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Stylishly laid-back, passionate and chic. What else would you expect from a jewellery show in Paris?!

One of the most fabulous things about writing this blog is getting to travel to so many shows and see the most beautiful work close-up.  Hundreds of hours of preparation are poured into these events – by organisers and jewellers, so it’s a huge privilege to get to see the finished result.

That’s exactly how I felt visiting Bijorhca Paris – yep in the French capital! Based at the Porte de Versailles in Paris (an exhibition centre which also hosts many of the big Paris fashion events). It takes place in January and September every year. This ‘edition’ boasted around 350 exhibitors – from designer/makers, manufacturers and suppliers.

I took Bijorhca Paris to my heart straight away, it just had such a cool, laid back and stylish vibe. There’s a fantastic range of jewellery on display, from costume, to high end jewels. From artisan made, to mass market.

What I loved about this show in particular was its balance of topics. It really did cover the jewellery industry from so many different facets:

  • Displaying high end jewellery by artisan designers
  • Showing fashion jewellery in the lower price range
  • Exploring jewellery fashions in the trends area
  • Showing artisans and experts creating a piece live at the show. (In keeping with the marine based theme of the show, a range of skilled artisans created two mantaray brooches – from start to finish. Skills shown included: gem setting, engraving, repousse, polishing, gouache, silversmithing and design.)
  • Looking at jewellery technologies – e.g. 3D printing
  • Selling supplies to jewellery designers
  • Talks/workshops by industry experts

Oh, and did I mention the food’s amazing too! (Erm, what did you expect in France!)

Everyone was so welcoming and the majority of people at the show spoke English, so there’s no worry if you’re French isn’t up to scratch.

My absolute favourite part of the show, though, was to meet all the talented designers that were there. Here are my top picks:

Nina Nanas

The great thing about Nina’s work is that it’s all mix and match.  There are so many different styles of earrings for example, that you can change them according to your mood.  But you can NEVER really go wrong, because all the pieces in the collection are designed to be worn together. That’s what I call easy style – looking good with zero effort!

Okan studio

Margaux Gripon – the designer behind Okan – has a passion for combining masculine and feminine elements in her jewellery, hence the strong shapes you see here.  I’m a bit of a sucker for a bold statement piece. And again, I love the ability to mix and match in different colourways and shapes. I think these are just the perfect jewellery to go with the feminist vibe going on at the moment.  And to reflect the blurring lines between female and male fashion.

Thomas Aurifex

Thomas is an amazing young talent, who not only has mastered amazing design, goldsmithing and lapidary skills. He’s also self-taught, And what’s more, he did all this within a couple of years!  Simply astonishing!

His designs are deeply symbolic and influenced by roman and Egyptian symbolism, amongst other things. Hence the phallic theme in his rings – which were popular emblems in roman times.

He also creates beautiful geometric wedding rings (or any kind of friendship/love rings) with a really clever idea behind them. Now I don’t completely understand how he does it (it’s way over my head!) but in a nutshell the geometric facets represent a special date.  This means your wedding ring would contain a secret message just for you and your partner to understand. See what I mean about genius?!

What amazed me about Thomas was his sheer passion and enthusiasm for jewellery design. He credits getting most of his best ideas when he’s asleep – which is why he keeps his smartphone by his bed! Crazy or what?!

Laurence Oppermann

Laurence is a French designer, very much inspired by nature.  I LOVED her amazing statement rings (and it was so fun getting to try them all on!)

I also love the way she approaches jewellery design from fresh new angles.  She definitely thinks ‘outside the box’ in how she approaches the designs of different pieces.  I loved the gold cup ring, which moves around on the band, the ring that snakes down the hand like a tree and the ring that was like a huge cocoon, with a tiny gold nugget inside. 

Monad

A new Russian based brand – Monad is another jewellery brand that creates jewellery for strong and confident women.

Created by Lily Rashidova (who’s also an actress), the inspiration behind it comes from Cosmos, nature, music and people who’ve left a huge mark in history with their creativity.

I love their strong, bold, geometric designs because they pack an enormous punch and would definitely be a conversation starter!

Plummetti

I just love easy to wear jewellery – and as any designers will know, it’s not easy to create durable but thin pieces of jewellery.

I loved French brand Plumetti’s bold but brilliantly lightweight pieces.  These earrings are gorgeous, but I reckon you wouldn’t even know you had them on!

Tania Gil

Based in Portugal, Tania’s work is inspired by nature – woodland and ocean.

I was impressed by the detail in her work and I particularly loved the ‘bubble’ pendants (below)

IFOS jewellery

Now IFOS isn’t strictly speaking a brand – it’s a British platform for Greek designers. It was set up to help promote the amazing Greek talent out there, which all has a very organic feel.  Although it is a collection of different designers, you can definitely see similarities running through their work, with strong but organic shapes – loaded with texture.

So, all in all I absolutely adored by time at Bijorhca this January, and fingers crossed I’m lucky enough to get the chance to go back.  Have you been to Bijorhca? Are you tempted to visit? Which shows are your favourites?

Bijorhca Paris runs twice a year – every January and September. To find out more click here.

PLUS – look out for my interview with show director – Marine Devos – next week on The Jewellery Spot!

Victoria
vrichards81@hotmail.com
Hi I'm Victoria - journalist, jewellery designer and comms/pr expert. I'm obsessed with original, contemporary jewellery and helping other designers create successful businesses to help spread the jewellery joy! I'm also completely addicted to pancakes.

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