Marie-Hélène de Taillac’s book Gold and Gems celebrates her 20-year-long journey
Enter the rainbow-coloured world of the French jewellery designer
Marie-Hélène de Taillac has revolutionised jewellery-making. Over two decades, she has used Eastern artisanal techniques to let the vibrancy of gem stones take centre stage. The French jewellery designer has travelled far and wide, from the glamorous by lanes of Paris to the age-old palaces of Jaipur. In an interview, she tells ELLE India all about her new book, Gold and Gems (realised over three years), how Jaipur’s Gem Palace inspired her and why the future of luxury should be ethical. Excerpts from the interview:
ELLE: Putting two decades of your brand on paper must be nostalgic. Take us through the highlights.
MHT: Twenty years went by fast, but I am not nostalgic. The book is in chronological order of my designs and shows the continuity of my creative process and recurrent obsessions. I cannot highlight some pieces, as they are part of the same process. I wanted to share my passion for stones, gold and handmade jewels.
ELLE: How has working in Paris, London and India influenced your brand?
MHT: Paris for its chicness; London for its creativity; and India for the colours, architecture and knowhow.
ELLE: What was the creative process behind the monograph?
MHT: I was contacted by Rizzoli. I wanted to show Eric Deroo’s pictures; he has has photographed my jewels for 20 years and sees the stones as I do. We composed over 350 pages and selected 224 out of them.
ELLE: One thing you want the readers to take away from the book?
MHT: The beauty of stones and the magic of colours; I also want to inspire them to follow their passion and dreams.
ELLE: How did your tour to Asia shape your sensibilities?
MHT: I am fascinated by craftsmanship. I travelled in Asia to see the beautiful traditions of handwork; I fell in love with the quality of stone cutting and gold crafting at the Gem Palace in Jaipur. Japan’s minimalism and attention to detail also inspired me.
ELLE: Where do you take design inspiration from?
MHT: From the stones I find and the beauty of nature.
ELLE: Why did you choose India for your atelier?
MHT: Everything is possible in India; it’s where all my dreams come true.
ELLE: How do you strike a balance between your Parisian and Indian sensibilities?
MHT: India keeps me on my toes, reminds me of my priorities and the privilege of my independence. I live in Paris where my family is; it seems bland after India but I am always struck but its beauty. I am an equilibrist in all aspects of my life: love, family, work and travels.
ELLE: How do you envision the next decade of Marie-Hélène de Taillac?
MHT: I want to make it as meaningful as possible. The future of luxury business is ethical for both, humans and the environment.
ELLE: How would you describe the relationship you share with gemstones?
MHT: Munnu Kasliwal, with whom I worked for 13 years, taught me to choose what (stone) speaks to me. I never forget a stone when I see it.
ELLE: One piece of jewellery that has a special place in your heart?
MHT: My Renaissance Parrot earrings; birds are messengers from beyond and these earrings make me think of beloved people.