Edith was my first Paris friend. She rescued me from the fate of a surly waiter who was scolding me during a hotel breakfast in Marrakech twenty years ago and has been my friend ever since. Before I moved here, she frequently visited New York, and when I came to Paris, she made me feel at home. She has been indispensable to me since I moved here, helping me maneuver the sometimes treacherous and complicated French system and rules of etiquette.
Her and her partner Karenn, from Denmark, own one of the top and unique jewelry shops in Paris, Monies, selling stunning and striking museum quality pieces.
Both are from strong fashion backgrounds: Edith worked for Yohji Yamamoto for many years and Karenn was a top buyer for the best fashion boutique in Copenhagen, first introducing labels like Prada, Hermes, and Chanel to smart Danish women. So good was Karenn’s eye for fashion, that in 1995 Birger Christensen, one of the most prestigious furriers in the world, wooed her back to Copenhagen to start up their fashion department.
Edith is a native Parisian, growing up in the 5th arr. and Karenn moved here in 1991, but she frequently returns to Copenhagen.
The girls (as I lovingly call them) came up with the idea to open the shop because they always loved Monies jewelry but felt there wasn’t a proper showcase for the special line. Their approach was to make it more like a gallery than a shop and in 1991 they opened the first Monies shop in Paris and the world. The location was a small street, near the Place de Victoire and in 1998, they moved the present location on the rue St. Honoré, across from the trendsetting shop Colette.
By treating the shop like a gallery, their approach to the clientele is to sell just the right piece to the right customer. Many a time they have dissuaded customers from buying a piece because they felt it wasn’t for them. But in the end they are usually right, because their customers are fiercely loyal and always get compliments on what they selected. Some of them even come straight to the shop from the airport for their annual Monies’ jewelry fix. Clients come from all over the globe and are in the worlds of fashion, art, design, and performing arts( name actresses own their pieces, but I’m not at liberty to say who they are).
The girls themselves are passionate about art, fashion, dance, style, and travel and bring that passion and experience to the shop.
As you can see in the photos, the jewelry is big and bold, but many small women buy it, because their theory is you don’t have to be big to wear big jewelry- it’s all about the proportion and the way you wear it.
Two collections are carried: the couture, which is one of a kind pieces made of stone and fossils, and include turquoise, citrine, tourmaline, aquamarine, and amethyst. Another specialty is the pieces made of ivory and coral. But the most coveted and popular pieces are the rare ones made of the highest quality Danish amber. Prices range from 1500 euros to 6,000 euros. The second collection is the more casual line made of horn, ebony, mother of pearl, and bone at more modest prices, ranging from 225 euros to 600 euros. They receive the collections twice a year, in October and March, but every month one of the girls goes to Copenhagen to bring back the latest gorgeous goodies.
The shop is a very small jewel box itself with luxe lavender velvet curtains, handsome dark wood busts that show off the jewelry, and cushy black leather benches. Given the size of the shop sometimes they lock the doors, so a customer can have their privacy and undivided attention. . So if you go by there and the door is locked, be patient and come back a little later, or call for an appointment. It’s worth he wait.
If you are looking for that Wow! Where did you get that? special piece of jewelry that says I bought it in Paris, go visit Karenn & Edith at Monies.
320 rue St. Honoré, 1st arr.
Monday 2PM-7PM,Tuesday to Saturday 11AM-7PM
Closed in August
I am pleased as punch to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I will personally be leading. The Eye Prefer Paris Tour
includes many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes & food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks, and much more.
I look forward to meeting you on my tours and it will be my pleasure and delight to show you my insiders Paris.
Check it out at www.eyepreferparistours.com