Celine Catalaa: From Journalist to Jeweler

Celine Catalaa


Ring from the Cartier Panthere collection

A deep appreciation for jewelry started at a young age for Celine Catalaa, who credits her mother and grandmother with sparking her passion for jewelry. “When I was growing up, at my house, jewelry was not a business, but a love affair. I have vivid memories from my childhood of a “treasure chest” that belonged to my mother and grandmother,” recounts Catalaa, who splits her time between Amsterdam and Paris when she is not travelling the world in search of fabulous jewels.  “I was always fascinated and emotionally touched by the beautiful and precious little jewels that it contained. I never imagined that I would become a jewelry dealer.”

Jumping From Journalism to Jewelry

Careers are never a straight path and Catalaa started her career as a journalist. After a number of years working in journalism, she decided to make a “radical career change”.  When she was 35, Catalaa took the plunge and secured an internship at Drouot, the famous Hotel des Ventes auction house in Paris, which gave her the distinction of being the oldest intern at the firm. While at the auction house she organized luxury sales and met a network of collectors, dealers and experts. “During the few years that I was there, I met many interesting people in the business… including my very talented husband,” comments Catalaa. “Changing careers was the best decision I ever made.”

Earrings from the Cartier Goa collection

Catalaa has a deep passion for jewels that tell a story, so after her stint at Drouot, Catalaa launched French Collection, which is her homage to the treasures with a past that come from some of the world’s most renowned heritage jewelry houses including Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Tiffany & Co. “I search for the best fine jewelry in the market that will meet the tastes of my clients,” she says, noting that she takes special requests and will search the world and her vast network looking for that specific item.

According to Catalaa, finding the right piece of jewelry is a journey. She sees her role in the process as a support system for her client. Catalaa inspects the jewelry for her clients to help verify the origin of the piece and to make sure that customers are getting what they expect.

Why Choose Vintage Jewelry?

Maubossin-George L’Enfant necklace

While Catalaa says she can easily fall for a beautiful piece of Art Deco jewelry she notes that her favorite design era is the 1970s, a time when jewelry was big, bold and colorful. “I like bold, colorful jewelry,” explains Catalaa. “I can’t resist anything with amethyst, turquoise or lapis lazuli. It’s happy jewelry and that’s what we need, don’t you think so?”

Jewelry, and all things vintage, have been gaining in popularity in the past several years. Catalaa explains why. “Preloved jewelry and vintage jewelry has never been as popular as it is today. There are many reasons. First, there is sustainability, the carbon footprint of a piece of vintage jewelry is close to zero. Vintage jewelry is also very high quality. Most of it is handmade with a high level of craftsmanship,” concludes Catalaa. “The pieces are also quite rare because most of the jewelry was handmade, the production was limited and pieces were often uniquely one-of-a-kind.”

Featured image (top of page): Celine Catalaa

First: Ring from the Cartier Panthere collection; Second: Earrings from the Cartier Goa collection; Third: Maubossin-George L’Enfant necklace, all jewelry is part of the French Collection.

Authored by Amber Michelle