Parisian jeweler Lydia Courteille recycles gold and period stones into unique contemporary creations

It has become more evident than ever in recent years how precious our planet is, including the precious gemstones produced by the constant geological movements of the earth which have taken perhaps billions of years to form. French independent fine jewelry designer Lydia Courteille is forging her own path by eschewing the traditional designs of established big names to create unconventional yet rare, beautiful and extremely sophisticated jewelry. After visiting an old jeweler in the hope of repairing an old wristwatch, she discovers a passion for jewelry, which leads her to become a graduate gemologist and start collecting 18e-th century and 19ejewelry of the century, jewelry from artists such as Niki de Saint-Phalle or Man Ray and the famous 20edesigners of the century such as Suzanne Belperron and David Webb. Founder of her eponymous brand 34 years ago in Paris, since 1998 she has been creating tailor-made pieces for loyal customers.

In 2008, Courteille’s creations appeared on the catwalks alongside Alexis Mabille’s haute couture collection and during the presentation of the Prada boutique, gaining its international visibility, and today his unique creations are sold worldwide. whole. Selling both her own creations and vintage jewelry in her boutique at 231 rue Saint-Honoré which is full of extravagant and rare treasures, the designer and antique dealer counts among her clients Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, Naomi Campbell, Madonna, Janet Jackson and Nicole Kidman.

Expert in the history of jewelry, Courteille’s collections often include vintage jewelry, such as cameos set in baroque-style rings or a rabbit ring set with old diamonds, and are adorned with precious or unusual materials such as rock crystals Hair of Venus and the laguna blue opals of Peru. “Because I come from the antique trade, I reuse the gold and stones from the oldest pieces,” she explains. “After 20 years of creation and more than 55 collections, I feel better doing less pieces and taking my time to do things. Not in a hurry to create is a luxury. As a freelance designer, no one tells me what to do. I follow my own feelings.

Courteille jewelry has a baroque spirit and a duality that is both disturbing and reassuring, as the wearer enters an unknown and surreal universe inspired by flora, fauna, archeology and history. There is the crab ring set with opal, haüynites, hessonites and sapphires from the Sahara collection, and the seahorse necklace adorned with diamonds, sapphires, amethysts and blue opals from the Deep Sea series. In its Amazonia collection reinterpreting the Amazonian tropical forests, frogs, snakes, lianas and butterflies are transformed into rings, brooches, earrings, bracelets and necklaces, mixing green garnets, emeralds and diamonds.

“My inspiration process is long and quite complex because it requires being extremely attentive not only to what is happening around me, but also to what is happening inside me,” notes Courteille. “I collect ideas, phrases, memories. Nature is a main source of inspiration. As the Greek philosopher Plato theorized that art is an imitation, nature invents and man copies. My jewelry is a mix between nature, legends and archeology, trying to reconcile man and nature, playing with the beauty of the designs, the stones and the technical capacities of the workshops. Production is limited to around 200 pieces per year, with prices ranging from € 10,000 to € 500,000.

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