Out on the Town, Student Life

Fashionably local: An investigation into Montreal’s jewelry scene

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian government has encouraged consumers to support local businesses. With the return to an in-person business model, the Shop Local movement is here to stay—consumers are purchasing goods from their neighbourhood businesses more than ever before.

In particular, the growth of the jewelry industry has accelerated due to this movement. McGillians who are interested in checking out locally-made jewelry stores are, therefore, in luck; the Montreal area is home to a vast array of creators to suit a variety of tastes.

Maidor Jewellers—1255 Boulevard Robert-Bourassa

Located just a five-minute walk from McGill’s downtown campus, Maidor is a fine jewelry store with a workshop at the back, where all their hand-made products are made on-site.

Originally founded in 1984 by brothers David and Harry Maidor, the business has become a staple in the downtown Montreal jewelry community. In particular, it’s known for its classic diamond pieces, the high-quality 18-carat gold used in many of its jewels, and its custom offerings.

In an interview with The McGill Tribune, Maidor’s marketing manager, Samantha Berger, explained the process behind these made-to-order pieces. 

“We begin by creating a three-dimensional design of the piece, based on what the client is looking for,” she said. “Then we 3D-print it into wax—basically a mould put into plaster. Next, gold is melted into plaster that takes the form of the 3D-printed pieces and it is assembled and polished in our atelier.”

Berger emphasized that, while jewelry can be costly, shopping at local and customizable boutiques like Maidor is a great way to find pieces that are within your budget.

“When shopping locally, you really get to build a relationship with the jeweller, so that they can understand your vision and give you the best price for what you’re looking for,” Berger said. “At Maidor, budget is really workable; pieces don’t have to be thousands of dollars.”

Atelier SYP—4610 Chemin du Souvenir

Atelier SYP is a Laval-based boutique that prides itself on its distinct style and creating custom-made jewelry tailored to its customers’ desires. 

“Our style is very on-trend, European-inspired, and [is made up of] more chunky-style pieces,” said Cristal Haidalis, founder and designer of Atelier SYP.

As a small business owner, Haidalis is heavily involved in the process of making jewelry. 

“My inspiration comes from when I’m sourcing material,” she said. “I do sketches, then we work on producing moulds, then start production with various types of chains, clasps, and pendants.”

Haidalis also points out the excellent quality of locally made goods, making them timeless.

“With jewelry specifically, our goods are more unique, well-priced, and high-quality,” Haidalis said. “You can even shower with our pieces on without damaging them.”

Anne-Marie Chagnon—5333 Avenue Casgrin

Montreal-based Anne-Marie Chagnon is well-known in the international community for her handcrafted jewels. Despite her recent success, the artist has been creating jewelry for as long as she can remember. 

As a child, Chagnon made jewelry and clothing by hand, then began selling pieces when she was in CEGEP and university to fund her visual arts education. Her business then took off and she dedicated her full-time career to creating jewelry. 

In an interview with the Tribune, Chagnon explained the process behind her collections. 

“The collection is like a story [and] the materials are like the letters of the alphabet,” Chagnon said. “I know what the general vibe I want is, then I use the colours and materials to make the different assemblies.”

Chagnon advises students interested in creative disciplines to pursue them, regardless of what critics might say.

“I know it’s kind of cliche, but [you should] do what you have in your heart,” Chagnon said. “Everyone was telling me ‘why are you doing jewelry?’ and I said it was because I liked it. Now I’m selling pieces at over 800 locations [on five different continents].”

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