Friday, October 19, 2018

Bagues d'Homme de Yves Gastou, l'Ecole Van Cleef Arpels

L'ECOLE VAN CLEEF ARPELS can always be depended upon for astonishing exhibits. Run, don't walk to see the ring collection of YVES GASTOU. His gallery of rare antiques is still on 12, rue Bonaparte next to the school of Beaux Arts. But 669 rings from his collection of a thousand can be seen for the first time at l'Ecole, 6, rue Danielle Casanova until 30 November. Above the pink topaz of a bishop.
'Jewelry is a talisman, becoming part of the wearer just as it bestows strength and confidence'.
Monsieur Gastou at the opening
There are seven themes in his collection. Here neoclassical rings. Other themes represented; chivalry (signet rings), Gothic, religion, vanitas, ethnic jewelry and curiosities.
An amazing display for the rings is in the shape of a medieval cross, especially designed by interior architect Jérome Thénot.
Gastou grew up near CARCASSONE. Medieval themes of Jean d'Arc and armor abound.
I spent only a week drawing in Carcassone last year and felt positively medieval. Growing up nearby could definitely make one prone to myths, heraldry and armor.
These turret rings - did they hide poisons..? Every ring in the collection tells a story.
Some rings date back to Egypt. Gastou was given his first ring at age four. He started collecting seriously at sixteen.
Moroccan ethnic rings.
A surprise to see university or even high school signet rings.
And quite a collection of 70s biker's rings
The top of this ring opens to hold who knows what?
The hor d'oeuvres at l'ECOLE VAN CLEEF ARPELS are always jewel-like. They offer a host of excellent jewelry classes at all levels.
I did wonder briefly whether M. Gastou ever considered collecting the toy rings inside Cracker Jack boxes. Somehow I think not... a riveting experience to visit this exhibit and very highly recommended.Thanks for reading Parisbreakfast. If you'd like to receive Parisbreakfast letters, maps and watercolors in your mailbox 📮, look in my Etsy shop. 
Bonne Vendredi PBers!


  1. Your rings are great!Did you leave a negative and paint the blue first?You have some lovely gold flecks there too..Last night my daughter's fatherin law was wering a few being a biker's wolf ring:)Uncanny.I knew it was a wolf..didn't know they were biker rings.

    1. Wow What a manly man!
      I painted the rings first Monique and then the background.
      But I was taught the way you suggested by David Dewey - paint big areas first! Ha

  2. Lynn S10:39 AM

    Oh I would love to see this. So glad you did

  3. Looks absolutely fascinating & such a variety.

  4. Sally V2:01 AM


  5. My father had a university ring llike the rings in the collection. I wear it now as a momento every day...

  6. Adele S2:14 AM

    Our son's sister-in-law works for Van Cleef!

    Beautiful exhibit!

    1. Sigh...I would like to work for Van Cleef Arpels...sweeping up the diamond bits from the atelier!

  7. What a unique exhibit! Seeing the Van Cleef and Arpels ads in magazines always makes me wonder that anyone can afford the massive necklaces and earrings…and obviously plenty of people can!
    As for the “poison” rings, I have just bought one of my own (no gems!) to fill with watercolor. I saw the idea long ago on a blog post by someone I can’t recall. Will post on Instagram!

    1. That was on Parisbreakfast eons ago ;))
      Boy was that an obsession for a while...

  8. Judy J4:58 AM

    Great post, Carol. I had never given much thought to a collection of rings. Your paintings of them are wonderful the way you catch the light on stones with white. (I've always been fascinated with the way pearls are painted so beautifully).
    I remember last year's post when you painted this town. I loved your paintings of that, too. The buildings seemed so simple yet when I tried to do it, mud. You're the best!

    1. Carcassonne...without Jetemy Soleyian I would have been stumped...

    2. Its called PRESERVING YOUR WHITES !

      A biggie in watercolor

  9. Thank you so much for your nice blog with your beautiful pictures and wonderful paintings. Yves has been delighted by your amazing watercolors about his rings and also the references to the medieval city of Carcassonne, who belongs to his childhood dreams.


Love hearing from you