Sat 25
Oct 2014

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Jewelry

Valerie Sloan’s Sculpted Artisanal Jewels

Artisan-jewelry-display

Photos by Fabrice Fortin for Paris By Appointment Only™

Just like her distinct, handmade jewels, Valerie Sloan’s shoebox of a boutique is striking despite its diminutive size. Maybe it’s because there’s usually no one in it.

When she’s not upstairs with her slowly growing clientele, the former sculptor can be found downstairs in her atelier handcrafting new pieces for her couture bijoux collection.

Portrait-Valerie-Sloan

Looking for a way to transform her love of volumes and textures to a smaller, more manageable format, Sloan switched from sculpture to jewelry in 2000.

“Sculptors are often burdened by the weight and size of the objects. I quickly realized that I could continue making sculpted objects that were precious to me through jewelry,” says Sloan who opened her shop, Valslo, in early 2009.

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Bijoux Commelin’s Couture Charms

commelin-charms-various3As a kid, my dad would take me to the mall to pick out new charms for my charm necklace. Despite his best intentions, the process was excruciating. Somehow all of my preteen identity angst turned charm shopping into total trauma. Was I supposed to highlight my roller skating obsession or divulge my nerdy violin skills? Share my BFF status with my cool new friend or faithful childhood pal? Wear my initials in girlie curlicues or badass Brooklyn fonts?

Belying their diminutive size, charms have a way of saying a lot. Scaled-down renderings of our pastimes, dreams and preferences, each tiny charm brings to vivid life an intimate part of our personality. Viewed together as a collection, they can be quite revealing indeed.

So here I am, two decades later, faced with the ultimate charm challenge: navigating the holy grail of French charms without crying out for daddy.

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Recognized as an “Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant” (Living Heritage Company), Bijoux Commelin is a 19th century family-run jewelry company that specializes in charms and translucent enamels. One of the oldest manufacturers of charms in France and the only company in Paris to perpetuate the art of handcrafted miniatures, Bijoux Commelin boasts over 2,000 miniatures in its ravishing repertoire.

(A word of advice: peruse their site to get your bearings before your visit.)

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