Tucked away down a narrow passage, Galerie Mirages is every bit as mysterious and enchanting as its name would suggest.
A treasure trove of jewellery, gifts and textiles from around the world, the shop has been trading successfully for more than 30 years and is still one of the Capital’s best kept secrets.
A graduate in French and History, owner Sheila Dhariwal first developed a passion for African art and crafts while working as a volunteer teacher in Nigeria.“ As I travelled further afield I became fascinated with the things I found. That inspired me to bring these beautiful discoveries back to Scotland, as there were so many amazing things that I had never seen here,” she says.
Now 69, Sheila runs Galerie Mirages with her daughters Shanta and Asha in a converted 19th century bakehouse in Stockbridge. “All customers can see from the street is a red arch at the entrance to a long passageway, leading to a red door. There are no windows and nothing to tempt you in. It gives the place a touch of mystery because people coming for the first time have no idea what they are coming into or what they are going to find,” adds Sheila, who is committed to ethical trading.
As one of Scotland’s leading specialists in silver and semi-precious stone jewellery, the shop sells pieces by international designers as well as its own in-house designs. The jewellery ranges include turquoise, coral, pearls, lapis lazuli, antique trade beads and 2,000-year-old Roman glass. There’s also a range of homewares and gifts, such as silk scarves, ceramics, rugs, textiles, frames, mirrors, lanterns and furniture, sourced from far flung corners of India, Nepal, Thailand, Burma, Kenya, Morocco, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Poland, Turkey and Uzbekistan.
Galerie Mirages, 46a Raeburn Place, 0131 315 2603. Open: Mon-Sat, 10am-5.30pm; Sun, noon to 4.30pm.