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I am very proud and happy to post this interview from this one woman Parisian institution for fine jewelry. Only a household name with the real fine jewelry connoisseurs and a name that everyone respects highly within the art, design and jewelers circles, Lydia has been designing pieces for years worthy of a museum collections pieces. A true artist in every sense of the word and someone that has set many trends in the fashion jewelry as we know it today. Very selective with her interviews as well as her clients I had the privilege of admiring her beautiful shop and jewelry on my recent trip to Paris ….we talk about her inspirations, creative process and fashion…
You are an antique dealer, a gemologist and a jewellery designer. In which order did this happen?
Since my early childhood I was fascinated by the stones, archeology. I was reading books on history, geography, collecting small fossilised pieces, simple stones which seemed so attractive and precious. Later I started working in medicine whilst still being very interested in fashion, new designers and creativity. I once spent my whole salary on a legendary Snake zipper Alaia dress! I think there were two sides of me- scientific and creative. When combined it gives out my interest for the jewellery and the precious stones. I became a very passionate antique jewellery dealer but pretty soon I realised that a I fell the strong need to create something new- something that never existed before. I was surely inspired by antique jewellery but I also never forgot what Mlle. Chanel has said: “To create new things you have to forget”. And this is how I started to make my first pieces, which were new in colour , shape and size- the pieces that I wanted to wear myself.
Do you collect antique jewellery?
I do not think that I will ever stop collecting antique jewellery. i have started as an antique and the reason why I go on collecting, while creating myself is that I love antique pieces especially made by Belperron, Lalique, Boivin…I look for the jewellery that is different from what i create , but nevertheless inspiring.
Did you study jewellery design? Is jewellery design an outcome of your wide knowledge of gems and history?
The antique jewellery boutique I started working at was my best school. I have learned a lot whilst working there and only later on I have started to study gems professionally, got a diploma.
When did jewellery making actually become a business?
For me? The day I had a first client! There was a point in my career when I knew that the only thing I should and want to is to create my own pieces- the jewellery I would love to wear myself. I had some loyal clients who were coming back to see my latest pieces and of course that gave me a lot of confidence. I started to create more, with more courage and passion.
What historical period do you love the most?
I would defiantly choose the 18th century. This was a period where everything seems so beautiful to me- the ambiance, boudoirs, sales des glaces. I love its spirit of frivolity, luxury and airy creativity.
Favourite fashion designer?
I love what Azedina Alaia does. I find his creations feminine and chic and graphic at the same time. It is so easy to wear and you can easily match it.
Favourite materials for jewellery?
If I have to chose one it would defiantly be an opal. I am totally fascinated by its shades and natural glowing, the way its colour changes depending on the lights and daytime. I like he fact that it is changing- it is almost like having several different stones in a time.
Will there be a Lydia Courteille museum one day? Maybe in my isolated house in the South of France where I spent a lot of time.
You can look at (or buy if you are lucky) Lydia Courteille’s jewelry at her Parisian store on 231 rue Saint Honore…or Zurich Trois Pommes, LA Maxfield, London Browns, Moscow Tsum, Lane Crawford Hong Kong, Miami Alchemist…and shop online on www.brownsfashion.com or www.couturelab.com