Instead of words, it’s “lines and shapes” that are Fernando Jorge’s preferred means of communication. Raised near São Paolo, he turned his attention to expressing himself with drawing and product design until an internship at a jewelry workshop provoked “immediate fascination.” After several jewelry jobs in his native Brazil a move to England to study at prestigious arts and design institution Central Saint Martins was a watershed moment in the course of his creative journey. He “learned to see design not as a job but as research and inspiration,” he explains. And London itself, a crossroads of global cultures, served as an important influence that gave him a new perspective on his work. He established his namesake collection there in 2010. In an abundantly successful career, Brilliant, his first collection focused entirely on diamonds was his best received yet. “It’s undeniable,” says Jorge, “diamonds really elevate a design.”
How did you approach your first collection centered on diamonds?
I focused on the brilliant cut. The brilliant cut itself became an inspiration for me, exploring the perfect circle and how it flows around the body. There’s always a graduation in the stones. Nothing starts or end abruptly. Both the ring and earring flow along the shapes of the body. There are moments when there’s a concentrated placement of diamonds and light, and places where they’re spaced out more. I wanted to give each diamond room to shine. And it was important to leave space for skin to show through. Looking at my sketches I feared they were too simple. But I let the diamonds to do the work. The diamonds do the job of captivating you.
Did you draw on any specific historical or style references to design the collection?
It wasn’t about a specific place or time. I was thinking about light refraction, a disco ball, the archetypical ideas of shine, sparkle, luminescence and optical illusions.
Do you have tips on how to style the jewels?
I don’t want to tell someone what to do with the pieces. But because diamonds add light and sparkle rather than color or other qualities, you don’t have to wear them with a black dress. You can wear the jewels with color, you can wear them with a print or a t-shirt. They’re a statement but they’re neutral enough to be a day pieces.
How does your reverence for nature influence your work?
I’m very much about natural beauty and enhancing natural beauty. My designs are made more powerful by connecting to the romance of materials that already exist in the world, materials that are found, amplified and refreshed by humans. It is the reason I am attracted to natural diamonds. They’re the purest, hardest and most light refractive material in nature and have endured the most extreme conditions. Everything about diamonds fascinates me.
Most of your designs were created for women. Do you ever wear diamonds yourself?
After designing for ten years I did a collection for men using light brown diamonds in beige gold. It actually took a genderless approach. I challenged myself to design a piece of diamond jewelry that I would wear. I have a pair of serpentine cufflinks with brown diamonds. If I have a special event I’ll wear those.