces. Which is a brilliant idea because for people like me who love that shit it makes it much easier to fall in love with the jewellery. And fall in love I did, with two necklaces from the Faust range. I can only find images of the collar necklace and the bracelet, but the long necklace was probably my favourite of the lot.

Collier Faust by Medecine Douce - 95,00 €

Bracelet Faust by Medecine Douce - 80,00 €

And yet I walked away. Realistically this was because I  had already carefully budgeted all my money for goats cheese and pain au chocolats (food always wins for me I'm afraid). But a week and a half later the necklaces are still haunting me.

There is an e-store but I'm a goofball so I'm going to wait until I can go back and walk in and lay down cold hard cash. It's better that way. Also, there's an incredible bakery and a Maje outlet shop just up the road...

You, however, should definitely visit the e-shop, unless you're lucky enough to live in Paris already. They have some beautiful fine jewellery pieces in the Beaurepaire collection at the moment.

Medecine Douce
10, rue de Marseille
75010 Paris
Monday - Saturday 11am - 7pm

I leave you with this thought for the day: Baby Stingrays!


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