Most of the creatives that I get to deal with and speak to are those whose tools include a scissor and thread or some that use a camera but here is a designer whose tools include gold and precious gemstones. Lydia Courteille can be classified as one of the most original and imaginative of the 21st century creators of haute joallier. She went from collector to designer with several detours in between which included a degree in gemology, retailing, being a dealer of antiquities, a recognized authority on the subject.
What is amazing is to realize is that some of Courteille’s pieces echo the past talents of Verdura, Schlumberger, Belperron, Codognato, and many more but only in spirit but unquestionably she celebrates the art and craft of fine jewelry with incredible imagination and color. Courteille is a jeweler of the future who uses the tried and true techniques and practices of the past to render pieces designed and firmly implanted in the present but destined for the future. She is of a new school of thought when it comes to finished product at the highest echelons of fine jewelry.
Jeffrey Felner: Can you offer a brief synopsis of how you arrived at becoming jewelry designer?
Lydia Courteille: Since my youngness, I am interested in stones, archeology, and sciences but also fashion, I worked in a hospital for 10 years for a very low salary before to meet somebody in Antique jewelry business. Immediately, I changed my destiny and I felt it was for me. I’m happy to give 10 years of my life for science research; it was like a karma, but now it’s a pleasure to work really!
JF: If you could invite ANY 5 people to dinner who would they be and why?
LC: Just my old friends, I don’t really enjoy business parties, I love simple life with simple French food … country food
JF: The new book is so distinctive; can you share with us about your selections, the layout, the copy and how you went about assembling this massive undertaking?
LC: I put away during years and years all what I loved as documents and I took systematically pictures of 95% of my production, a part of myself is in the book , my travels inspired me a lot and also all the knowledge around me, curiosity is my first “quality”
JF: Do you have any sort of plan for brand extension or wider distribution? Why or why not?
LC: Regarding the fact that I have five collections sketched ready in the closet, I could make more than three collections per year, on one way I would love to extend my production (I can’t wait to realize those new collections) by another way I would love to stay a “niche” brand with rarity and quality notions, depends of my mood. I did 52 collections since 12 years
JF: If you could have anyone from the past or present as a collaborator, who would it be and why?
LC: I’m happy with my team actually, otherwise, Coco Chanel, Paul Iribe or Fulco de Verdura. I would love to make collection with Karl Lagerfeld and also make a diamond collection … “white spirit”…