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MEETING WITH AN ARTIST (episode 3) : Isabelle Langlois, the jeweler of color

MEETING WITH AN ARTIST (episode 3) : Isabelle Langlois, the jeweler of color

Daughter and granddaughter of lapidaries, Isabelle Langlois has been fascinated since childhood by the beauty of nature. She has chosen to sublimate it throughout her career by giving birth to jewels of character that are an ode to life. As a jewelry designer, she offers us her artistic vision and looks at the universe of her House (founded in 1992) as well as her instinctive attachment to color, an essential element of jewelry and the emotion it brings us.



What does jewelry mean to you?

First of all, it is the link with my grandfather and the strong family culture in which I grew up. Secondly, it is a wonderful world of expression and a subject to share. Jewelry is the support of emotion, aesthetics and preciousness. It takes on a positive aspect when it has been worn by someone and especially when it is received from its mother, grandmother or history. As far as I’m concerned, jewelry is above all affective at all levels.


© Isabelle Langlois


How do you choose your combinations of colors and materials to create emotions?
Can any mixture be a carrier of sensations when the right harmony is found ?

Anything is possible when it comes to harmony. The colors have to sing together and I know which ones sing harmoniously. However, some compositions can always surprise us. A brown and a duck blue can be a little hard but well composed they give a very beautiful mixture. It is necessary to have a balance between the power of the color and the surface attributed to it, especially when several colors are mixed together. For example, ruby is the most difficult stone to marry and if it is very large it becomes very delicate to match with other colors. Purple is the hue that best matches this red. But on the other hand, taking you an extreme example, ruby with London Blue topaz is a real challenge… which of course I take up! But for the moment, I haven’t yet found the perfect solution.


What would be the differences in your approach to jewelry, color, stones or creation between when you started and now ?

What I am going to answer will surprise you: I manage to concretize today what I wanted to realize 20 years ago. I have the happiness to see in the shop window jewels that I imagined years before and that I could not manage to obtain.


© Isabelle Langlois


And it is the experience that now allows you to get them?

It’s a form of tenacity in trusting our imagination. In this respect, there is someone extraordinary, a true master: Joël Rosenthal. Like a great scientist such as Einstein who was already aware of the result before having demonstrated it, in jewelry also the human mind is capable of imagining a rendering before having found the adequate solution. I am not comparing myself to Einstein but I had already imagined what I wanted and it took me a little time to get there. I also had to prove to everyone that my ideas were also of interest to other people. And sharing is important.


Do you have a new project? A new collection in preparation?

My new challenge is the creation of jewelry for men. I can see that men, especially young men, wear real jewelry with stones. I intend to break away from the very feminine style that characterizes me and go for deep colors, like dark and dense sapphires, mixed with some bright and sparkling gems like garnets. I am also thinking of a whole gradation of diamonds, from white to black. But above all sapphires: from dark to light sapphires, through all shades. I also see masculine shapes, geometric lines, a pure and raw rendering. I was going to call this collection “MAN” and then I decided to go all the way and call it “MEC”.


On the occasion of a stay in Bali was born your Batik collection, paying tribute to Balinese women and their art of living. Are cultures often a source of inspiration for you? If so, what are you trying to translate them into your collections?

I was very young when I went to Bali and I was shocked by these fabrics and Balinese women, all their colors suggesting vegetation and flowers with an incredible grace and so human at the same time. Other cultures are indeed a great source of inspiration, as with Indian jewelry. You can’t make more jewelry than India, which transforms any element into a wonderful multicolored gem. But I am not open to all cultures. Only those that make the color speak find an echo in me.


© Pendant from the Batik collection, Isabelle Langlois


See Also

Your jewels are indeed colorful, original, even unusual. They express a character, a bias. By a subtle mixture of concrete and abstract, you represent with delicacy a whole world as with your Etoile de Mer collection. The jeweler designer must breathe his soul and character into a jewel so as not to sanitize it. But he must also leave room for the buyer and his imagination so that the latter can make it his own. In a creation, how does one find the perfect balance between difference and universality, between originality and translatability?

When someone comes to choose one of my jewels, he is already attracted by my universe. His emotion echoes mine: he connects to my idea. No one will find in my collections a jewel without emotion. Because of my style indeed but also because of the colored stones which are an exceptional emotional refuge. These last ten years have proved it to us, they are undeniably the best investment to make. So at my place, you have to have a favorite, that’s for sure.


Elizabeth Taylor said, “I never thought of my jewelry as trophies. I’m here to take care of them and love them, because we are only temporary guardians of beauty. “Beauty fades but the jewels remain. Just like other artistic creations that capture hearts with their aura century after century and tell the story of an era. In one or more centuries, what will the Isabelle Langlois jewels of our time and your testimony to the world reveal?

It is an enormous ambition that has not completely escaped me. Many of my friends are richer than I am, but I taunt them by telling them that in 100 years I will have left my little mark on the world – my revenge! I hope, I am even convinced that in a century there will be at least one woman who will love one of the jewels I made. I am sure of it.


I do not doubt it because the older a jewel is, the more valuable it is. It is the witness of the world. This year we are celebrating 100 years of Art Deco and it is undeniable that at the present time they are still desired. Not only those who take the style are sought after, but especially those who date from this period.

Absolutely! The very first collection I made was called Charlemagne. It was born thanks to a jewel that fascinated me since childhood: a crown of Charlemagne with colored stones and mixed pearls, without any diamonds. A great contrast with the diamonds of the crown of England that we saw everywhere. Antique jewels mark us irrefutably. On my side, as you have understood, the most colorful ones fascinate me.


Why do you think colors are so crucial?

I think that the best demonstration of the essential character of color is flowers. They are the source of life and the plant world. They are the colorful flowers that we love so much. This is what nature has chosen as a mode of attraction. How could we not be attracted by them? I was reading an article about the parts of the brain that are excited by the sight of colors. It explained that children’s vision of pink brings them a feeling of happiness and peace. It is obvious that each person has his or her favorite colors. We can therefore think that my mind is excited by an orange pink, my favorite shade. And each can have a different resonance. But it is certain that colors have a neurological impact in the development of our well-being. The emotions they bring to us have an existence manifest physical.