German-born but Paris-based for the past nine years, Beatrice Knoch sat down with HiP to discuss her career as a jewelry designer and the things she loves about life in Paris and Montmartre. Interview edited by Tory Hoen.
Have you always wanted to be a jewelry designer?
No, at first I wanted to practice medicine. I studied Latin, worked in a hospital, etc.
What did you study?
In the end, I did Islamic Studies for two years—Turkish and Arabic and all that—at Freiburg in Germany.
When did you come to France, and where in Germany are you from?
It wasn’t until I began my career as a jewelry designer. I did my studies in Germany, in Pforzheim, on the edge of the Black Forest, where I grew up.
How many languages do you speak?
Good question! I speak German, French and English without a problem. Writing them is another story . . .
How did you end up in Paris? Do you want to stay in Paris? In France?
I had always wanted to go elsewhere . . . but where? I had crisscrossed Germany—first Hamburg, then Leipzig. I don’t like London much. I had always dreamed of New York, but it was a bit far. I must admit that a friend pushed me—maybe forced me—to come and do my thing: my store, my showroom, a new life, a new country. I had never lived in France even though I had dual French-German citizenship, which was another factor that drove me to move. So Paris, yes! Elsewhere in France, no.
What is the biggest difference you see between living in Germany and living in Paris?
I think the difference is hard to define. It’s Paris—which we all know. As a city, it is cosmopolitan, charming, a bit hypocritical. Is that the difference? It’s hard to say.
How long have you been in Paris?
Nine years now. I have managed to establish myself professionally here.
Why did you decide to live in Montmartre?
It was by chance. I looked in the 20th, but one night I was with a group of friends and we came across a flyer on a window: FOR RENT! I tried my luck.
How do you describe the jewelry that you make?
My jewels? I find them very vibrant and natural. It’s not easy to talk about one’s own work, but I find them charming, unpretentious, made from quality materials like silver . . . they’re a bit of a departure from the mainstream. I guess you have to take risks!
How do you see your jewelry developing in the future?
My progression has happened gradually; it is very linked to my family life, which now includes two children. I think I now need to expand to a broader, more global market. I should definitely organize a trip to the United States, where a lot of people like my work. Maybe Easter 2010!
What is your favorite neighborhood restaurant? Café? Boulangerie? Other things to do in Paris?
You must see the park and the boutiques at the Palais Royal, and the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature on rue des Archives. It’s magnificent . . . a real feast for the eyes. On my street (rue André del Sarte) there’s a good Vietnamese dive, the Colline d’Asie. Just next to me, there is also Chéri Bibi, very trendy with a good kitchen. Le Floors is a good London-style café above on the rue Poulet (near the Château Rouge metro stop), and the list goes on . . . Oh, I forgot a boutique, Atypyk, on rue Lambert, behind the hill!
Email Beatrice, or stop by during her regular hours: Tues and Thurs–Sat, 11 a.m.–7 p.m. 17, rue André del Sarte, in the 18th, near the Anvers or Abbesses metro stops.