She is like a pearl; gentle and tenacious at the same time, feminine and combative, with a free nature and an eternal youth that she deploys with wonder in her jeweler exploration. Her journey is full of convergences, and always starts at the crossroads of her art. That special day when pushed by her instinct, she decided to cut a pearl to scrutinize this material from the inside. A fascinating love will flow out with unique pieces that magnify all forms of this organic gem. In 2012, she joined the world renowned fine Japanese jeweler Tasaki as Art Director of a new brand M/G Tasaki, to put her glance of creator on exciting designs that reveals beauties of pearls both from the inside and the outside. Her secret lies in her inner freedom, where she is connected to her intuitions and deep nature, to find all the inspiration for dazzling collections which constantly brings renewal to modern jewelry.
Jewels maker from early childhood
“I was born and raised in Athens to a Greek father and a French mother.” From the very start, Melanie shared two countries, two families and she will find the perfect balance with her two different cultures. “I have an international background: Greeks have gaiety, carefree delight and cultivate irreverence; and Frenchmen have good manners and elegance, with women always well dressed, without any false note or exuberance.” Her childhood will be marked by jewelry education while she was taken around museums and permanent exhibitions with her mother, who was an interior decorator, and her father, who was a lawyer, keen on art and antiquities. The little girl was marveled at the timelessness of ancient Greek jewelry that has passed through the centuries, “offering fine gold adornments that shine as originally”. She realized that jewelry was the field where she wanted to work. At the age of 12, while she was playing with the pieces of the home computer, she started making her first earrings with microchips. This hobby soon became a passion. “I flipped through magazines relentlessly, and when I came across models with bare necks, I instinctively drew on the picture a creative design that I kept.” Naturally she moved towards jewelry studies in Athens. This 3-year training will bring her all the panoply of various techniques to make jewelry. But Melanie Georgacopoulos wants to create with an open mind. She stopped everything to go to Scotland, seeking her way in sculpture. There, she will be convinced that she wanted to create “only sculptural objects that could be worn on a body”. She will present her end-of-year collection, made of jewelry-sculptures, and will be admitted to a Master’s degree of Fine Jewelry at the prestigious Royal College of Art in London. Finally, she had the conclusion to all her quests, with the opportunity to build around her initial vocation.
At the convergence of her art
Two years where everything will get clear. An event will first focus her attention. She will inherit the pearl necklace from her maternal grandmother. “I did not see her often, but I was very close to her, and I always remembered the few jewels she used to put on as they were almost part of herself.” She will have the sudden desire to explore the pearl, and even to see what it looks like from the inside. “As soon as I cut it off, I was dazzled and immediately wanted to make it a jewel to reveal all this beauty, and that it makes sense in a drawing.” At the end of the year, she will present an entire collection with cut pearls, which will surprise a lot of people. She was only 26 years old. Her work revealed an extraordinary talent for uniqueness, daring and freedom: 12 classic pearl necklaces were deconstructed and then reconstructed. One of her first pieces is a long necklace, held by silk knots, with a 12mm round pearl on the left “and then suddenly, I started to align pearl facets until the nucleus itself, with the size of a small marble.” Nobody had ever thought of doing this before. The young artist will also bring her personal touch by creating pieces that are worn differently. Necklaces with silver chains to carry the pearls in a trendy way. Or, pearls that fall in the back, or are worn as a tie or knotted around the neck. Since then, she will work as a free-lance designer launching her personal collections, while working full time for major brands. Melanie Georgacopoulos will join for 3 years, Antoine Sandoz in London, then she will travel the world with a Parisian agent, Valerie Demure; Her ideas and pieces will be exhibited everywhere from Paris to New York, and the talented designer will do a lot of hard work that will take her even to Las Vegas with the Rock Vault Association. “It was at this point in my life that I finally understood where all this was leading.” Feeling as in a dream, she will meet one day with Tasaki.
A successful collaboration with Tasaki
“I was so lucky; I was there at the right time, in the right place when I met this Japanese jewelry house in 2012.” She will go to Japan, the birthplace of the pearl, to construct a perfect alliance lauching the M/G Tasaki brand. The great jewelry house needed to be renewed, to stand out from its historical competitor, Mikimoto. And Melanie wanted to delegate manufacturing to fully invest in her creative ideas. “We had to find excellent craftsmen who knew how to do my pieces, because it needed a lot of meticulousness and a real know-how.” The artist likes to have a constant challenge to push the boundaries and get out of the box. “At first, we launched a collection with three-dimensional mother-of-pearl beads that was extremely difficult to make.” And so many more explorations will follow. With the international jewelry house, she will have the possibilities to create a global brand in fine fashion jewelry, with a high added-value. “Customers want to know the brand, its history, if it will still be there in 10 years, especially when the act of purchase is an important investment.” Melanie Georgacopoulos has already produced more than twenty collections, such as Arlequin, Asteroid, Cloud, Cubic Pearl, Stellar, with colored, cut, chained, associated, grouped pearls in exquisite jewels that are practical, timeless and contemporary.
Bursting with new ideas
Her wonder for the pearl never runs dry. Melanie has been studying this organic, precious stone for 12 years. “What fascinates me is that a pearl out of the water, is ready immediately, unlike the diamond that needs to be cut.” Since each pearl is unique from the inside, why do we have to align them in a classic necklace when we can reveal their unique beauty? Whether in her own collections or with Tasaki brand, her innovative and visionary approach of the pearl provides pieces of art that defies convention, bringing the pearl to the domains of art and high fashion. Moreover, Melanie Georgacopoulos does not like to be classified in any particular category, preferring to pursue all types of explorations around this jewel. Even costume jewelry interests her, because it allows young customers, to wear pearls at an early age.
Today, Melanie sets herself a new challenge: working on mother-of-pearl. “It is the cousin of the pearl, the same colors and such a beautiful iridescence! But at the same time, I will have to deal with a flat and friable material, not having a reputation of preciousness.” An endless fascination and adventure that goes on! She has already worked on the first prototypes, with four different colors: pink, white, yellow and peacock. The mother-of-pearl is even recomposed in the form of precious stones, to create classic forms such as diamond and emerald, leading us to rethink the true value of things. She would like also to integrate ceramics, a new form, as solid as diamonds. Here again, a huge potential in terms of colors and to give shape to amazing sculptural jewels.
In Melanie’s work, the paradoxical intriguing nature of the pearl is always respected. To respect is to look twice, beyond the material and our traditional conceptions. And her collections bring freshness in modern jewelry, with an aesthetic that remains simple, structured and timeless. Like her. Free, independent and always curious and authentic, she flourishes in her art as a pearl, between youthful purity and maturity, subtlety and perseverance.
Interview held by Carine Mouradian on January 18, 2018, in London
Link to the websites of Melanie Georgacopoulos