BIJORCHA, AN ETHNIC SUCCESS

Byline: Robert Murphy

PARIS — Colorful, ethnic jewelry was the rage at Bijorcha, the four-day trade show for fine and costume jewelry and watches, which ended at the Porte de Versailles here on Sept. 6. A special exhibit devoted to ethnic-inspired jewelry influenced by various cultures greeted visitors at the show’s entrance.
France’s Angelique Millet used multicolored beads and feathers in pieces inspired by ceremonial African tribal jewelry. Some pieces used wood or ivory in large square patterns in necklaces or oversized bracelets.
Cesaree, a costume jewelry designer here, mixed Moroccan-style tassels with modern elements such as finely structured sterling silver wire.
Red Earth Designs of London showed necklaces and bracelets handmade by indigenous tribes in Central America. The colorful pieces featured wide bands of small beads arranged in geometric configurations.
“We try to offer something that’s not universally available,” said Andrew Robinson, director of Red Earth. “By using Mayan Indians to make our pieces, we also are able to perpetuate an important tradition.”
Red Earth also showed small evening bags beaded in Indian motifs that Robinson said were well received by European retailers.
Geometric and ultrafeminine designs were also in evidence.
On the geometric side was Thomas Schwender, designer for Tosh, based in Frankfurt, Germany. Schwender’s collection was stark, clean and minimalist, as in a metal-mesh choker, or more elaborate, in pieces that fused delicate, rococo-inspired designs with thick, unpolished metal. Perhaps the most original of Tosh’s pieces were his bracelets made of ribbon, decorated with small metal appliques and fastened with a brut metal clasp.
Other firms showed delicate necklaces in free-flowing forms decorated with semiprecious stones. For many, thin silver or gold strands were bunched into thick, vine-like configurations. At French costume jeweler Claire Finotti Creation, necklaces had interwoven strands of silver or gold dappled with rhinestones.
Similar ultrafeminine pieces were featured at Faena, also a French designer of costume jewelry, but this time they were decorated with crystal or pearls.
Organizers said attendance was stable with last year’s — about 15,560 visitors from 72 countries.

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