On my most recent visit to his splendid boutique on rue Oberkampf, Yves Gratas was musing over the mysteries of the Hope diamond. This is no surprise, since Gratas has an uncanny knack for bringing out the best in a gemstone—one reason his workshop-boutique has thrived for the last dozen years. But it’s not just the stones, which he handpicks in Thailand and India, it’s also his genius for creating just the right setting inspired by each gem’s unique brilliance and color. Although influenced by the rounded shapes of the ancient Mediterranean basin—he favors the cabochon shape and a high-karat yellow gold—the simplicity of the settings and the fluid designs are thoroughly modern, as is their aptitude to go from day to night, sneakers to sequins.
An important element chez Gratas is mix and match. Each piece, whether a bracelet, necklace or ring, can be worn several ways, according to mood or occasion, and built upon from year to year. A necklace of tiny sapphire beads might be worn long or doubled, while dangling from it could be any number of translucent gold-framed charms, including a Tahitian pearl the size of a marble or a brilliant golden sphere. The charms can also be transferred from a necklace to a simple gold bracelet that opens to receive as many charms as a visiting buyer makes trips to Paris.
Among the most popular designs are stackable rings in matte silver or saturated gold, with or without a gemstone. The single rose-cut, black-diamond version is a knockout, avidly collected by women who gladly pilfer from their bank accounts until they can afford as many as will fit nicely on a finger. Another must-have is a simple but sublime necklace with a single burnished-gold orb suspended on a cord between two slipknots that can slide from choker length to décolleté.
Although prices on many items can be steep—a gorgeous necklace of diamond-shaped gold links with pink sapphire teardrops is €6,400—there’s also plenty here to attract even a frugal jewelry lover.
9 rue Oberkampf, 11th, 01.49.29.00.53. website
Originally published in the January 2011 issue of France Today
Leave a reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *