Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Adieu Pierre, It's Been Grand







































Pierre is leaving. On April 17 he will close the doors to his boutique for the last time, pack up what is left of his wares and head south to some village I cannot pronounce.

Cher Pierre is another member of my small, elite army of enablers. He is my French-Buddhist jeweler. He is more than a maker of bijoux. Pierre is an artist, a philosopher, a comedian, a kind, gentle man. Tomorrow I have an appointment with him to appraise my jewelry for our insurance company -- all these years and I've never thought about putting Euro values on intrinsically sentimental objects, but I've been told it's irresponsible on my part not to do so.






















(I've also believed no one could get past our two German shepherds to break into our house, although anyone who knows them realizes they'd be in the kitchen making canapes and uncorking the champagne for any thief who wished to pass through the front door or a broken window.)












































Pierre has worked for the finest names on the Place Vendôme and can make anything one can imagine. He noted conspiratorially, "Over there they mark everything up 200 percent, my mark-up is three times my cost and labor and I live a very comfortable life."

He has turned jewelry I hated, unset stones and pieces of this and that into magnificent one-of-a-kind treasures for me and my daughter. He polishes, appraises and repairs pieces while maintaining a non-stop conversation then passes them back over the counter with a kiss on the hand and an au revoir. Payment is out of the question.

He always advised his customers that if they had old pieces of gold jewelry they no longer wore or liked,  or a Louis coin at home, a new piece would cost them much less. He would melt down the gold and whatever remained after the new bijou was made, every last speck of dust would be returned in a tiny envelope with the new creation.

He always had small silver items, sometimes with a miniscule semi-precious accent, in a price range for children to give to their mothers. Sometimes a child would put a down payment on something and Pierre would save it in a drawer. When the child returned, the jewel would be in a box and wrapped exactly the way a diamond or an emerald would be. "Because just as much love, if not more, went into the cadeau from the child and it deserves to be as beautifully presented," Pierre said.

Over the last several days he put a huge "Liquidation" sign in his window and like crows we all flocked to see what we could buy for 50 percent off. 

He let me shop before the sign went up. And shop I did, no precious stones but masses of quartz necklaces -- crystal clear and polished, rose in different shapes and sizes, strands of fat amethyst beads, lapis lazuli, fresh water pearls. That doesn't include the earrings, bracelets and pendants. There were no interesting brooches in case you're wondering why one or more were not included on my rampage.

To be perfectly honest I went berserk as my Reason-For-Living-In-France looked on in amazement and then handed over his credit card. I have enough bijoux for gifts for the next 10 years. 

Pierre even converted, on the spot, some necklaces by adding pendants to them I found in the corners of his cases.






































Pierre always reminded me that Buddhists believe something good always comes from something disappointing, but I think in this case it's probably the opposite. 

20 comments:

Sara Louise said...

Pierre sounds wonderful! I'm sure you'll miss him so but judging by what you've written, Pierre has earned a blissful retirement :-)

Deja Pseu said...

Pierre sounds like a wonderful human being. Are those pieces pictured the ones you bought? They're gorgeous!!!

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

What a fabulous treasure of a friend and artist! Your pieces are exquisite, and thanks to visionaries like Pierre, we can dream of the possibilities of those diamonds in the rough to become priceless keepsakes! BRAVO TISH!

Anita

LPC said...

I can't wait to see what Edith makes of all these beautiful things:).

Marsi said...

Tish, that's a dagger to the heart, losing his beautiful store and amiable proprietorship. I didn't know of Pierre until today, but this posting makes me sad.

But ... retiring to the South ... who can blame him?

xoxox

aaonce said...

How sad to lose a person who has that great philosophy towards his business! I can see why he would inspire your loyalty.

metscan said...

What a wonderful relationship you have( had) with this Pierre. I´m especially liking the second last one of the selection. And yes, an insurance should be made. Naturally in case of a theft, money is only a thin consolation to the lost jewelry you have gathered and received.

Mom on the Run said...

I'm always so sad when a favorite shopkeeper chooses to retire. My favorite stationery spot closed and the owners retired to the mountains just a few months ago and there is no suitable replacement. I'm glad you were able to get some treasures.

Lorrie said...

Pierre sounds like a man who is true to himself and his beliefs - someone who is unfortunately, a rarity in this world. Now he is going to live and influence people elsewhere.

Those quartz pieces just glow with life! Lucky you!

JMW said...

What beautiful jewelry! Pierre sounds like a wonderful person to have in one's life.

Belle de Ville said...

I think that having a relationship with a good jeweler is maybe even more important that one with a hairdresser, facialist, etc.
Good jewelry at the right price enhances your wardrobe and is an asset. How wonderful to have found one with a 3% mark up which is unheard of in the business.

Jacqueline said...

Oh Tish,
I LOVE Pierre. I would love to have met him. He sounds such a caring soul. Wouldn't this world be a better place if everyone was like Pierre.
Sending him best wishes from England.
Sorry that I've been AWOL for the last few days. was poisened by a pesky oyster !! XXXX

Mardel said...

OH how sad. I would dearly miss my jeweler should he retire. But certainly you have lovely lovely pieces to enjoy now.

Drea said...

It's so sad to see him go. He made for me probably the most beautiful necklace I'll ever own. Of course I'm afraid to wear it, so I just pull it out every now and then and look at it. Might do that again tonight...

BigLittleWolf said...

What gorgeous creations, and how sad that Pierre is closing his doors. But what trésors he leaves to his friends and clients.

Stunning.

The English Writer said...

Pierre sounds quite a man, and his jewells look beautiful too, Karen.

Anonymous said...

I hope this maker of beautiful things lives a beautiful and happy life.. life is so full of ugly things what would we do without our jewels to lend us their beauty and make us happy?

Duchesse said...

Ohhh! Such beautiful materials even in their simplest state. What a beautiful man, to resonate to the love and pride in a child's gift. Sad to say goodbye but so lovely to have known him as you did. To retire with such appreciation is a rare and wonderful achievement.

Cathi said...

Pierre sounds like a lovely man, Tish...and how lucky that you were able to have someone in your life like that! I love what you said about him treating the children's gifts to their mother like all the other purchases - he sounds so loving! Good Luck to Pierre wherever life takes him! xxoo :)

Shelley said...

He does sound like a gem (sorry for the pun). I think it's wonderful to know how much your jewelry is worth; I'd love to know about mine. However, I have made a conscious decision not to pay insurance premiums to cover something that is irreplacable. If my Grandma's engagement ring gets stolen, no insurance money will put that right for me. Others may feel differently about the subject. Me, I really don't like insurance companies much. I only cover what I cannot afford to replace and put the unpaid premiums into my own account.

Hope your Pierre enjoys his retirement!

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