Jewelry designer Emmanuel Tarpin has always been inspired by nature. Known for his abstract take on flora and fauna and expert incorporation of natural diamonds, it was only a matter of time before Tarpin looked to the sea for his next big design project. Teaming up with Coral Gardeners to do so was just the cherry on top.
“I’ve never worked on pieces inspired by the ocean,” Tarpin exclusively tells OND. “And with nature as my inspiration, I know how important it is to preserve it.” Enter: Coral Gardeners, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that works to grow and replant coral in French Polynesia.
“I heard about Coral Gardeners a few years ago during a dive,” says Tarpin, an avid scuba diver. “Step by step I got more involved in their work and understood how amazing their work was.” Eventually, he decided to travel halfway around the world to Mo’orea, Tahiti’s smaller sister island, to meet the Coral Gardeners team.
“They showed me how they work, how they plant coral in the nurseries,” he shares. “They explained to me how they kept the coral to make it grow again and then replant it in nature.” Tarpin was amazed by how young the team was and was excited to see the next generation working to help make a difference. “It’s really different because of the island way of mind,” Tarpin says with a laugh. “It’s really fun, I felt like I was 16!”
To date, Coral Gardeners have planted over 24,500 corals with a goal of planting 1 million corals all around the globe by 2025. Their aim is to recreate the foundation of coral reefs, one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet.
After diving with the whales and manta rays of French Polynesia, Tarpin set his sights on jellyfish as the first subject in this project. “I remember the first time I was stung by a jellyfish. I felt the pain of course but I was also mesmerized by the beauty of this animal,” he recalls. “It’s movement, transparency, and natural elegance.”
The jellyfish’s movement and transparency are exactly what he captured in the stunning brooch with his signature contrasting texture. “So there is the matte, the shiny effects of the rock crystal, and the sparkle of the diamonds” he explains. “I wanted something very light so I used titanium with the diamonds.”
“It’s something we normally don’t see in jewelry because it’s uncanny looking,” Tarpin says of the jellyfish motif. “But it’s mesmerizing because of its elegant movements.”
Using natural diamonds in this design was a non-starter for Tarpin. “My passion for jewelry started because of my passion for gemology,” he explains. “When I was a kid living in the French alps, every weekend my dad and I would go hike to look at some gemstones in the mountain.”
“I love the idea that each diamond is precious and unique,” he shares. “That’s my vision of jewelry.”
Stay tuned for more incredible ocean-inspired pieces to come from the Emmanuel Tarpin jewelry collaboration with Coral Gardeners!