FASHION Jack Yan speaks with Anne-Sophie Baillet, whose Atelier Paulin creates hand-crafted jewellery, where no two are identical. Its signature pieces are made up of memorable words, created on demand
From issue 39 of Lucire
Jack Yan is publisher of Lucire.
When you’re stuck for a gift for that special someone in your life, it’s tempting to go either too grand (where the expense of the gift might overshadow the sentiment) or too mass-market (this is where one can file photo frames and bouquets). However, in our opinion, Atelier Paulin, a jewellery studio whose signature pieces begin with the bracelet, and extend to earcuffs, rings, fibulas, hoops, cufflinks, and torcs, has the right balance between sentiment and uniqueness.
The Atelier has mastered the art of shaping metal wire, namely argentium filled with 9 ct or 14 ct gold, or 18 ct gold wire (in yellow, rose or white gold). The shapes often spell out names, declaring one’s love for someone, a feeling like amour, or even an entire statement (bringing new meaning to the term statement jewellery). They take commissions—Lucire has first-hand experience—and the items they create are sure to be memorable for their recipients. Even their “regular” range, with words like love, will be subject to some customization, because of their hand-crafted nature.
Starting in Paris (and presently with a boutique at 60, rue de Richelieu, 75002 Paris), but since expanding to New York, with additional presences in London, Tokyo, Genève and Bangkok, Atelier Paulin is gaining a following, but it’s still low-key enough for gifts to be particularly special, and given that no two pieces are ever identical, the wearer knows that what they’ve received is truly one of a kind.
The company is the dreamchild of Anne-Sophie Baillet, who started Atelier Paulin with a friend, Matthias Lavaux. Baillet said, ‘Matthias and I have been friends for 20 years! We did 400 moves together and shared all the important moments of life! When I created Atelier Paulin, I immediately thought of him. Our association was obvious!’
The name Paulin pays tribute to Baillet’s father.
Baillet notes that shaping a wire is an ‘ancient art’, and remembers that her mother wore custom bracelets in the 1970s. ‘When my daughter Colette was born, I contacted a craftsman I knew and asked him to create a bracelet with his name with a gold thread.’ When the bracelet was shared on social media, the Parisian store Colette enquired. From there, the business began taking shape. Atelier Paulin has taken the traditional technique as a starting point, but it has been ‘reworked and enriched with our knowledge and desires to make it ours,’ she said.
This new technique is taught to all artisans who join Atelier Paulin, including Jérémy in New York, who created the piece Lucire ordered. They work only with the Latin alphabet, so those wanting Arabic, Cyrillic, Greek, Chinese and Japanese will need to look elsewhere.
Baillet also recognizes that not all artisans are the same: they each have their own strengths, and the training plays to them. ‘Each of them receives training in our workshops for three or four months. We have a bible that they must memorize and a charter that they must respect, so that our jewels are consistent. All our jewels are made by hand and on demand; which makes them unique. Each craftsman obviously has to swear to respect our charter!’ said Baillet.
This ensures uniformity as Atelier Paulin gains more presences around the world. Baillet says they adapt their collections depending on the country, but will always keep the Latin alphabet.
Nevertheless, that hasn’t stopped Atelier Paulin from taking up some far more complex commissions. ‘We have a new service: the Studio, where we bring to life the most extraordinary requests. With one client order, we reproduced his child’s handwriting.
‘There are also very symbolic requests such as happy memories … Our creations are like tattoos!
‘Our customers become very attached to their jewellery. We receive messages before the order where they share their story and the rationale behind the jewel; then they also write to us to express their emotion when they receive it. We have a very strong relationship with our customers. We shape their emotions.’
Atelier Paulin opened in New York City’s West Village in October 2018, with the usual plethora of hand-made items, and a new collection of jewellery where a gemstone is combined with their 18 ct gold wire. ‘The unique,’ says Baillet, ‘will become exceptional!’ •
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