Jewelers routes

13 June 2016

12 reasons to hunt around at the flea market

The Serpette and Paul Bert markets, celebrate their 70-year anniversary this year and they still hold some beautiful surprises in jewelry.


1- To stroll, hunt and dream in a place haunted by such personalities as Paloma Picasso, Yves Saint Laurent and Arletty. Today, it’s Vincent Darre, Alexandre de Betak, Elie Top and Philippe Starck who spend hours there.

2- Eclectic. Of the 350 dealers, a dozen or so offer jewelry of all kinds. Those pieces so-called couture, exuberant, oversized and “inventively” colorful or precious. Those from the 19th or 20th centuries. For 100 or a few thousand euros. Branded or not.

3- For jewelry by Jakob Bengel, the German maker from 1920s to 1940s once highly prized by Gabrielle Chanel and Lanvin. In mixtures of chains, metal coils, tubes and geometric shapes, in chromed metal or in colored galalith. Go to Andréa Guinez’s, an enthusiast of the styles of 1920s and 30s (Stand 58, Aisle 3, Paul Bert).

4- For fashion jewelry assortments, go to Patricia Attwood (Stand 7, Aisle 2, Serpette). To discover pieces by Billy Boy, the American designer who belonged to the circle of Andy Warhol, and of which Elizabeth Taylor once owned a bracelet.

5- For great conversations with dealers, who are highly cultivated and who will plunge you into the history of jewelry.

6- For the unusual in vintage and antique pieces that challenge the eye and that you’ll never see anywhere else.

7- To meet the lovely Sylvie Corbelin (Stand 291, Aisle 7, Paul Bert). A former antique dealer, today turned designer of plastrons, rings adorned with roses carved in gold, baroque pendants and rings made from Persian turquoise.

8- For a unique choice of Chanel jewelry. Only the most beautiful pieces produced by Gripoix or Goossens, which attract Chinese and American clients. Go to Les Merveilles de Babellou (Stand 13 and 77, Aisle 1, Paul Bert), to Olwen Forest and to Clara Lardé (Stand 28 and 29, Aisle 1, Serpette).

9. Take a break for coffee at Ma Cocotte, the chic canteen decorated by Philippe Starck.

10- For a delightful jumble of cocktails rings, charms, poissarde earrings in chased gold, art deco diamond bracelets or others in silver signed Hermès, which antique dealers Patricia Timsit and Marie-Laure Chermezon have on offer. (Stand 30a, Aisle 1, Serpette).

11- For Hollywood stars’ jewelry from 1940s and 50s, such as Rita Hayworth, Joan Crawford and Greta Garbo, brought together by the American, Olwen Forest (Stand 5 and 7, Aisle 3, Serpette). His theme exhibitions like “Jewels of the Jet-set” or “Erotica / Exotica” are also an opportunity to learn more about the history of fashion jewelry.

12- And finally while you’re tossing up between one jewelry piece and another, Monsieur can discover the treasures on offer at the new generation of 1950s to1970s furniture dealers.

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