“Truth arises when we return to the essence. In my trade, it is practice that enables to master the codes and only then, you can learn to create. I was taught my handcraft work in a very classical and artisanal way, using old metals files and saw carriers, and that provides a great result, both in design and manufacture, that has nothing to do with industrial products. It also took me ten years at least to be a good hand and start realizing all the ideas I had. My personal expression was able to flourish in time because I always had a heart set on working other materials than the minerals and crystals alone. I wanted to introduce unused items, which have no value, while they can find their full place in a jewelery set. It is so wrong to think that jewelery is only selling objects that are very expensive: precious diamonds and gem stones, while fragments of rust are an incredible source of creation. They have this unique and powerful wild beauty, with their rough appearance and they are also solid and light materials. It is a pleasure for me to associate them in contrast to precious stones and precisely, to bring together the precious and the altered, the desired and the neglected like diamond and rust. For me, aesthetics counts as much as in a work of art. For a photographer for example, it is not the paper that has value, it is the choice of his photo. For a painter or a sculptor, it is the same thing. And so that this representation in the As well as the work itself, the object must have artistic value. I am so disappointed, even shocked, when one chooses today a jewel, no longer for its aestheticism, not even for its value, but for a jewelery brand that displays its logo everywhere. And what about the hegemony of industrial brands that have taken such a place in this market when neither the materials nor the work has any value. It is so sad because the purchase is only to offer or wear the brand.
It is very difficult to speak of this aesthetic value today, because it is out of fashion. If we go back on history; first, in Art Nouveau, René Lalique has transposed the art of the moment out of Japanese style. Then abstraction arrived in Art Deco leaving the representational art to get geometric shapes but still clearly framed. It was only after the war that Design Art finally brought a great freedom of expression. My father was the pioneer of this contemporary jewel, coming up with the idea of creating new aesthetic forms, whether design, baroque or asymmetrical. The tendency today is to emphasize the speech behind the work, the story to tell even if it is a bit trash. Of course, I know how to do this, but I’m still attached to the aesthetical value of a jewel because it gives meaning to the artistic creation. And I want to remain myself in my work, more than to be fashionable. When I have an inspiration, when a perception or an object appeals to me, I express this with new abstract forms that are beautiful in themselves.
Being authentic is also accepting and showing its difference in its art. I am very lucky to have learned jewelery and worked with my father Jean Vendome, who always wanted to think out of the box. I am atypical in my job too because I like to innovate. In jewelery, some houses still remain, to my sense, too academic, in a trend I call “conservative”, inspired by the “French taste” spirit that can be found in the 18th century style. I could give as an example the ring called daisy, where a pretty stone set with claws is surrounded in perfect symmetry by smaller diamonds … For my part, I consider a jewel like a sculpture carried on a body; It must therefore bring something unique, beyond a simple adornment. Life is made of mixture and juxtaposition and I reveal it in my creations with stones, shapes and styles that all oppose getting together. It is therefore important to be always sincere. This is also why I create modern jewelries inspired by our times. I ingest everything: the architecture, the automobile and the music I listen to, and I show them up in jewelry. That’s why, I consider myself as a creator of my time.
We must also listen to the clients’ needs regarding the evolution of our society. There is a big problem today in my profession, which is burglary; Customers want jewelry that they can wear right away, without calling the attention and without ostentation. They have a real phobia to wear jewelry, and this is damaging to our trade. So, we have to innovate and do things differently. Again, a jewelery set has an artistic force in itself and not only by the stones that are on it. So I started creating pieces with barbed wire, metal or black gold, mixed with black rhodium. This is not very precious and at the same time, it brings great aesthetic pieces that correspond to their style. There is also an evolution in the relationship to family jewels. Before, they were kept and transmitted as a dowry, because the value was not to carry them but to possess them in case of lack of money. Today, customers want to have them personalized and wearable. Therefore, they are looking for tailor-made pieces with a story to tell. I recover their fragments of jewelry and I do something else. Often, pieces that are more sober, more design and more raw.
In conclusion, my work is enjoyable once making jewels becomes a pleasure. And one becomes more and more himself when executing all the wonderful ideas he has in mind. It is the magic of my job! It is so rare to be able at once to market an idea between a notebook, this workshop behind and the shop window in front, then to see the happiness of people before me. And I’m very proud of each of my pieces when they are worn and my clients become ambassadors with my jewels travelling all over the world. In short, according to me, I consider my life is very linear because it is continuity for me to work the jewels, as to be the son of a jeweler.”
Interview with Carine Mouradian, on April 5, 2017 in Paris.