CNN Style created a superb interview with Djula’s Alexandre Corrot on tracing your stones.
His diamond-heavy, glam rock-inspired jewels have been worn by Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj and Jennifer Lopez. But for Alexandre Corrot, founder and artistic director of the Parisian jewelry brand Djula, there’s more to his practice than popularity and star power.
Ahead of this year’s Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition, he spoke to CNN about empowerment, confidence, and why jewelers everywhere should be paying attention to where their stones come from.
CNN: Where do you look for inspiration?
Alexandre Corrot: Traveling. I travel a lot between the United States and Europe. I spent most of my summer in Los Angeles last year, and it brought this new collection with a lot of turquoise, with a gypsy chic.
How does your French background influence your work?
I work in Paris, so I still get my main inspiration from there. I still love to sit at a cafe and look at people passing by. I love seeing the Parisian woman when she walks with confidence, and her whole style still inspires me to this day.
What kind of jewelry — and how much — do you wear yourself?
I always wear my barbed wire, usually two or three, with a watch.
I based my first men’s collection according to the pieces (I wear). With my first men’s collection, I’d designed the pieces for myself first, and I got stopped on the street (by people who wanted) to know where my pieces were from.
What piece couldn’t you live without?
My barbed wire bracelet, all day everyday. When I wear it, I feel strong and, you know, badass.
How to you hope the wearer feels when wearing one of your pieces?
I want her to feel confident and strong, and express her personality through my jewelery. I want her to be confident in who she is, especially these days with everything we’re feeling. I want her to be empowered.
Which era are you most influenced by? Is there an individual who is your single greatest influence?
I would say the ’30s and the modern era, the 2010s. I still want my collections to please woman from seven to 77, as we say in French. We have a very wide and expansive collection, so I want it to please everyone, no matter how old you are or what your background is.
What is it about precious stones that appeal to so many cultures through time?
Diamonds are forever. When a woman buys a piece of jewelery, she wants it to last her lifetime, and then to pass it (down) as a memory of her. Stones are forever.
Would you describe jewelry making as more of art or a craft?
I would say both. All of the creation, that is in the art area, and then all the savoir faire of the workshop is the craft.
Who — living or dead — would you most like to have worn your jewelry?
Lady Diana. She was very aware of what was going on in the world when she was here, and I think we still need people like that.
Which issue do you think the jewelry industry must take more seriously?
The traceability of the stones. We are very, very aware of it. We want to know every step of where our stones come from. That’s very, very important. I have children and I’m thinking about the kids all around the world who are forced to work for those stones in very harsh conditions. We have a very strong ethic about it at Djula.
Quickfire: Gold or silver?
Diamonds or pearls?
Minimalism or maximalism?
Contemporary or vintage?
Contemporary with a drop of vintage
This interview is part of a series profiling jewelers showing at this year’s Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition, on from Feb. 21 to Feb. 28, 2018.
Originally published at CNN