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The Parisian Pride
Vanessa Tugendhaft of Vanessa TugendhaftJoaillerie
By: Diamond World News Service
Apr 23 2014 6:08PM
Reference: 9066  

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She is young, bold and vibrant. She is truly the pride of Paris. She is not only a celebrated jewellery designer but also a perfumer who has integrated both these segments into one, calling them the jewel perfumes. She is the Parisian jewellery designer, Vanessa Tugendhaft. Apart from jewellery and perfumes, Vanessa is also an ardent lover of travels and history, both influencing her design process. Priyanka Desai meets up with this articulate artist to know more of her inspirations, accolades, passions and more.

She has been elected as jewellery designer of the year in France for the year 2010 and her designs have been seen on the likes of Anne Hathaway, Madonna, Lourdes and the stars of Gossip Girl. Vanessa Tugendhaft is an artist par excellence. Originally a Belgian and Parisian by adoption, she comes from a lineage of jewellers. She has always created jewelleryindependently of the catwalks trends. What she loves is to listen to the street, to women’s demands and her insight inspiration.

Dwelling more upon her inspiration, she shares, “I find inspiration in my daily life or whenever I travel, for example my latest collection ‘La Marquise’ is inspired from a trip to Venice. I believe that anything could be a source of inspiration such as reading books as well as visiting exhibitions. It can also be from watching a movie or while looking at a woman sitting in a café.” To be inspired from the mundane to the exciting, is a sign of a true artist and Vanessa ticks all the right boxes. Hailing from the culturally stimulating Europe, her inspirations give birth to designs that are conversational, vivid and marvelous.

Talking more about her roots, she explains, “I was born in a diamond cutter’s family. I did my very first jewel when I was 15 yearsold when my father gave me some diamonds. Though it was a simple start, my friends lovedit. I knew I wanted to be a jewellery designer at that time itself. I have learned everything about the diamond industry from my family. However, the diamond cutting profession is very different from the one of a jewellery designer.I started jewellery designing as a very small business in school in Brussels but it first took flight about a decade ago, when I arrived in Paris. I used to see people and celebrities on the street wearing the holy and spiritual red thread and I remember finding it ugly. I decided to add a diamond on it and make it more glamorous. Unexpectedly, it was a big success that gave birth my brand and I decided to dedicate myself to fine jewellery and make it affordable for each woman.”

Apart from jewellery, she is also a successful perfumer. If that is exciting to know, then the concept she has innovated to bring together perfume and jewellery is even more sensational. When asked to explain this concept to us, she states, “I recently launched a perfume with three different fragrances. I always wanted to make my own perfume but it was not coherent with my core business. Until I found this new concept: one perfume-one jewel. Les eauxdiamantéesare endowed with the Rose, a must have of fine jewellery. Once the bottle is empty the Rose is released at our workshops and set on a coloured thread or on a small chain (according to its owner’s desire).”

With this innovation, one can imagine the depth of Vanessa’s imagination and dreams. She has an interesting anecdote from her early career days, which is also based on her big dreams. “When I was younger I often joked with my family and friends, that it would be a dream come true to have Madonna wear one of my bracelets. She received the diamond on the red thread for her 52nd birthday and surprisingly it has never left her wrist to this day,” she articulates with a wide and warm smile.

Madonna adorning her design for so many years is just one of the accolades. There are many other achievements that she shares with us. “I have been awarded designer of the year by Paris Capitale de la creationin 2010. This award is an important recognition of my work. It helped me to have a better visibility in media, which in turn helped me in reaching out to more and more women. Last year, I also opened my first concept-store in Paris. It was an important achievement for me, as I always wanted to have my own innovative concept-store around diamonds. I took the opportunity to also present les eauxdiamantées and createda new concept of jewel-perfumes,” she proudly expresses.

Launching an independent store in the fashion capital of the world, Paris is a dream come true for most designers, be it fashion, jewellery, accessory, etc. But, to achieve this dream takes zeal and willpower of steel. Vanessa not just possesses these qualities but has also dedicated a decade of her life to understanding the nuances of the trade. When requested to share her learning, she takes us down the memory lane and informs, “I learned everything about all the processes of jewellery making. Right from creation and conception to management and business development, I have been involved in all the steps. The diamond industry is unique but everything is possible as long as you have the strong will and the means to do it.”

The learning curve is always peppered with difficulties and challenges. Vanessa too, faced some. Talking about it, she says, “Without any hesitation I can say that the diamond on the thread was a difficult art to master as I had to find a thread that was unbreakable and resistant enough to set the diamond on it. In addition to that, in my recent collection called as La Marquise, I invested one year to find the most perfect shape that suited me perfectly to create the ‘Mask’ piece.” Shedding light on her favourite material palette to work with and gemstones she most enjoys working with, she says, “I mainly work with the three types of gold and diamonds. Diamonds are the most precious natural stones in the world and are the only stones that truly inspire me.”

One look at Vanessa’s designs and you know the wearer has to be with substance. Someone who takes his/her life by the horns and makes their own rules are the ones who can carry off her designs with aplomb. Any urban woman with inkling to fashion and style will truly be in love with Vanessa’s statement pieces. She concurs and adds, “Any independent woman who is elegant, chic and refined is the wearer of my jewellery. I dare to mix diamonds with other raw materials in order to make it affordable for every woman because I believe that every woman deserves a diamond,” she says with her dazzling smile. She further adds, “Nowadays, men prefer to wear bracelets in leather material and stylish designs. Also, it is great to see that men are now more willing to have a diamond on their bracelets or adorn a piece of jewellery.”

Throwing light on her personal style statement, she informs, “During the week I like to wear chic and relaxed clothes but I try to stay elegant. I don’t wear too much jewellery but when I do, they are always real and discrete. I personally prefer fine jewellery bracelets and skin-jewels in general.”

Though Vanessa is regarded as one of the most successful jewellery designers of Paris and her designs are sold in London, Beirut, and most exotic places, she too has her favouritejewellery designers, which are truly inspirational to many young designers. “I particularly love the collection Promesse from Messika. As for other designer, I like what Joel Arthur Rosenthal from JAR does,” she states earnestly.

After talking about family, jewellery, perfumes and every thing artful, we asked Vanessa about her hobbies apart from the artistic profession, which she dearly loves. To this, she states, “Looking at my personality and my profession, it may seem unbelievable but I like sports. I also enjoy aromatherapy and I love to travel. Also, history is also one of my interests and it can influence me in my design process.”

Talking about her typical workday, she expresses, “Each day is different for me. Sometimes I am running all around Paris for appointments and sometimes I am at the office, finishing some work. At times, I also enjoy being in my boutique at St Germain des prés to have a direct contact with my customers.”

This question reminds her of an important appointment that she has to rush out for but we still managed to ask her to share an advice for the budding jewellery designers. “I will advice them that never give up. The competition is stiff but as in every job, ifyou love it and are passionate, you will find the success and thepersonal satisfaction. Most importantly, always be creative anddo not afraid to be bold,” she signs off.

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