Things V Love: Atelier Paulin

Things V Love: Atelier Paulin

Things V Love: Atelier Paulin

In an exclusive interview with V, co-founder Anne-Sophie Baillet tells the story of Atelier Paulin and the French savoir-faire of nameplate jewelry.

In an exclusive interview with V, co-founder Anne-Sophie Baillet tells the story of Atelier Paulin and the French savoir-faire of nameplate jewelry.

Text: Kevin Ponce

In today's day and age, meaningful jewelry is often hard to come by. As a jewelry aficionado myself, I can usually point out what pieces are special and truly one-of-a-kind and Atelier Paulin is just that. Known for their gold wire-wrapped nameplate pieces, the coveted brand is one of V's newest obsessions! After discovering an artisan specializing in the fading art of gold wire wrapping, the French Maison has been credited as the original French nameplate jewelry brand—gaining the attention of buyers around the world and even collaborating with Nike, Lancome, L'Occitane (just to name a few!) on incredible projects!

Below, discover a Q+A with V's Kevin Ponce about the history of the French brand and the revival of the age-old artisanal technique.

So, it all started with Colette! Where did the initial idea of a name bracelet for your daughter come from? Did you know that you wanted her name to be in a wrapped gold wire?

I was looking for a simple and elegant piece of jewelry with my daughter’s name that she could wear on her wrist. Unsatisfied with the more readily available offerings in custom and nameplate jewels, I discovered an artisan working with precious gold wire – a very old-world jewelry technique. The previous metal thread with a childish script became the obvious choice.

The name behind Atelier Paulin serves as an homage to your father. What did your father teach you about owning and operating a business? Any tips/tricks or advice he offered when the brand was born? 

My father was an entrepreneur. He passed down strong values of determination and self-confidence. He taught me to not to listen to others, and the principle of never giving up. He instilled in me a taste for work. Above all, he taught me that nothing is impossible! Regarding any tips or tricks, when you really want something, you must give yourself the means to achieve it. It’s important to be curious and surround yourself with collaborators who are better than you so that you continue to learn and grow. It’s important to remain unafraid of failure, to always keep a smile, and remain in communication. Communication is essential to properly manage your team. Unfortunately, my father had already passed away when Atelier Paulin officially launched. I know he is looking down at me and that he’s proud of the path that we took.

Are there any pieces in your brand that takes direct inspiration from him? 

My father studied geology before becoming a businessman. The earth and what it contains held no secrets for him. Growing up, we had a lot of natural stones and crystals around the house. My father was particularly drawn to gemology. The first stone that he gave me was a watermelon tourmaline. It is known to be connected to the heart and to our emotions. I still have this gem and keep it close to me. When we launched our fine jewelry collection, I wanted to work with this stone in particular as it is quite symbolic for me.

How long does one wrapped wire piece take to finish? What are some of the materials used in the creation process?

To create the hero pieces from the original collection, our craftsmen create all of the jewels by hand from start to finish. Traditionally, our craftsmen will create the jewel directly in front of the customer. Overall, the process takes about 20 minutes. We work across a number of different types of precious metals, including Argentum, 14K gold-filled, and 18K gold wire for fine jewelry. When creating a piece of fine jewelry, our artisans require more time to create the jewel than just 20 minutes. Fine jewelry usually takes five days for a personalized model since precious stones are combined with first names or special words of significance in gold thread.

Can you tell us how you met your business partner Matthias Lavaux? Did your shared interest in jewelry help foster the brand? 

My business partner, Matthias and I have known each other for 20 years. We are very close friends and have shared a lot of intimate and special moments in our lives together. When I first created Atelier Paulin, I knew that he had to be part of the adventure. It was obvious that only he could be my partner; not anyone else. We are very different, and yet very complimentary. This is what makes our strength! We also share the same values which help foster the brand. Matthias is someone who loves art, design and architecture. He is more thoughtful than I. However, I like to think that I am more whimsical and impulsive. Before creating Atelier Paulin, neither of us knew much about jewelry. We had to learn everything together on the job. Not knowing the universe of jewelry has allowed for us to create our own unique approach and our own codes.

Why is the notion of carrying on ancestral French craftsmanship/techniques crucial to the brand? 

When we created Atelier Paulin, shaping previous metal wire by hand was an art that was fading. The magic of our jewelry is that they are all created by hand and on-demand with a single precious metal wire. It felt imperative to us to help preserve and perpetuate this ancestral know-how. Each of our craftsmen is trained between three to six months to learn and familiarize themselves with this technique. We are proud to champion the French know-how of our craftsmen.

In a time when everything is massed produced, where do you personally see the art of handmade jewelry pieces going? 

In this time of great uncertainty that we are all experiencing, people must continue to hold onto certain values and the things which guide us offering reassurance. Emotion and customer experience are at the heart of our approach. The customer is part of the creation process and sees how their jewelry is made and who is making it. There is a very strong effect on this. I also think that in these times, we are consuming less, but consume better. Each individual jewel from Atelier Paulin has its own original story and touches the person who receives it because it is unique. It is unique because it is made by hand and made on-demand. It is unique because each craftsman signs the jewel created. The customer will always know who made their special jewel. We are also very transparent about the origins of our raw materials and the selection of stones. The elements of handcraft and craftsmanship reviving old-world techniques hold a certain future that we will continue to perpetuate and to give meaning.

Discover the world of Atelier Paulin HERE

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