Jeweller to the bluebloods
These days most people believe a diamond lasts forever and crave to have this colourless gemstone. However, there is a French jeweller who comes from a Jurassien family involved in gemstone cutting and dealing for many generations whose greatest enthusiasm is saved for coloured stones.
The Jura Mountains, located north of the Western Alps, mainly follow the course of the French–Swiss border. By the 18th Century, the Swiss watch industry was undergoing significant growth causing ateliers to use a lot of gemstones for watch ornamentation. With local production unable to meet demand, Swiss watchmakers turned to the nearby French mountains of Jura.
By the early 20th Century, the Jura Mountains had become the homeland of the best gemstone cutters in the world, and it is this environment that Isabell’s grandfather began to run the family workshop from the age of fourteen. In just 20 years, his company was one of the ten largest gemstone cutters in Europe, with its clientele including Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, Mauboussin and Chaumet. Given the influence of the family business, Isabelle’s passion for jewellery design blossomed, with her spending most of her childhood in her grandfather’s workshop. At that time, the workers threw all the stones, like rubies they did not need, on the floor and these stones became the toys of the little girl.
“When Farah Diba, the Queen of Iran, had her second son, the king wanted to crown her empress. At that time, Van Cleef & Arpels made a big crazy crown for her. The stones on the crown were provided by my grandfather,” says Isabelle. “At that time I was ten, and my grandmother put all these stones in a bag and let us play a game sorting out these coloured stones. Thus at 12 years old I knew that this is what I wanted to do.”
The beginning of a passion that has never faltered…
Isabelle has an especial devotion to coloured stones. Coloured stone cutting is more difficult than diamonds as every coloured stone is different, she says. Isabelle acquired her knowledge of coloured stones from her family, each selected is precisely measured and calibrated, then cut or recut to perfection. “When the colours mix together, they are like a song. One enhances the other. If a piece combines deep ruby and light ruby it will be more interesting and enjoyable. ”
Thanks to the strong support of her family, Isabelle manages to acquire some amazing stones, which always inspire her to make amazing creations. “When I feel these beautiful sensations and emotions from the stones I really want to do something with them.”
In order to make her own style of jewellery, Isabelle founded her own jewellery Maison Isabelle Langlois Paris in 1998 off Place Vendôme in the very heart of the French Haute Joaillerie district. Here, this talented jeweller shares her love for jewellery and enthusiasm for life through her one-of-a-kind collection. Pleasure and colourful enjoyment is the concept behind the brand. Collections from Isabelle Langlois Paris recount a love of life, the power of femininity and glamour of the French spirit.
The brand only uses premium quality true colour gemstones which do not undergo surface diffusion or beryllium treatment and handcrafted by the finest goldsmiths for countless hours.
Panache Collection is Isabelle’s newest baby. Inspired by the 2,000-year old ancient Chinese art of Tian-tsui, which features the luminous blue feathers of kingfisher birds skillfully inlaid on fine art objects and adornment, the Panache Collection brings life and movement to precious coloured stones.
“I don’t want the feathers to look strait so I don’t glue them. I really want to showcase the vivid and natural wave of the bird,” she says.
One of the key items of this collection is a Panache Ring, paved with prasiolites, green tourmaline, péridots, tsavorites and diamonds on white gold and natural cockerel feathers.
“You can see the reflection on the feather.” She says. “I also want to reveal something relaxing. You can also spray some water on it and it will be restored after blowing.”
This collection is completed by a variety of coloured feathers mixed and matched with different vibrant gemstones, includes citrines, rhodolites, pink tourmalines, yellow sapphires, pink gold and natural pheasant feathers; prasiolites, green tourmaline, péridots, tsavorites, diamonds on white gold and natural cockerel feathers as well as lapis lazuli, turquoise, London blue topaz, tsavorites, diamonds on white gold and natural guinea fowl feathers.
During Isabelle’s creative life, a most memorable customer springs to mind: Michèle Jeanne Honorine Alliot-Marie, Former Minister for Defence of France. She was deeply touched by Madame Michèle’s purchase from her Emotion collection, saying: “She is a woman with a strong mind. I feel like my jewellery is beloved by very feminine women. She was attracted by the advertising of my jewellery, and bought a purple Emotion Panache Ring. It is very interesting.”
Emotion is the signature collection of Isabelle Langlois Paris
“God created flowers, but Man cut them to form bouquets, as handpicked flowers of myriad colours, various species and from all native regions of our Earth,” says Isabelle. “A wonderful gift but yet so fragile: the emotions conveyed by a bouquet, captured forever.”
A huge centre stone surrounded by an array of different sizes of coloured gemstones just like bouquets of flowers is the characteristic of Emotion. An Émotion Poire pendant paved with prehnite, roses de France, tsavorite garnets in white gold is the main character of the brand’s advertising.
“It might be new to Asian people [more] familiar with jade. But for Europeans it’s very weird to have a green gemstone. So it is very special,” says Isabelle.
Now, Isabelle’s work is exhibited in all major jewellery fairs around the world, and she is regarded as one of the most influential of French jewellery designers. What is even more exciting is that the first and only Asian boutique has just opened in The Parisian Macao.