The French Jewel Box, Melbourne
My favourite antique jewellery shop is The French Jewel Box in Melbourne’s historic Block Arcade. Even if I did not have a personal connection with this gem (it is owned and run by my dearest friend, Louise, and her mother Mary-Lou) I’d love it. Each piece whether it is antique, vintage or bespoke has been individually chosen for its beauty, craftsmanship and the highest grade materials.
Possibly one of the smallest shop spaces anywhere (it measures only just 2 x 4 metres), it is like a tiny treasure chest. Most of the stock is artfully displayed in copper edged cabinets facing into one of Melbourne’s landmark arcades, the Block Arcade. Outside is a remarkable 19th century mosaic tiled floor, and above are a cornucopia of florid Victorian excess. Even with all of the attractions of the arcade, I challenge anyone interested in beauty to walk past the French Jewel Box without stopping.
Recently the shop closed its doors for renovations and the results are stunning. The new fit-out designed by Louise includes ornate cornices, mirrored cabinets, a six-arm chandelier, sumptuous gilt framed mirror, but most of all the stunning pearlescent coronation pink damask ‘St Germain’ wallpaper by Laura Ashley in all the cabinets. The walls have been painted in the most delicate palest of pale pink “Haute” in Porter’s Paints Duchess Satin. The results are stunning: sophisticated, feminine and subtle and speak for themselves.
If you’re a local, or just visiting Melbourne, drop by and tell Louise you’re an Urban Kaleidoscope reader.
All photos by me (Kate Challis)