If you think about Lydia Courteille, you think about color! Gemstones play a leading role, but so do animals and nature. Sometimes it's all frivolously playful, other times flirtatiously dark. Never ordinary, never boring. Meet the jewelry designer from Paris who starts to get noticed by all the leading trend watchers in the world.
During the last fair, Lydia Courteille and I finally met each other. For the past years, her jewelry has featured in many blogs that I created and I shared her work often on social media. For a reason; I love bold imagination, I love to see gemstones come to life in the most creative way possible. And I may sound like a broken record, but I am such a lover of the animal theme in jewelry. Lydia is one of those designers who likes thinking ' out of the box ' and seems to be so confident in her work that she doesn't fear that her jewelry is ''too much''.
When I show some of her work, people tend to imagine the women wearing this kind of jewelry as bohemian, rich and flamboyant. However, I wouldn't be surprised that most of her clientele is elegant and just loves that splash of bold design, much like a secret colorful tattoo that shows off your inner self, your joy, and your playful mind.
I sat down with Lydia to ask her more about her company and herself
Esther: ''Where did you grow up, and what can you tell us about your younger years?
Lydia:'' I was born in Paris. and I graduated with a double degree in Haematology -biochemistry at the "Ecole de Chimie"
E: ''What was in your eyes the moment you decided that your future was in jewelry?'' Lydia: ''I didn't decide, it was a question of good fortune.
E: ''You told me you designed and sold more" mainstream" jewelry at first. Today, you are anything but mainstream. How did you find the inspiration and courage to make this step? What was the scariest thing you had to overcome to create the jewelry you make today?
Lydia: ''It's not about courage. It's all about showing my style and creating unusual jewelry. I love to make a 'tresors' and art pieces.''
E; ''The financial risks of creating high-end jewelry are significant, did you ever had sleepless nights? And how did you deal with this uncertainty and mental and financial challenge?
Lydia: ''I sleep very well! I am the only investor for Lydia Courteille Haute Joaillerie, so I am always taking a risk with my personal finances. However; usually, designers are waiting for an order to start the creation of a piece. A client prepays her or his ordered jewelry piece, and gemstones are taken in consignment. It's very smart and not as risky, but I have chosen to do it exactly the other way around.''
E: ''If you look back over the years: what was your biggest mistake?''
Lydia: ''I was innocent regarding intellectual property. Especially with the Chinese workshops.
E: ''What is the best way to find and engage with clients today, in your opinion?''
Lydia:'' To sell a dream, to share beauty and culture with clients.
E: " Best education tips for anyone interested in jewelry?''
Lydia: '' It's not enough to study just jewelry. The most important thing is to educate yourself''
E:'' What do most people not know about you or your company?
Lydia: I think that they don't always realize that I'm a successful businesswoman without investors or the support of a luxury group.
E: ''What achievement, personal or professional, are you the proudest of?''
Lydia: I have reached the status of being a trendsetter and influencer of the industry today, pushing the message of art in all that I do.''
E: ''What is the best story about jewelry that you ever heard?''
Lydia: ''Thel story about royalty and how the color of parure's gemstones was a sign for a secret meeting. And that green color was a color of access to a bedroom.''
E; ''What book(s) did you give away most,''
Lydia: ''6 VOYAGES DE JEAN- BAPTISTE TAVERNIER''
E: ''Favorite gemstone?''
E: '' Your favorite app and what is your favorite website''
Lydia: My favorite website is MODA OPERANDI and my favorite two apps have to be: Facetunes and Instagram.
E: ''What have recently you bought under 250 euro that you really loved, recently? (can be anything!)
Lydia: ''Chocolate cake!''
E: ''What is your own favorite jewel?
Lydia: ''An opal ring that I created myself and a beautiful brooch by Suzanne Belperron.''
I asked Lydia also about her inspiration, how does she get to that place of creative ideas and inspiration? How does she get to her creative energy and what works for her? However, Lydia loves to be mysterious. She confesses that these are secrets that she loves to keep to herself.
Lydia Courteille has been around for many years and her iconic purple store in Paris is one of those addresses insiders know and love to visit. As we held the interview in English, I don't speak French unfortunately, it became clear that she isn't fully comfortable giving answers in another language and she appears to be far better at expressing herself through her jewelry than in words She is even coming across as introverted and serious, which seems a complete contrast with her jewelry., but probably isn't. It matched my previous idea about how elegantly dressed women, more than the wildflowers of this world, would wear her bold, daring and bright designs, as a way to represent their inner selves.
During the VicenzaOro trade show, Lydia kindly gifted me one of her books. I happily threw out other stuff in order to take it with me in my small 10kg suitcase ;-). The book takes you on a journey, from a young Lydia who pleased the masses with conservative designs -surely reaching a larger public- to the person and company that she is today. I loved the book and it now has a permanent place on our dining table. A book that everyone visiting my house opens, as it is right there, and sure enough: it gets a conversation started!.
Although she seems honestly saddened by the problems she had with people copying her jewelry and style, she shouldn't worry too much about getting acknowledged for her unique style. She is capturing ever more the eyes of magazines, jewelry stores seeking unique jewelry and trendwatchers from all over the globe. It's high-end jewelry which means it will be for high net-worth clients only, however, her jewelry speaks for itself, Confident and proud, not shy to shine and here to stay. That is Lydia Courteille, ladies and gentlemen!
More about Lydia on her website. Would you like to work with Lydia or have a question for me about her, do let me know!