Prestigious presence at the last “Mes Créateurs Joailliers” in Paris (18/21 Nov), Julie Genet is a French jeweler who draws on her fantastic world to develop her art with deep knowledge about gemology and a marvelous creative freedom… An interview that I was very honored to perform!
Report: Icaro Carlos.
What is Julie Genet’s favorite source of inspiration to create her jewels? Whats her favorite gems?
Legends, mythology, literature, cinema, fairy tales, cartoons, comic strips, nature, astronomy, and the Middle Ages inspire me… Each of my creations is a fairy being drawn from a fantastic world, where heroes live out of time and space. My jewellery is like a game that I play with!
For example, in my world, Barbe Bleue (main character of an old French tale by Charles Perrault written in 1697) is in love with Lucky Luce (female version of Lucky Luke). Ulysses (“The Iliad” and “The Odyssey”, Homer, 8th century before JC) flies a spaceship from planets to asteroids and lives on the dark side of the moon, close to Microvegas, kingdom of the powerful King of Spade who was turned by a bad spell into a frog.
I am particularly passionate about stones that have something to reveal. What I like the most are the exciting visual effects the laws of physics can produce in a stone, when light interacts with the structure of a gem. Like di or trichroic stones, or stones with chatoyancy, asterism, cat’s eyes and color change effects.
Are the jewels a mix of techniques like 3D with manufacturing or are they completely handmade?
I use different methods of making. Some jewels are totally handmade: I carve a wax mock up, and create the final piece with a lost wax casting. Or I can directly build the jewel myself by cutting, hammering, rolling, stretching, soldering, drilling, filling, polishing (…) some piece of gold.
Or I imagine the design, draw it, and hand make a wax, resin or silver 3D sketch to have an idea of the final shape. The jewel is then modelled and 3D printed in wax, and then lost wax casted in gold. This method allows me to design and build precise shapes but there is often a difference between what I saw on the screen and the model made from the file. I can spend hours making tiny changes in the file, and re-do several times the 3D print until I’m happy with the result.
Whatever the method, every jewel is finished on my workbench by myself.
The most important thing for me is to create what I have in my mind in the first place. I choose the most efficient but cheapest method to reach my goal. It doesn’t matter if it is “hand made” or “3D made”, I just want my jewellery to be “my own creation”.
How knowledge in gemology contributes to the creation of new pieces?
My knowledge in gemmology allows me to choose the best gem for the design I have in mind, and to understand all the technical rules to highlight it.
For instance, depending on its hardness, a stone will be set for a ring (hard stone) or for a necklace. For a “pavé” you can’t use great stones that are too small as they will lose their lustre and colour. Stones which refractive index are too different should not been combined, because one of them will appear shinier than the other.
Before knowing all these natural rules about stones, I could fall in love with a gem just because I found it beautiful. Today, I take into account all the physical and technical wonders that are linked to a specific stone.
What does Julie Genet Joaillerie think about the future of jewelry?
I think that tools and techniques will probably be more and more precise and efficient, allowing designers to be increasingly creative and innovative. Maybe we will use material that we don’t even know today. That’s what the future is about!! The most important thing is that all the people and companies involved in jewellery respect human dignity and mother earth.
I would like to know a little but more about Tanzanite ring published the book. The fact that the gem is trichroic did reflect on the design of the piece?
The fact that the gem is trichoic hasn’t shaped the design, but determined the choice of black diamonds instead of white diamonds, which would have probably been brighter than the tanzanite and would have hidden its original beauty. Black diamonds give a touch of mystery and make the various hues of the stones even more obvious and elegant.
And finally, the name, Barbe Bleue, was inspired by the different colours of the gem which depend on the light and the way we look at it… The same as for Barbe Bleue character!