Vogue UK Jewellery Editor, Carol Woolton’s latest books about jewels is as beautiful as it is informative.
Drawing Jewels for Fashion, published this autumn, is Woolton’s second book on jewellery and jewellery designers. The Vogue Jewellery Editor has compiled something of an anthology, which includes the work of contemporary, more sculptural designers such as Alexandra Jefford as well as established creative directors of traditional fine jewellery houses of the likes of Caroline Scheufele for Chopard.
The book divides the designers as per inspiration and influences, Civilisations, the Natural World, Art and Architecture, Culture and Literature, the Material World and History and Symbolism. Within each chapter, Woolton has compiled insightful interviews revealing the artists’ inspirations and techniques.
In Woolton’s words, “The perfect jewel is something that creates a physical response as well as an emotional response”. The same goes for this book. It is not only an exhaustive catalogue of contemporary jewellery design, but an object of desire in itself. As well as containing informative interviews, the book is embellished with exquisite sketches by the designers themselves.
Carol Woolton speaks to Swide about her love for jewellery, her modus operandi for compiling the book, and of course about the Dolce&Gabbana Jewellery.
Why do you think women are so deeply attached to jewellery?
It’s the most personal thing they wear. Clothing doesn’t mean as much, it might be the season’s look, the colour, but its not something that they’ll keep forever. While jewellery has a meaning behind it, either its been given for a special occasion, birthday or even an engagement ring. A lot of things have talismanic meanings, and I think it’s the most personal thing women wear every day. It’s not only the value, it’s precious because it has a meaning for that individual.
What makes beautiful jewellery in your opinion?
It’s design. It’s a matter of things that are pretty and mesmerizing. They have to be put together with a technique and a design as well as a creative eye and brings all these elements together and makes something really beautiful. It is craftsmanship and more than anything, its design that brings it all together. Jewellers have to be artists, they have to put their inspirations to paper, draw the jewels they are imagining in their head and then turn them into 3D objects. Its very different to designing other things or contemporary art, they have to turn it into sculpture, that’s why they have this unique role, they have to be artistically sensitive.
What criteria did you use to select the designers to feature in your book, Drawing Jewels for Fashion?
There had to be a particular story or strong aesthetic. I wanted the book to be about modern jewellers who are working now and who have a particular look and aesthetic, I included a couple of young designers as well. And people who have strong integrity to their work. I wanted it to be about modern jewellery as well as fine jewellery and I wanted to show people that fine jewellery doesn’t have to be stuffy.
There are a number of Italian jewellery designers featured in your book. Why do you think that is?
Alberto Nardi, I love that history he references, Venice. I love his Moorish broaches. I think that’s brilliant, so interesting. I don’t know if so many people buy them, they’re so flamboyant to wear, but I think they’re beautiful gold objects and I love the history and legacy of it. While Delfina Delettrez, with her family history and growing up within the Fendi brand, developed an idiosyncratic style. And of course I think the Italians have a flair for design, they have a zest for jewellery design and for fashion, they have panache.
How do you think jewellery design has evolved over time?
In the last 10 years it has evolved more than at any other time. Now that fashion hands are getting involved in jewellery it has really moved the design along. It has really created a new culture amongst jewellers. They don’t use big stones, emeralds, sapphires, rubies in fairly mundane settings, now they have seen what the fashion houses are doing and they’re motivated to put a lot more into their designs. I think that’s a great movement in the fine jewellery world in the last 10-15 years.
Dolce&Gabbana has also joined these fashion houses that create fine jewellery, do you think jewellery design will move along further now?
People like to be very causal about how they wear jewellery now. I think with things like the necklace with rosary beads you can layer them up for a bigger look. Women like casual. At the moment it’s about looking at fine jewellery and not knowing what it is, it has to be unidentifiable. Jewellery needs to just look lovely and you don’t need to know that its a precious and valuable ruby or emerald, you just need to love the way it looks. Its something you’re going to go back to, it will not date and always want to wear.
What is your favourite piece of jewellery from your own collection and why?
The 1920's French Art dèco platinum and gold ring, which I hope, but can't confirm, as the markings are rubbed off, is by Raymond Templier - but its definitely in his style.
interview by: Valentina Zannoni
Source: Drawing Jewels for Fashion