Héloïse Schapiro started a fine jewelry company with high expectations of her clients—they must be die-hard fans of her Héloïse & Abélard brand, interested in upcycled products, and graciously patient with her process.
Since debuting what she claims is the first French circular jewelry brand in 2019, Schapiro says she has found her ideal audience on platforms like Instagram, reaching customers who ask questions, appreciate her made-to-order approach, and willingly wait the up to four weeks it can take to produce a Héloïse & Abélard ring or necklace.
Héloïse & Abélard uses secondhand gold and diamonds in all of its collections, requiring Schapiro and her team to source diamonds from flea markets, estate sales, and auctions. It’s a never-ending process, Schapiro says, but one she relishes as she wants Héloïse & Abélard to be a different type of jewelry company.
“With this kind of approach, you are your own diamantaire. You have to get your stock of stones and search every day. You’re always looking, buying, and negotiating,” Schapiro says. “You cannot see everything when you buy vintage jewelry. You have to take risks. But I think it’s worth the challenge.”
Héloïse & Abélard’s philosophy differentiates the brand within a crowded marketplace, Schapiro says. Customers are aware of greenwashing—brand’s potentially misleading claims that materials are recycled or upcycled. Schapiro seeks to cut through that confusion through extreme transparency. The company’s motto is “reuse rather than extract” when it comes to diamonds, she says.
“If we don’t find enough diamonds for a piece, we tell our customers. We say, ‘Sorry, you’re going to have to wait.’ They understand because we’ve communicated our process very clearly,” Schapiro says of what she calls her “circular manifesto.”
Born and raised in France, Schapiro came to the jewelry industry more than a decade ago, working at major jewelry houses on Place Vendôme, one of Paris’ well-known squares and home to famous retailers including Dior, Chanel, and Cartier.
During those years, Schapiro says she planned how her own brand would be different. She wanted to recycle her materials but take it one step further. The novelty of using secondhand stones in her designs at an approachable price point—her wedding bands start at $510 and her diamond rings start at $2,280—was important to Schapiro. Her jeans-and-T-shirt style and a rock ’n’ roll attitude toward an upscale industry felt natural for the brand she wanted Héloïse & Abélard to be.
The company recently introduced a U.S. version of its website, and Schapiro says she is excited for what the future holds. “I think we have a good balance between modernity and the singularity of our designs, yet it is still timeless,” Schapiro says. “We also have a playful DNA. We’re not taking things seriously. The idea is to be transparent, honest, and a little bit of fun. Above all, we are consistent. We communicate at every point, whether it is the website or our social media.
“That’s not common in big brands or luxury companies. They don’t want you to ask questions. They have a complicated process and cannot tell you where everything comes from,” Schapiro says. “From us, everything is local. It’s reused. You have to buy to order—you cannot stock it. Sometimes, you have to wait a few weeks for your order. But that’s real life.
“When you buy furniture, you have to wait,” Schapiro says with a laugh. “If you want very good quality, you have to wait. It’s part of the process. There will only be one piece, and that will be your piece.”
Top: Héloïse & Abélard’s fine jewelry is made by recycling gold and sourcing only secondhand diamonds. (Photos courtesy of Héloïse & Abélard)@jckmagazine
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