Since writing my mini-review of the book Mon guide de style, every now and then I’ve continued to flick through its pages for French style inspiration.
A couple of images keep catching my eye. These particular pages feature the sparkliest of accessories – jewellery.
Author Noriko’s work reminded me of the French woman’s love for delicate pieces of jewellery.
Not that my memory should have needed any prompting.
The second most popular post of all time here on Distant Francophile is entitled How To Choose Your Jewellery Like A French Woman. In it, I explored my observations of how French women accessorise using jewellery. And we take a look at their obvious preference for finely crafted items.
While it’s clear that fine French style pieces are attractive to many of us, experience tells me that a large number of women have concerns – or at least questions – about wearing more dainty items. No matter how much they want to bring French style and inspiration into their lives.
So, as a follow-up to my original ‘French woman jewellery’ post, I thought I’d take a moment to address some of the more common questions.
French Style – More Jewellery Tips
Number One – Will It Break?
Well, like anything, I guess all jewellery can be prone to breakage, regardless of whether it is fine or bolder. There is always a chance that clasps will stick or that links might separate. But if you buy quality, well made pieces and take care of them, delicate jewellery is no more likely to break than chunkier pieces.
Weak points are often found at the clasps on bracelets and chains (and in the links around them) as well as hinges on hoop earrings. Personally I prefer neck chains with smooth moving lobster clasps and for my bracelets.to have safety clips or chains. When it comes to more delicate earrings, stud backings seem to last well with breaking.
Number Two – Isn’t It Expensive?
One of the advantages of elegantly styled, delicate jewellery is that it does tend to look expensive. And yes, it can absolutely cost a fortune – especially if you choose to invest in luxury pieces, crafted in platinum or gold, and dripping in diamonds.
However, you can also find some very budget friendly pieces that look like they should carry a much higher price tag. In fact, one of the benefits of choosing finer items is that they allow for the purchase of precious metals at more affordable prices. And of course there is always the option to go with non-precious metals. Silver and costume pieces can look every bit as classy as their more expensive counterparts.
Number Three – What If I Get Bored?
Boredom is probably the most commonly cited concern when it comes to delicate jewellery. It’s usually quite simple and understated – and very rarely flashy. Which can lead some of us to feel a touch bored if we wear these pieces day-in and day-out.
If this is a concern for you, aside from choosing pieces you simply adore, I recommend you follow the lead of the French and mix things up a little.
Don’t be afraid to stack your bracelets – or feel free to mix leather with precious metals or with enamel. Alternatively, you might like to wear a bracelet on the same wrist as your watch if that’s something you wouldn’t normally do. Wear different length chains around your neck, and swap out pendants to match your outfit. Swapping things around also works for rings – try out different combinations on your fingers for a whole new look. And if you are feeling bored with your studs perhaps some earring enhancers might overcome the issue.
One Final Thought
Jewellery can make excellent souvenirs and many women really enjoy purchasing pieces that remind them of their travels. Tahitian pearls and Czech garnets both spring to mind as potential vacation mementos. And charm bracelets are another way to document the cities or landmarks you’ve travelled to.
If you are looking to pick up a fine piece of jewellery to mark your visit to France, I recommend you start at the Grand Magasins like Galeries Lafayette (which you will find in many French cities) or Paris’ Le Bon Marché. These department style stores provide a great starting point for your research in that they offer a wide range of both precious and costume pieces and will give you an insight into what you like and what is available at a variety of price points.
Are you a fan of French style fine jewellery? Do you like to pick up jewellery while you are travelling? I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
And until next time, au revoir.
4 thoughts on “French Style – More Jewellery Tips”
Even though chunky jewelry is still having a moment, finer, more discreet pieces seem to hold up better over time. A simple pendant on a chain. The tennis bracelet. Stud earrings. With or without real stones, depending on the budget.
I see absolutely everything here, from big, statement jewelry to very understated and barely there. But scarves, in general, outnumber necklaces, except in summer.
Hi Catherine, I completely agree about the scarves. They are far more prevalent than any other neck pieces!!
Another enjoyable post!
Noriko’s book summarizes so much of what you have observed in Paris and shared in your blog.
I agree with Taste of France’s comment re scarves – with a scarf, a necklace is redundant, and a scarf can add so much more to an outfit than a necklace: color, shape, pattern, movement. In summer, though, the necklaces come out.
I think that your idea of going to Galeries Lafayette or other department stores to get a feel for French jewelry style is an excellent idea, but for an actual purchase nothing can beat the small boutiques that offer one of a kind or limited jewelry pieces, and as you point out, the delicate items use less precious metal and can be very affordable and such a nice souvenir! And the prices shown are always with TVA – the actual price for someone taking it out of the country will be much lower.
My favorite jewelry boutique is White Bird; they feature a number of wonderful young jewelry designers and have two locations in Paris. The collection is curated by Stéphanie Roger, who has a real passion for jewelry and former experience with Paris’ finest jewelers. I had the surprising pleasure of catching her in the shop on my first visit, and she helped me to select my Doucette ring. You can spend under 200 euros (for a semi-precious bead bracelet) or much more (diamond necklaces ‘price on request’) and bring home something charmingly wonderful. https://www.whitebirdjewellery.com/en
For costume pieces with a similar delicate feel as well as more assertive pieces, I like Satellite. They have multiple shops (including one inside the Galeries Lafayette) and I can always find something special and very inexpensive but of good quality: http://en.satelliteparis-boutique.com
Both shops also sell online.
(Alas, when thinking in terms of Paris style, we Americans have to remember that most of us are larger than the typical more petite French woman, and a very delicate item will be even more subtle on us. I think that multiples of the more delicate can help here: three bracelets, or two or three stacked rings, or two delicate necklaces that complement each other instead of one.)
Thank you so much for the tips Alisa. I think you may have mentioned White Bird previously – I had a lovely time checking them out on-line while I was researching this piece. Next stop for me – Satellite!! Thanks again.