St├ęphanie Porsain

“Could you describe your creative process when designing a new piece of jewelry? How do you draw inspiration and translate it into your creations?

Our creative process invariably starts with a meeting with our client. This meeting is essential to pinpoint their preferences based on their personality and lifestyle. For instance, an athlete would require a different type of jewelry than someone wearing it for an evening event. It’s an exchange with a lot of psychology involved. Clients share their lives, occasionally revealing personal details, to provide us with ample elements to cater to their expectations. We emphasize symbols that they wish to incorporate into their jewelry in a subjective manner. Dates, numbers, and initials are often subtly integrated into the design. I remember crafting a wedding band that featured the spouses’ initials in one direction and their children’s initials in the other. There’s often a great deal of emotion involved, particularly when we’re transforming family heirlooms that hold deep sentimental value. It’s truly an honor for us to intersect with our clients’ life journey and collaborate with them. A piece of jewelry frequently marks a milestone or symbolizes something, allowing us to share a part of their history. I recall a client telling me that her husband had been seen crying only twice in his life – on their wedding day and when he saw the ring we had crafted for him. It’s in these moments that our pride and the passion that drives us are revealed. This initial meeting helps us to formulate an idea, with a design that can lead to a manual sketch. This is followed by providing a quote, crafting at the workshop, and finally revealing the piece to our client.

Inspiration primarily arises from the distinct character traits of our clients. In terms of lines and forms, architecture often provides inspiration. We look for lines that resonate with the individual and incorporate symbolic elements.

In the realm of jewelry, attention to detail is crucial. Could you share an example of a complex piece of jewelry you’ve crafted and the specific techniques you employed?

A highly technical creation we undertook in collaboration with Jean-Luc TAUZIEDE was a playable bow. The first we crafted was for a cello, followed by one for a violin. Through these two pieces, we introduced traditional jewelry into the realm of conventional instruments. Bows require precise measurements and weights, which we meticulously maintained. Normally crafted from ebony, mother-of-pearl, or tortoiseshell, our creations were in gold, which is denser. We had to carefully consider the weight and dimensions since a single gram’s difference is perceptible; everything had to be well-balanced. The innovation we introduced was a 18k fair gold frog (sourced from a controlled supply chain, adhering to ethical and environmental conditions) adorned with 68 diamonds. Traditionally, frogs are made from ebony, mother-of-pearl, or shell. Inside the frog, an ebony piece was created to house the securing of the horsehair. The latter was attached through adjustment and pinning. The button, in the shape of a crown, is made of rose gold with an ebony core, housing the tension screw for the bow. With this piece, we aimed to create a bow that was as exceptional to play as it was to admire.

Collaboration often plays a significant role in the jewelry industry, whether it’s working with clients on custom pieces or collaborating with fellow artisans. Could you discuss a memorable collaboration you’ve been a part of and how it influenced the final outcome of the jewelry you create?

Our encounter with Olivier COMBET JOLY, a bonsai artist, led to the creation of a botanical ring. Experiments were conducted to cultivate a miniature bonsai within a ring. Initially crafted in silver, the ring oxidized when watered, leading us to recreate it in gold. The objective of this ring was to experiment and create something unique, almost for amusement. The bonsai genuinely thrived when cared for and watered. This creation generated significant attention, garnering press coverage and sparking curiosity among journalists. We were featured on France 2 and France 3, among other media outlets. The botanical ring was conceived almost 15 years ago, and it still generates interest today.

Developing distinctive watches requires a profound understanding of both horology and design. How do you plan to balance the technical aspects of horology with creative elements to ensure that your timepieces are not only aesthetically appealing but also accurate and reliable?

The technical aspects of horology are brought in through our collaboration with our watchmaker, Michel. His expertise is invaluable in crafting precise, high-quality pieces. Our jeweler’s perspective adds a certain freshness to the design, a different outlook. We think differently from a watchmaker. It’s essential for us to collaborate with a watchmaker to bring our watch to fruition, as well as an engineer. We enjoy creating things that aren’t readily seen, as recreating something that already exists doesn’t interest us. We’ve innovated without compromising on the product.

Watch enthusiasts often appreciate the stories behind unique timepieces. Can you provide insight into the narrative or theme you intend to infuse into your watch designs and how this storytelling will set you apart in the competitive watch market?

The story of this watch was born from a family memory shared between Florent, my partner, and his grandfather, who wore his watch in a particular way. We began with this idea, and a common narrative emerged between Florent, his grandfather, my grandmother, and myself. This is a watch suitable for all life situations, allowing you to tell the time at a glance. Each element of our watch is distinct; no other watch on the market combines them all. This is where we distinguish ourselves.”