How One Ethical Jewelry House Is Going Back To Basics On Diamonds And Gold

From Place Vendôme, home to the Ritz and Paris’ most prestigious heritage jewelry houses, to a relaxed apartment showroom in the city’s 17th arrondissement for Héloise et Abelard, her own brand of circular jewelry, Héloise Shapiro has crossed not only her native city, but also a gulf of expectation. “When I left Place Vendôme, I had a visceral desire to do things differently,” she tells me. “I knew that my brand had to use recycled materials, as goldsmiths always have done by saving their waste gold to melt down and reuse.” But better still, it was going to be upcycled.

Today, Shapiro and her team scour the city’s antiques stores, pawn shops and auction rooms for second-hand stones and antique jewelry to be taken apart and re-made into contemporary designs with a fresh, modern look at an accessible price point. Customers can buy a slim gold band for $450, while her distinctive diamond cluster rings start at $1,900, and while recycling precious metals is nothing new – even if the savings are not always passed onto the customer – producing repeat collections from second-hand materials, is. And customers – including Katie Holmes, who was recently seen wearing an upcycled Héloise et Abelard tourmaline and diamond ring – love it.

Named after two 12th century lovers in Paris, Héloise and Abelard’s circular jewelry is surely the ultimate expression of the romance of natural diamonds. The bulk of Shapiro’s clientele is aged 25-35 and shopping for wedding and engagement rings; a customer base she describes as “well-off, thoughtful and informed” and looking for something more original and heartfelt than

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