It’s where ideas begin to become realities. It’s where the natural diamond jewels worn on the red carpet started to sparkle in a pencil sketch. It’s where symbolic diamond designs are first given shape. It’s where diamond engagement rings are initially laid out.
A jewelry designer’s desk is a place where you can find sources of inspiration, collaborations in process as well as tools of the trade and personal passions. Eva Fehren, Lauren Harwell Godfrey and Fernando Jorge, three jewelry design super talents allowed us to get a glimpse of where they work and the details of their process.
Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez and Florence Pugh are just a few of the countless women of style who have worn statement diamond jewels by Fernando Jorge since he established his label 11 years ago. Recently in a move that signaled his rise to the top, the designer relocated his studio-showroom from East London to the Mayfair neighborhood.
While the Brazilian-born designer is now situated in the posh jewelry center of the city, the soulful approach he has infused into his collection from the beginning has remained the same. It’s an artistry and individuality that can be seen in the objects on his desk.
“I bought my vintage mid-20th century Brazilian rosewood desk when I had my first big office space in London. I’ve learned when you invest in a quality piece it keeps giving back and this desk is an example of that.”
White Sketching Paper
[The white paper FJ is sketching on] “I use very simple white paper to sketch on. I feel anything fancy would inhibit me from working freely.”
White Organic Object
“I always have inspirational little objects floating around my desk like this small Gogotte which is a white mineral from France.”
Pencils and Pencil Case
“My grandparents used to give me Caran d’Ache pencils when I was a child and I still get my pencils from the company. The white and yellow pencils are always the shortest now because I use them for diamonds and gold which is in everything I sketch. The traveling pencil case goes with me everywhere.”
Terracotta Pencil Tray
“The terracotta pencil tray is by Tino Seubert who designed the travelling cases we used at NOMAD St. Moritz and Capri. It is one of the objects of affection I like to have surrounding me.”
Jewels on Display
“The jewels on my desk are a reference so I can riff on things I have done. They are displayed on blocks of solid oak in a honey-gold tone with green suede designed for me by André Mellone. We use them in the showroom and stores.”
“The green notebook by Métier was a gift from the designer and founder Melissa Morris. We are in the process of a collaboration.”
“I scan my sketches and edit my collection on the iPad.”
Lauren Harwell Godfrey
Photo by Bess Friday
Photo by Bess Friday
In just five years, Lauren Harwell Godfrey has become a luminary in the jewelry world with her joyful creations. Any number of bold-faced names have sported her singular designs including Vice President Kamala Harris, Blake Lively, and artist Ashley Longshore. Unlike most well-known designers Lauren doesn’t work in a big city. Her studio-showroom is located just about 20 minutes north of San Francisco in the idyllic town of Corte Madera.
“My studio used to be my friend’s brow shop,” explains Lauren. “When she moved out, I moved in.” Lauren worked with interior designer Noz Nozawa to create a décor reflecting her interest in the African Diaspora that plays such a central source of inspiration in her work. One thing missing from the space is a conventional desk. Lauren admitted, “I’m not a desk person.” Instead, she floats around from the couch to a countertop with a bar stool as she works out her jewelry collections.
“I design in an app called Sketchbook on the iPad. It’s the same app the famous Nike sneaker designer Tinker Hatfield uses. Any pen or pencil style works in the app which gives me a lot of flexibility.”
[On the jewelry tray] “When I am sketching, I look at a lot of different things like loose stones and jewels I have made in the past.”
Leena Similu Vase
“Noz sourced the vase by Los Angeles based ceramic artist Leena Similu who is West African. The design has the spirit of a West African Mask and echoes the masks on my wall.”
“A lot of the furniture in the studio I pilfered from my home including the mid-century safari chairs by Arne Norell.”
“The rug came from a trip to Morocco. I bought so many things they had to be shipped back in a big crate.”
Photo by Vincenzo Dimino
From day one when she established her label 12 years ago, Eva Fehren has had a very precise and disciplined approach to the way she creates her collection. It’s inspired by the lines and geometries of her native New York City where she still lives and works. The approach not only covers the silhouette of her jewels but also the shapes of many of the diamonds in her singular engagement ring collection. Eva’s palette includes lots of classic Gotham blackened gold as well as yellow and rose gold.
“The only use of color in my collection is neon,” explains Eva. “Maybe that comes from growing up in the 1980s otherwise pretty much everything is black and white even my office supplies and jewelry tools.”
“I work on a big black and white Carrera marble table. I don’t call it a desk because a desk feels executive to me. I think of my office as a studio and my desk as a table where I can think out loud.”
Round Stone Containers
“I like to have diamonds around me so, I can sketch up ideas if inspiration hits. The round little stone holders have a piece of fabric in them that keeps the diamonds in place. I have a fetishy attachment about how they are lined up.”
“I use the tweezers to hold up stones and study their shapes. You can’t do that with your hands because these gems are too small weighing about a half a carat.”
White Jewelry Box with Rings
“I was working on creating engagement rings so one of my jewelry boxes with engagement rings is sitting next to the stones.”
“I am a little bit of a stone hoarder. I buy things that inspire me when I see them, like a super long baguette, not knowing what I am going to do with it. Other stones I purchase to fit into pre-existing designs in the collection.”