When editors, collectors, our favorite retailers, and friends old and new are abuzz about a new jewelry line, we take notice. Such is the case with CVC Stones. Intrigued, we dug deeper and discovered that the man behind the collection, Charlie de Viel Castel, is a financier by day who dreams up fine jewelry on the side.
The juxtaposition of one-of-a-kind, naturally worn stones with precious diamonds resonates with a discerning audience that is keen to layer CVC necklaces over everything from t-shirts to evening gowns. No two stones are similar; each is imbued with its own coloration, energies, and personality. We look forward to watching as his collection evolves. Read on to discover more about Charlie’s journey into the world of jewelry, fueled by a single stone given to him by his grandmother. -Jenna Fain and Emerald Carroll for The Stone Set
How did your life lead you to launch your jewelry line?
It didn’t! I work in finance during the day doing Private Equity in venture capital, so it was a product of pure happenstance. This adventure happened almost by accident. Four years ago when my French grandmother passed away, she left me a single raw diamond. She had a very creative soul, and always encouraged her grandchildren to look beyond what was directly in front of them—she told me to do the opposite of what was expected of me and what I expected from myself. So I took her gift as an opportunity to do this. I wanted to do something meaningful with the stone, to bridge my childhood with her legacy and general creative outlook on life. After she passed I couldn’t stop thinking about what I could do with the stone, and I literally stumbled upon it while walking on the beach, looking down at the beach stones I would collect as a child, when it hit me.
What’s your brand philosophy and who do you see as your muse?
Our philosophy is rooted in emotion and simplicity. Everyone remembers the feeling of finding a treasure stone on the beach or in the forest, or even on the sidewalk as a kid. As a kid, whatever you collect from nature and the outdoors is the most precious thing in the world to you, no monetary value can possibly be attached. When you become an adult you often lose that exploratory spirit, and your idea of value is shaped by society. I wanted to bring that spirit back, but elevate it with a special touch, which is the diamond. In a similar vein, our muse is not so much an individual person, but an artist who represents our philosophy and constantly shows up on our mood board…probably the earth artist Andy Goldsworthy. He exemplifies CVC’s core. I admire the way he makes the most beautifully complex site-specific works of art, using simple organic materials (from leaves to ice and snow) that he finds in nature. For instance, he will spend hours searching for pebbles in a forest and spend days piling them perfectly to make a sculpture during low tide just to see it disappear when the sea tide comes up.
There is something very pure and magical about this. His pieces are unique and a truly personal experience. If the wind blows it over he starts again. Simple materials make the most exquisite works of art, and we value this outlook. We want a return to simplicity, a return to nature. Beauty comes from simplicity. And this applies to all parts of our lives.
What are your trademark pieces?
We don’t really have trademark pieces, but our customers seem to enjoy our black stones with veins. They are the simplest and I’ve seen girls pair them with everything – from evening gowns to a ripped t-shirt. The stone comes from the earth and has a certain energy. This energy is something you want every day irrespective of your outfit. It’s meant to weather and live with you as you live your life. I know girls who even wear them when they exercise! It’s also a versatile piece, you can wear the stone on either the plain or diamond side.
What sets you apart from other jewelry designers?
I don’t have a background in jewelry so I am still learning! But people respond to the fact that there’s only one of each piece in existence, so each person has their own unique piece of art. Also, how we mix something untouched from nature with a precious diamond. We rely on the element of chance and the natural forces of nature to mold and form them. We don’t alter our stones; we accept them in whatever shape they’re in when we find them. Our subtle touch is the diamond—it’s like a wink between the stone and the customer. We want to work with what we have, in whatever way nature gives it to us. We don’t want to make something natural into something else.
What drives and excites you?
The characters that I’ve gotten to know through this journey. The world of fashion and jewelry was – and still is – rather foreign to me so I mean it when I say every day is a total surprise. Every day I’m figuring it out as I go, and it’s been such an adventure. Not to mention, the amount of support from everyone has been incredible. I have a newfound respect for the fashion/accessories world, let me tell you. -Charlie de Viel Castel of CVC Stones
Images courtesy of CVC Stones.