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BARON DESIGNS
By Tara Mitrovka

"Not on one strand are all life's jewels strung."
~ William Morris

At Baron Designs, they take the above quote both literally and figuratively, knowing that jewelry pieces often go through different purposes and incarnations throughout their life cycles.

Are you looking for distinctive jewelry, but are disappointed with the cookie-cutter offerings of and mass-produced pieces in commercial stores? Do you have jewelry that was given as a gift or inherited that just isn't your style, sitting unused? Enter Baron Designs, Montreal's best-kept jewelry secret—until now.

Jewelry is meant to be worn, and at Baron Designs, their passion is to work with you to create pieces that are beyond custom. One piece can be turned into many; three bracelets can become a showpiece necklace; or you can start from scratch to develop a jewelry "wardrobe".  Modern yet timeless, their wearable art is the definition of unique.

Who Is Baron Designs?

Like the legendary singing duo the Captain and Tennille, Daniel Baron and Danièle Vasseur, the husband-and-wife, certified gemologist team behind Baron Designs, are the perfect complement to each other. Danièle is the vivacious front woman with a keen eye and quick mind who will brainstorm with you to make your abstract ideas a reality. Daniel, in his element behind the scenes, began his career as a 16-year-old apprentice, honing his expertise in every facet of jewelry making, beginning with welding chains, then spending years in polishing and repair, before taking his place among the highest ranks in the industry as grand setter and designer. The top names in the field have all had the honor of carrying the fruits of Daniel's innovative labors. Thirty years after he began, he has taken his wealth of knowledge and skill, and together with Danièle, has created Baron Designs, a true labor of love.

Why Do You Wear Jewelry?

Everyone has different reasons behind how much jewelry they wear and how often they wear it. Some people wear it for sentimental reasons or on special occasions only, some people feel undressed without it every day, while still others prefer to give it as gifts rather than wear it themselves. Whether for engagements, weddings, baptisms, other celebrations, or for everyday wear—Baron Designs are masters at designing new, unique jewelry and magicians at repurposing old, unused pieces. They are your answer to sending a message or making a statement, whether subtle or extravagant.

"It's exactly what I wanted, but couldn't put it into words!"
~Satisfied Baron Designs Customer

Baron, a treasure trove of silver, gold, and jewels of all kinds, is tucked away in the Hermès building on Peel, purposely apart from the chockablock jewel trade to preserve originality of designs and ideas. Committed to customer satisfaction, they will work with you and within any budget to create a meaningful one-of-a kind design. Whether incorporating highly detailed etched insignias or family crests onto an onyx or including your own actual fingerprint on a wedding band, a piece from Baron will be cherished for generations.

Danièle is part educator, part artist, and all about quality. Through careful questions and practiced intuition, she partners with and guides clients using her skills in communication, artistic design, functionality, and fashion, to determine what will be the interaction of the piece with the individual, as well as with the person's environment.  Daniel will also weigh in on this brainstorming session, sketching some options (and adding some design suggestions of his own), and together you will see this creative process through to fruition.

For all custom items, clients are encouraged to participate in the entire process if they wish. The couple who comprise Baron Designs are thrilled to show customers how jewelry is made, from the wax mold to the final product.

What's Old Is New Again

Just because some gems started out their lives as a gaudy broach left to you by your beloved great grandma, it doesn't mean they have to stay stashed in the back of your drawer.  One of Baron's specialties is breathing new life into your old keepsake or estate jewelry, repurposing it to suit your style. Bring your jewelry and ideas to Danièle (if you're short on ideas, she will have plenty!), and together you will work on a new vision for your old items. Sometimes people bring in old broken jewelry for repair. Daniel will examine the piece to see if it is indeed worth repairing; sometimes it isn't, due to substandard older materials. If you decide to repurpose your piece, you will be guaranteed a quality result. Because Baron will only provide you with a superior product, they will work with the gemstones you cherish from your original item, but will use new gold, as older gold is usually weak or inferior. The bonus of working directly with them is that they will give you current market value for your old gold so that you may put that toward your new piece. The result? A cherished item that is at once old and new, a keepsake with both sentimental and structural integrity.

To give you an idea of how their innovation and skill can give an old piece new life, consider this recent feat: A client brought Baron three single earrings that were missing their mates, a broken chain, and a broken earring. From those, Baron turned the three single earrings into four pendants, repaired the chain, and fixed the earring (also replacing the hook of the unbroken mate to ensure equal quality). From five unused items came seven highly personalized and wearable pieces—for a grand total of under $100.

Only a Jeweler will Know

Every material used at Baron is of the highest quality, whether genuine gemstones or their less expensive counterparts. And it's something of a misnomer to say that the more economical offerings are "costume" jewelry. The gems and metals used in the "costume" designs are so high end that only an expert with a magnifying jeweler's loupe could tell the difference. And even then, they would have to really look hard. In fact, some brides have been known to request that their wedding rings be set with high-end cubic zirconias until the wedding is paid off, and then choose to replace them with diamonds at a later date. The settings and care put into the Baron jewelry at all price points never look garish—often a telltale sign that a piece may be less expensive. "The eye sees the quality," as Danièle likes to say. Their designs stand out for the right reasons, adhering to only the highest standards of workmanship and excellence, no matter what your budget. Honesty, integrity, creativity, and ingenuity are the cornerstones of their business.

"Whatever you put into it, it comes back to you."
~ Danièle Vasseur

The key to Baron's success is happy customers. They forego advertising, relying on referrals from their many satisfied repeat clients. They also bypass the middleman, choosing to pass on cost savings to the customer. They prefer to give the consumer the highest quality and value for their money.

Whether your jewelry is a recent purchase or a revered keepsake, Baron will carefully handle your treasures as if they were their own. These are true designers whose work is guaranteed for life. Baron stands behind their work. Next to product quality, the highest level of customer service is vital.

Inspection and Lifetime Cleaning

Professional cleaning and inspection is always complimentary for Baron's custom jewelry. With continuous wear, it is essential to have your diamond and other jewelry inspected regularly for structural integrity. Daniel will check your piece's setting, clasp, and links to ensure they remain where they belong.

Are you going to a party? Drop by to have your pieces cleaned free-of-charge, so they can remain as beautiful as they were the day you received them.

Ready-to-Wear

Aside from their own sought after "prêt-a-porter" line, Baron also works with esteemed, personally chosen partners to carry select jewelry lines for people who simply want to buy a high-quality, more original designs than can be found in a typical mall store. They also carry fashion jewelry: hot, affordable, and exceptional quality items for any occasion.  For a list of partners whose work is carried in-house or on order, as well as a gallery of a small sampling of their work, please see the Baron Web site at www.barondesigns.com

Montreal is a great shopping city with unique Montreal shops, Montreal boutiques, Montreal malls and Montreal markets. Americans in particular will want to take advantage of the strength of their dollar to purchase everyday goods as well as the luxury purchase. So come see what's in store for you!

You will find Montreal perfumeries, Montreal wedding apparel, Montreal haute couture, Montreal liquor, Montreal children's apparel, Montreal food emporiums, Montreal antiques, Montreal jewelry and Montreal crafts to name but a few of the specialties Montreal has to offer.


Montreal Online Shopping

Coming soon! Montreal Online Shopping, yes that's right find the perfect gift for that someone special right here. You will have a choice from many well known companies and brands all without leaving your screen of choice. Montreal shopping will give you a vast selection of local and world wide gift ideas.

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Montreal Jewellery

Montreal has an excellent selection of elegant jewellery boutiques. Whether your shopping for yourself or that special someone you won't be disappointed.

Montreal Men's Clothing

Men's shopping in Montreal is made easy with a vast choice of stores. Ties, suits, fun summer wear and great service!

Montreal Gifts

Bring home that special memory of Montreal by visiting our gift and souvenir stores. For that perfect birthday present or a thank you, you'll find what your looking for.

Montreal Shopping Malls
It's easy to combine sightseeing or business with shopping in Montreal. Some of the best stroll and shop areas of Montreal are Sherbrooke Street in Westmount, particularly for children's clothes and toys. You will also find several unique gift shops in this area. Greene avenue also in Westmount is a pleasant stroll with a couple of great bookstores. The area of Sherbrooke Street near McGill University and the Museum of Fine Arts is interesting and the museum itself has a wonderful boutique. Other popular streets include St. Catherine street in the downtown core, Crescent and Peel from Sherbrooke to St. Catherine.

What's Hot?

Montreal fashion is, from accessories to designer lines pret à porter for you. Whether you are looking for the latest runway styles or funky street wear. You will find a great selection to fit your taste and budget!

Strolling along Notre Dame Street East of the Atwater market will bring you past many Montreal antique shops. Old Montreal is great for boutiques selling Canadian and Quebec made handcrafts. St. Denis and St. Laurent are fun streets to stroll for restaurants and funky shops. Montreal has several open air markets including Atwater and Jean-Talon. In winter, it's great to shop in the vast underground shopping complex of Place Ville Marie.

Here's a bit of advice on shopping in Montreal. To orient yourself, a few fundamentals are in order. First, Montreal is structured on a grid with St. Laurent Street dividing the city into East and West. The main cross streets are Sherbrooke, de Maisonneuve, St. Catherine and Rene Levesque. If you see an address like 12 Sherbrooke Street East then you know that it is just past St. Laurent to the East.

Next, to avoid the hassle of exchanging cash, place purchases on your credit card or use your debit (ATM) card. Your bank and credit card company will usually allow the best possible exchange rate with the least hassle. Also, keep your receipts! You are entitled to be reimbursed for taxes. Don't forget to use our guide for some of the most elegant shops in Montreal.
 
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