Located near the Zhongshan MRT (中山接運站) stop, De Stijl (識得) takes its name from a Dutch art movement and specializes in vintage jewelry imported from US and Europe (countries include England, Germany and Finland). But its store is filled with details from the last 50 years of Taiwan’s architectural history (and maybe even before… it has features that were popular when Japan governed Taiwan).
When owner Eli Hsieh (謝慶良) remodeled the space, he expected to find a lot of bare concrete walls. Instead, he found a green brick arch delineating the original front of the building, tile walls showing where restroom stalls used to be in a bar that formerly occupied the building, intricate hand-painted wallpaper and a hand-sculpted plaster ceiling.
Hsieh enhanced De Stijl with cabinets modeled after Art Deco furniture and painted woodwork and cabinets reminscent of Piet Mondrian’s paintings (Mondrian is the most famous member of the De Stijl movement. He also filled the space with vintage cameras, typewriters (a gift from a printer down the street) and a Christian Dior plaster mannequin.
The selection of jewelry in De Stijl is a bit on the pricey side, but very well-edited. The best-sellers are sterling silver charms, most of which are at least 40 years old. De Stijl has a great collection: the silver is solid and heavy and many of the charms having moving parts or are very rare, like a miniature bust of Queen Elizabeth II (which I bought). De Stijl is also one of the very few places in Taiwan where you can find Bakelite bracelets (imported from the US). In Taiwan, Bakelite was used for home appliances, so customers here usually don’t expect to find it used in jewelry.