By Nagmani, Senior Editor
Parisians know best what it means to portray themselves as fashionably chic in all aspects of life. This conviction is rooted in their DNA. Everything is measured ad infinitum in quest of total perfection. It’s like not a single step is taken until it’s entirely acted upon. As a result, one can easily peep into a French woman’s sparkling beauty she knows how to portray through her bursting passion for jewelry. This is what prompted the famous French jewelry designer Lydia Courteille to start designing inventive, bold designs that fire up emotions of love in the hearts of women from around the world.
In an exclusive interview with Horizon & Beyond International, we sat down with her to find how she came to launch a brand of her own in the end, what jewelry means to her and much more. Courteille is often in the limelight for her rare yet beautiful wonders of jewelry. She launched her brand in 1987 with a tiny shop nestled in Paris’s Rue Saint-Honore primarily with the aim of owning and showcasing a massive collection of vintage and contemporary marvels of jewelry. And interestingly it’s everybody from collectors to experts and amateurs who get taken aback with what they see in her shop — these nuggets of timeless pieces of jewelry.
Finding herself stuck in the midst of having exhibited 7,000 jewels and many of them sold already, Courteille was rightfully thinking of taking a shot at jewelry making with the proper knowledge she had.
Being in the business of creating terrific jewelry items for almost twenty years, she knows exactly the taste of today’s sophisticated women in jewelry. “I got drawn to the sheen of jewelry because I knew deep down that it’s a perfect way to shed light on cultural tastes and most importantly to make women look stunning,” she says.
To one’s surprise, she never ever felt the need to go to any prestigious design school in order to learn the craft of jewelry making. Nonetheless, we can also call Courteille a scientist since she is a graduate in Biochemistry; which probably made her not to attend any design institute. “To change it all, I took some course on how to do quick draw lately. It has only bolstered my technique,” she explains.
Lydia Courteille is someone always keen to bring forth the unthinkable in jewelry design. This is what sets her creations apart from the rest. “I think I push the limit of the subjects I work on. I make aesthetics, subversive pieces,” she says. “Because of this major factor, I’ve been able to develop a signature style of my own— you will see there is a big volume of happy colors and a real story to tell behind each collection.”
And the list of celebrities wearing her jewelry is quite impressive with the likes of Karl Lagerfeld, Catherine Deneuve, Alber Elbaz, Madonna, Rihanna, Nicole Kidman, Ricardo Tisci, Stella McCartney and many more. “Women find a source of pleasure and satisfaction in their jewelry collections,” Courteille says.
She finds inspiration in her travels, museums and reading. While she sources the stones from everywhere, she loves going to auction houses and stone fairs in search of them.
At the moment Courteille’s market in the Middle East is minuscule but she is hopeful that things will change soon. “We make one-of-a-kind pieces only. After all, we cannot have a good price in the mass market. We were lucky a few years ago when we were able to sell some pieces to Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, the consort of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, former Emir of the State of Qatar, through Ali Bin Ali.”
She always aims high resulting in her frequent participation in high-profile fine jewelry exhibitions as she explains, “Showcasing our scintillating designs in such exhibitions is important because we get a chance to meet journalists, and this is one prime way to ensure our designs are appreciated and well-protected.”
One marvelous collection of hers “Queen of Sheba”touches on the human race as well as the mythical reality of Ethiopia where Queen Sheba once ruled. In a nutshell, each designed piece is strongly reflective of Courteille’s own personal style statement she often adorns; it should be feminine but a little bit extravagant.