THE JOURNEY OF A DESIGNER
The designer’s journey… what a wonderful way to express the amazing feeling you have while working with designers, observing their special way to come up with wonderful pieces of jewelry. Thanks to my work I had the opportunity to co-operate with many jewelry designers, touching areas like fine jewelry as well as fashion accessories, dealing with senior as well as junior designers.
It might sound easy to say, but often the whole inspiration comes from a simple gesture, a shade of light and the wish to translate it into a concrete piece. Stones are often the starting point: their colors, their special faceting and cut are the crucial beginning for a design with the wish to capture such a beauty into a metal frame or other materials. In a more “commercial” environment designers definitely have to be able to meet more strict requirements and often have to create according to a specific price point. Each jewelry designer also has their own way to express the initial idea, such as a mock up in paper to show the volume or by simple sketches in pencil. The initial steps, especially with a commercial brief in mind, always needs to be finalized by a technical design where dimensions and precision are essential to help the work of model-makers. From my experience, having skills at a goldsmith bench is a key element to provide a good eye in terms of proportions and volume.
When I teach to my students I always tell them never to be afraid about their initial inspiration – the most intimate, the most daring, the most special – as long as what they create is then appealing from an aesthetical point of view and has a special voice “to call for” a person to wear the piece. Today, with such an interesting combination of materials coming from fashion, design and lifestyle, designers are conceiving ever more intriguing collections. Experimentation has become key because it touches upon materials that were once very specific. Industry is getting closer to designers and this opens up new technological challenges and the courage to use new materials. Research is a prerequisite, as well as the constant monitoring of what is new from the industry and the challenge to bring new materials, once related to specific areas, as part of the jewelry piece. I often realize that not all designers are trained to use stones as part of the design process but sometimes use them as source of decoration, and this is something that could be added to their education.
The Swarovski Gemstones Business is very close to students and new talents and a few times they have collaborated with HEAD Geneva, where I am guest lecturer. Students have a special vision about design and on the most recent collaboration with Swarovski, the request was to come up with a creative vision for a new setting technique for non–jewelry objects.
Being in the jewelry world for many years hasn’t stopped me to still being amazed by some of my students’ and designers’ creations and I am happy to say that creativity never stops. There is still room for young talents to find their place in the market.
Guest Blogger Donatella Zappieri was the Head of the Swarovski Jewelry Design Team for 15 years and now works as an independent Jewelry Design Art Director and Luxury Goods Strategic Consultant as well as teaching at various universities in Milan and Geneva.