Lara Melchior first captured our eye with her glimmering intaglio coin rings. Juxtaposing a sense of historic elegance with opulence, the Parisian jewelry designer handcrafts every piece in her thoughtful collection. Lara beautifully bridges minimalism and maximalism. Her work evokes an Old-World-object-made-cool vibe, and appeals to women that appreciate classic, yet reimagined shapes. In a sun-filled apartment on rue de l’Abbaye overlooking the Église de Saint Germain des Prés, Lara shared a first glimpse at her new collection and spoke about her creative process, background in art, and the “love at first sight” feeling she gets from jewelry. -Jenna Fain for The Stone Set
“I started drawing as a child and never quit. I ended up graduating from two different art schools in Paris. I first turned to one of my earliest passions, photography, before designing jewelry. I was very young when I became interested in drawing, art history, and photography. I studied Art for two years and then photography for three years. Jewelry happened as a coincidence further down the road. I began making costume jewelry before learning to work with gold. I needed something manual and expressive—crafting, soldering, polishing…seeing objects come to life as a sculpture.
I always love to work with my hands. I love seeing each piece evolve in its way—I love their rough feeling and aspects transforming into something so delicate. That’s my vision of craftsmanship and one of the many things i love about being a designer. It was the same with drawing and photography: my background educates my eye.
My aesthetic is rather classic. I love pieces that pass through the years. I’m very sensitive to materials, fabrics, fine curves. I try to adapt those values to my collections, making each of my pieces recognizable but subtle and easy to wear. I’ve always been fascinated by gold and the way some designers manage to craft it so I decided to learn. It took me about a year of hard work to obtain the result I wanted and nothing less. I then spent a lot of time conceiving this first collection. I wanted it to be as coherent as personal and every single piece to be unique.
I’ve always loved that love at first sight feeling you get with a piece of jewelry you like. I find it very emotional and personal. I also love the fact that there’s almost always a story behind every piece. Now that I make my own jewelry, that relationship is even more personal. I get to write the first part of the story and feel so strongly about every piece from the drawing to the moment I close each box. It’s a wonderful feeling. Being the one who makes it turns it into something even more special and makes each piece look so special to me.
I started designing jewelry in 2009. I started a small costume jewelry line that sold quite well, but after two years I wanted to learn how to work with gold. I took lessons for a year and began working on my first collection at the same time. I think I had been dying to make these pieces for a while! I design and create each piece, from the beginning to the end. Each piece is handmade by me; that’s what I love about it, that’s the biggest achievement. Making my pieces by hand myself is extremely important to me. I love the fact that each piece is different and I see each piece evolve. Things are evolving quicker than I thought they would, which is amazing. Now I’m working on finding the perfect match between the handcrafted nature of each piece, remaining involved in the entire production process, and being able to supply the growing demand. That’s a big challenge.
I made earrings for the first time, single earrings, which were very well received. The Honeycomb pieces are still very popular. Personally, every day I wear the pieces made with ancient medals as well as the simple rings…classic and timeless. A standout moment so far was When Colette placed their first order of my jewelry! And my first presentation in New York, one month ago, at Melet Mercantile. It was very enriching to meet all my guests in person. It’s a wonderful, hard, competitive world. I’ve learned to just be creative and try to do my duty. And when it works, it works.
I’m inspired by so much! History of art, photography, travel, fashion, architecture, history of jewelry. Everything inspires me; it’s all connected. My passion for art led to creating pieces inspired by Gustav Klimt’s “Golden Cycle,” by Matisse’s brilliant words “There are flowers everywhere for those willing to see them,” by Alexander Calder and Brancusi for the perfect balance, their modernity and beauty that reveals the unspoken and by Cy Twombly’s sculptures. Everything is inspiring—it all comes together, traveling the world, fashion, architecture.” –Lara Melchior
Photography by Emerald Carroll for The Stone Set.