Another exciting encounter during my SIJE2015 experience, was meeting the outstanding designer Paolo Costagli in person. It was a delight to see the incredible pieces that are made under his name brand Paolo Costagli. The brand’s main house is located in New York and the pieces are showcased through his atelier on Madison Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman and select independent boutiques. I managed to ask few questions from Paolo himself, read below to get a better image of the designer behind the brand:
CG: Paolo, it is a great pleasure to meeting you in person! Let’s start with a bit of background on how did you get involved in jewellery industry and design in particular?
PC: My passion for gemstones first emerged during frequent visits to the famous Ponte Vecchio in my hometown, Florence, where my mother would take me frequently during my childhood to admire the jewels and gemstones displayed in the shop windows. When I was 21 years old, I left Florence against my parents’ wishes and studied Gemology at the Gemological Institute of America, which was at that time in Santa Monica, California. In following years, I worked with and collected many stones, but didn’t start designing my own collection until I moved to New York City in 1991.
CG: When did you establish Paolo Costagli? What was the inspiration behind that?
PC: Paolo Costagli New York was established in 1993. The inspiration behind the designs in my early days, and still today, are the materials and gemstones themselves. I am a gemologist at heart, and my intention is to create a jewel that will showcase the natural beauty of the gemstone or precious metal that has inspired the design in the first place.
CG: Given you are based in New York, how much art and fashion are influential on your unique designs?
PC: I appreciate art very much and end up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art at least once or twice a month. I just can’t stay away… Each visit is a lesson of proportions, shapes and beauty.
CG: What is the process of making one piece from sketch to finish and how much time do you spend on creating each?
PC: I actually do very little sketching, but instead see the final piece in my mind first and work backwards to realize my vision. It is an unconventional design process, but it comes naturally to me. Of course, we incorporate modern technology into this process, but the root of our design is my initial vision.
CG: I have noticed that you use coloured gemstones in your designs as the main feature, what is your favourite gemstone?
PC: I can’t pick one favorite gemstone… it’s like asking a parent who is their favorite child!
CG: Do you hand select the gems? What sort of standards do you have when selecting a gemstone for a specific piece?
PC: I do hand select the gemstones used in our collection. The standards vary with the material. For example, with diamonds, we look for old mine material in unusual shapes and cuts that I find more interesting and unusual than many modern cuts. With colored gemstones, I very much prefer a stone with no window, intense color and antique shape. But, I have been known to fall in love with gems of all kinds…
CG: As you know, I have a particular fascination for diamonds; please share with our readers about the most exquisite diamond you have come across with through your career? PC: The most exquisite diamond I have come across is actually currently in our collection and has been featured in your work! It is our 3.34 carat moval “Golconda” diamond (a cross between a marquise and oval cut). In addition to being colorless and internally flawless (D, IF), it is also certified by GIA to be type IIA “Golconda”. As the story is told, the Maharajas in India would describe “Golconda” diamonds as having a mix of fire and ice, and it is so true in this diamond. Mesmerizing… The mounting is a love knot to complement a jewel that will represent the purest love possible.
CG: When should we expecting the new collection of Paolo Costagli, and give us a hint of what theme we should anticipate?
PC: We are continuously making new jewels and designs in our Bespoke collection which are revealed daily on our Instagram page, website and email newsletter. The next complete collection is to be revealed soon and is named for my first love in Florence… I hope that’s enough of a hint to get you thinking!
Thank you again Paolo for your time, wishing you all the best and looking forward to the launch of your new collection.
You can visit www.paolocostagli.com for more information.