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The new floor-to-ceiling windows at Maison Birks give the place a bright and airy effect uncommon in a boutique stocking such high-net-worth goods.

Holding court on the corner of Toronto’s Bay and Bloor intersection since the 1970s, the Maison Birks boutique is an iconic landmark on the Mink Mile. Recently, the store underwent a complete renovation, evolving alongside the neighbourhood as it welcomed even more luxury names. “Maison Birks as a company is steeped in history yet constantly evolving,” says company president and chief executive Jean-Christophe Bédos. “We have totally transformed our store in order to meet today’s clients’ expectations in terms of retail experience.”

It’s a transformation that’s visible from inside and out at the store, most notably via the floor-to-ceiling windows, which give the place a bright and airy effect uncommon in a boutique stocking such high-net-worth goods. At the refreshed jewellery counters, the store continues to carry long-time favourites such as Cartier, the Birks in-house collection and Van Cleef & Arpels, which has its own street-facing entrance. The bridal section offers a relaxed setting for a couple or group of friends to try on rings.

One new addition that’s exclusive to Maison Birks in North America is Chaumet, a French jewellery brand founded in 1780 and famed for being the official jeweller to Empress Joséphine. Chaumet operates around the Napoleonic-inspired pillars of power, love and nature. “Of course, behind this is an emblematic object – the tiara,” Chaumet CEO Jean-Marc Mansvelt says. “If you think about the painting by David of the coronation, you’ll see that all the ladies have tiaras.” To that end, Chaumet has reinterpreted the royal spirit of the empress in rings, bracelets, necklaces and even modern-day crowns.

Maison Birks, 55 Bloor St. W., Toronto, 416-922-2266,

  • Chaumet Bee My Love White Gold and Diamond Bracelet: $14,160.Handout

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