• Victoire de Castellane •

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With this second article about a jewelery designer, there is a distinction to be made between artisan, who conceives and makes, and the designer, whose involvement may be pencils and not files.  But there are palettes of color to consider, when you make high fashion jewels, that free the hand in ways production jewelry can’t obtain.

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Victoire de Castellane was a costume jewelry designer for ten years at one big house, and now runs the fine jewelry side of another house.  This was announced with a solo show in an art gallery, the Gagosian Paris.  By sidestepping opulence slightly, the designer is able to show through by bending the rules of form.

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In her work the use of color sets it apart, there is a dimensionality of thinking, consideration for multiple view angles.  And her approach is a break from the sweeping grid fields of paved stones that seem to have ruled jewels since Cartier. When and where the tiny brilliants are placed, they are in strips, single file dashes of color.  The designer admires and locks in on the color value of the stones, setting them in pass-through mounts and clusters, while no bare metal sees the surface without being treated in jewel toned enamel and lacquer on gold.  And no metal is unworked – the surfaces are florid.  No plane, right angle or facet asserts itself, everywhere is curve and undulation.

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Every surface prioritizes color over substance.  Stones are used to react to the enamel.  Stones are gathered in smooth cabochon clusters there, and variegated with strips of colored brilliants.  The range of techniques is admirable, more so is the leaving of formalities in the dust, completely reworked to have something visual to offer.

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