Tell me about the pearls.
When I went back to source more pearls, back then you only saw round pearls in the markets, and baroque pearls were very rare. Then, I noticed a hidden strand of Keishi pearls at one of the dealers, they are the flat pearls, and I thought they were so special. They were really puzzled and couldn’t understand why I would be interested in these shapes, because no one cared about them. I asked to see what else they had in the backstock. They brought out these Birch pearls. The interesting thing about these shapes of pearls is that it’s a different interpretation. They can still be classic, you can wear it formally, but they are still effortless, but I think it feels very abstract and modern. My designs, I feel, are often like abstract art. You can connect with it, it’s luxury, and there’s a DNA and uniqueness in every single piece. Because we play with these shaped pearls and there’s a gold setting, it makes it impossible to use a moulding process, so everything needs to be hand-sculpted because the shapes of the pearls are different. You need to create a waxing process around each one of them, and that makes it really special. And people really connect with that.
So, every piece is unique, because the starting point is always the pearls of gemstones you discover?
Yes, every single piece is unique, because we uncover and discover interesting shaped pearls. Even for gemstones, it is something you cannot find in the market. We go and find them rough, and it is a bit of matchmaking, where you go and pick a rough, which on the outside might have a nice colour, but when you slice it in, it may surprise you even more, and it might be a three-dimensional colour, or no colours. We are taking the buyers into the sourcing journey. It’s not something that’s in the market, that you can just go and find in the diamond district. It is really connecting people with something unique and taking them onto that journey with you.
I read somewhere that it is about exposing the origin of the gemstones and the pearls.
Yes, take rubies as an example. Rubies are introduced as red, but the ruby rough that we find, when you slice it in, there is black, white, green and red within a ruby. In one of the fine jewellery pieces we did last year, there’s even a crystal star shape within a ruby, and I told the cutter to keep it that way. I didn’t even know that this is the way they crystallise. So I think it’s something that’s very special, because what you see in the market, diamond cuts, gemstone cuts, it’s almost like plastic surgery, you don’t really connect with the origin of these gemstones anymore, it has become uniform. To me, you’re almost hiding the beauty of it. Our essence is that we are representing the origin of the gemstones and the pearls, and we design in a way that respects their unique curve and every curve they have and the colour and the texture that they have, so that’s the DNA to our pieces.
There’s this huge knowledge of gemstones. I also hear this duality between traditions and modernity. It reaches back in time, but it points to the future too.
I think nostalgic is a good word to use. I think it links back to childhood. It becomes very intrinsic. I design by the feeling of it, how I want to create an abstract imbalance. It’s classic, but it’s contemporary at the same time. And back to the abstract art, everyone can appreciate and interpret it in different ways, and I think that’s what each piece of my jewellery does. It is very personal.