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Garaude Paris: Coloured gems are works of art

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Diamonds are no doubt the most coveted precious stones out there, and for good reason. They’re harder and more durable than any naturally occurring element on the plant, requiring another piece of diamond to cut it, and appeal so well to women around the world that they’ve been dubbed a woman’s best friend – tied only with the credit card.

But diamonds aren’t the only jewels that you should be concerned about, especially in the coming season which will no doubt be dominated by colour. Yup, while jewellery is mostly viewed as timeless heirlooms which can be worn whenever, they are also subject to trends and the mood of the times. And this Spring, with colour blocks and psychedelic pops, we want vertigo-inducing hues from our headpieces down to our necklaces.

In our search for the best coloured gemstone jewellers, we came across Garaude, a band of Parisian craftsmen founded by François Garaude whose innate passion for chromatic rocks has resulted in an artistic journey that spans three decades.

We recently spoke to François to learn more about his preference for coloured stones, their difference from diamonds, and how moving forward can happen by staying still.

You deal primarily with coloured stones. Why the fascination with these jewels?

We have been supplying Place Vendome High Jewellers for 30 years with top quality natural untreated coloured stones. This is our business, our knowledge, our expertise and our passion.

When it comes to jewellery, diamonds are the ultimate jewel to aspire to. What do coloured gems have that diamonds do not?

Coloured stones are art pieces, white diamonds are shares or treasury bonds. Diamonds shine and impress. Coloured stones represent a challenge to the senses, they request to take a risk. You have to be daring to feel the redness of red, you have to go in it, you cannot take it for granted.

Is there a different approach to creating beautiful jewellery with coloured stones than diamonds?

Design is design but diamonds enhance by shining, colour brings nuances and enlarge the spectrum of feelings. You need both to fullfill the senses

You’re quite the explorer. How important is travel and discovering new cultures important to honing a jeweller’s craft?

When I am in Burma, I go to Shwedagon Pagoda and I open my eyes, my ears, my nose. If I speedily run in Paris streets or lift my eyes into New York sky, I am importing my feeling into the creating process.

For that matter , answering your questions is also going forward. Every experience is a clarifying process. You call call it alchemy. Truly you do not need to move, it just happens.

How have your techniques and your jewellery evolved since the beginning of Garaude?

It changes moment to moment, every piece created teaches you what you missed and what you reached. Every time somebody looks, feels, comments, you go forward. We conceive the pieces, we draw them, we communicate with the goldsmith, the setter, the polisher, the engraver, back and forth. Sometimes we start all over again. How could we not learn from this process?

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