Tresor Paris is a brand being talked about with some excitement by retailers who have seen some excellent sell-through since launching it in their shops. I went to have a look at the product last week to see what all the excitement is about.
Tresor Paris, set up by Hasbani in Hatton Garden, is a brand predominantly selling fashion bead bracelets. They are straightforward imitations of the original Shamballa macrame bracelets. If you haven’t come across Shamballa before, this is a Danish jewellery brand, launched in 1994 by two (I have to say, incredibly good-looking and charismatic) Danish men Mads Konerup and his younger brother Mikkel. In 1994, Mads opened up a shop in Paris with a collection of ancient Indian and modern Scandinavian-inspired designs and it has grown from there. Shamballa Jewels is now known for its macramé braided bracelets that feature 18 carat gold balls with precious stones and is much favoured by celebrities, especially in the States. I remember Shamballa Jewels winning the Rising Star award at the JCK show in 2005 and I interviewed Mads and Mikkel in 2006 at Basel, when I stumbled across them sitting at the back of Turkish art jeweller Sevan’s stand in Hall 2.2, quietly threading away at their bracelets.
Shamballa bracelets have been worn by the likes of Jay-Z, Boris Becker, Demi Moore, Gwyneth Paltrow and our own Stephen Webster. But in the UK, Shamballa Jewels are only available in Harrods and at Frosts of London. Why? Well, the price probably has something to do with it. Shamballa bracelets are all hand-made and feature pavé diamond and precious stone beads set in 18 carat gold and range in price from around £2,000 to £40,000 and beyond for individual commissions. This will always remain a niche, very exclusive brand for wealthy ex-or would-be hippies.
But if you Google Shamballa beads, you will come across a range of Far Eastern manufacturers making copies of these bracelets. In the UK, there have been various attempts to market Shamballa-inspired bracelets, but it seems that Tresor Paris is the first to really ignite the High Street in any significant way.
The Tresor Paris name and branding is, quite frankly, puzzling, for a bead bracelet originally hailing from Denmark with a Tibetan/Indian vibe, but the packaging is quite cool and the first time I’ve seen jelly film used for jewellery boxes. The most important element is the product, and what Hasbani have done here is to produce a range of bracelets using Swarovski disco ball beads in a range of colours that are very affordable (retail prices are around £150 for a bracelet) and also have that hippy ‘spiritual vibe’ of Shamballa by using Magnetite beads in every bracelet that are supposed to give off “healing qualities”. The product is very well made and at a price that means customers will collect a range of colours to stack on the wrist and purchase as gifts.
I am slightly dubious about Tresor Paris’s celebrity claims (who can tell the difference between Tresor Paris and the original Shamballa on a celebrity wrist?). But there is no doubt that this is something that Pandora customers will move on to. My only question is: why haven’t Pandora brought out a Shamballa bracelet for themselves?