Charlotte Dauphin de la Rochefoucauld of Maison Dauphin has emerged as a young fine jewelry designer to watch alongside the venerable brands at Place Vendôme in Paris. Last January when Charlotte debuted Dauphin, her concept of ‘blue gold’ created much excitement amongst editors, buyers, and jewelry enthusiasts. It felt distinctly new alongside the jewelry’s industrial and elegant elements. Fascinated by geometry, shape, and abstraction, Charlotte creates designs that take minimalism to a new level. How is it that her cuffs, necklaces, bracelets, and rings are so simple in their lines, made of just diamond pavé and gold, yet evoke such regality? We wanted to meet the woman behind this impressive debut, so we stopped by the Dauphin showroom in Paris to learn about the designer’s personal history, inspiration, and vision.
“I never expected to become a jewelry designer. I conceive of jewelry as part of an alternate visual language we all read and speak and that I have always been interested in. A universal language in other words. It is certainly related to my deep love of image that is part of my family’s heritage. And of all the sorts of possible images, I believe the medium I chose to express myself with is the strongest one in the way it defies time. So all my experiences led me to here. There is a definitive quest for the past in my work. Then I studied semiotics, communication, and the history of art, which has greatly increased this interest in alternate languages. I come from an advertising, publishing and media background in my family, so I have a very strong heritage in terms of sensitivity to imagery, which can also be found in fashion or jewelry. It is a core element of my vision. Whatever I have done or I am doing is related to that.
‘Blue Gold’ is a coloration technique applied to 18 carat white gold resulting in a very subtle and changing deep blue color. Blue becomes almost a shade of black in this collection, reinforced by the black diamonds applied to the object. In that sense it is a neutral color just as the white, black, grey or even rose gold that I assimilate to what one would generally call ‘nude’. It made sense to me to add this deep ink blue color to my neutral color palette. It is full of poetry, mystery and melancholy. It is a secret color.
Working with incredible people and talents at each and every single level of my work is certainly one of the most rewarding and enriching parts, putting aside the creative aspect. The challenges come mainly from transforming an experiment into something that works and then transmitting a vision, a message. I am lucky enough to say that it has worked well so far but I am working hard to achieve this. My showroom is at the Place Vendôme, a very iconic place in Paris. Quintessential, which is why I love it, and it is close to the main jewelry workshops. But there are many inspirational places in Paris that are full of memories to me. It is the city where my heart belongs and will always remain.
My creations are inspired by my feelings and experiences. I am seeking inspiration deep inside myself. All my work is autobiographical in that sense. It is very different from a replica of the surrounding environment or the things I see. It is quite the opposite actually, as it is more related to what is unseen, what is invisible. I am trying to touch the infinity of an emotion, of a moment.
Standout pieces in my line are the Double Ring, Cuff, and Necklace (which is one of a kind). Each of them adds a contemporary feel to the silhouette. The Double Ring, for example, is almost an anti-ring. It stands in between the fingers elongating them while adding poetry to the movement of the hand. The cuff and necklace are an extension of feminine curves.
I am creating for the contemporary woman. She is cultivated and a free spirit beyond trends and fashion. She knows herself. I create for today’s women. I feel that more and more women embody this new contemporary silhouette that reflects a cultivated personality. More women have access to education today and they are more independent. I create for them. My jewelry is for the elegant yet not traditional, the poetic and feminine yet strong, the imaginative but not fashionable, and sensual woman. She knows herself and what suits her and does not need anybody to tell her what to wear or do.” -Charlotte Dauphin de la Rochefoucauld of Maison Dauphin
Photography by The Stone Set.