Gripoix Paris: costume jewellery taken to the exquisite

For over a century, this maison has perfected its unique technique of creating pâte de verre, or poured glass. This craft was practised by bead makers in ancient Egypt, Rome, then Venice.

We visited Gripoix Paris, located in Place des Victoires in Paris, on 9 May 2019. We were welcomed by the President and Creative Director, Fanni Fischer, who showed us the costume jewellery designed by the Gripoix family. Unique pieces are drawn and created at the workshop here, in the heart of Paris.

Gripoix’s first customer in the 1920s was the fashion designer Paul Poiret, who commissioned pearls to be sewn onto his collection. Next was Chanel, for whom it was flamboyant jewels, such as baroque pearls and the Maltese cross. For this work, Gripoix invented a special technique to give glass pearls a mother of pearl sheen. A string of collaborations with the biggest names in Haute Couture followed — Schiaparelli, Tom Ford, Dior and more. Perfumers such as Guerlain also called on Gripoix’s legendary savoir faire to decorate their bottles (L’Heure Bleue, Shalimar), as well as candlemakers Dyptique and Trudon.

We were given a rare opportunity to go into the workshops and meet the few artisans trained in this technique. They bring to life joyful, colourful collections based on sketches from archives that are primarily inspired by details from nature. We followed the different steps involved in making a piece of jewellery: the sketch; the creation of the jewellery in alloy (whose formula remains a closely guarded secret); the pouring of the melted glass paste (which comes in 120 colours and may be opaque, translucent or transparent) into its setting; the polishing and gilding with 24 carat gold. A single piece sometimes takes up to 100 hours of work.

Discover an unparalleled expertise that never fails to add the finishing touch to the look of the most stylish women — yesterday, today and tomorrow.

By France Bussière and Nicole Parlange - Unexpected Paris