Admirers of the Eiffel Tower now have the chance to wear a piece of the Parisian tourist attraction.
Paul Michael Bedell, founder and CEO of the Austin, Texas–based Korbella jewelry line, credits his young daughter for inspiring his business venture. “We were in France last year on a family trip and the city of Paris captivated my 9-year-old daughter,” Bedell says. “Daughter falls in love with the Eiffel Tower, and father starts a new business.”
Multi-charm sterling silver necklace, $630
Disappointed by the souvenirs in the gift shop, Bedell came up with the idea to create a timeless keepsake combining a piece of the landmark with fine jewelry. “I’ve always loved jewelry, but for the last 20 years all I’ve done is admired it and purchased it,” says Bedell, who worked in financial services for most of his life. After discovering that pieces of the tower’s spiral staircase were auctioned off in 1983, he then tracked down the auctioned staircase and purchased a piece that had previously been shown on the National Geographic channel.
Bedell creates the designs and sends his vision to a professional illustrator who works with CAD technology. A team in Vermont works with the Eiffel Tower metal, while a New York team creates the castings, which are then finished in Rhode Island.
Sterling silver round medallion necklace, $855
The finished necklaces and earrings, made of vermeil or sterling silver (as well as the Eiffel Tower metal), range from $400 to $1,200 and are sold online. Customers are also able to request specific designs with diamonds or colored gemstones.
“I want to inspire people to recall memories and access their dreams,” Bedell says. “I’ve had customers who have never gotten the chance to go to Paris, but it’s on their bucket list.”
Since resources from the Tower are limited, Bedell has toyed with the idea of expansion. “In the future there is the possibility of other artifact-inspired pieces,” Bedell says. “But for now we are capturing the romanticism of one of the world’s most famous icons.”
Vermeil medallion with gold-filled chain, $635 (Photos courtesy of Paul Michael Bedell)