Author(s): Juliet Weir-de La Rochefoucauld
Parisian jeweller Lydia Courteille has been making a very special name for herself over the past thirty years; with her avant-garde and unusual jewellery designs, she has been keeping the Place Vendome Jewellery Houses on their toes. She is always two to three steps ahead of the fashion world and her inventiveness and daring in the world of high jewellery is legendary. Taking her inspiration from cultural landmarks in France and from numerous historical and literary sources including film, she has combined her love of unusual gemstones with colour combinations that speak to the senses: her chlorophyll green in the Amazonia collection, the sunny bright vitamin C oranges of her Xochimilco collection and the azure blues in the Abysse collection all tease our imagination. Famous for her memento mori and vanity rings, she combines symbols of faith with reminders of mortality to create a juxtaposition of meanings for the wearer to ponder upon. Never macabre and always witty, her edgy jewels recount the tales and the cultural differences from every part of the globe.She deliberately combines symbols to create a duality in her jewels, such as the sickle and hammer of the Soviet period with the ultra femininity of eighteenth century jewellery design imposing contrast and debate in her Scarlet Empress collection.
To see, to touch and to wear Courteille's jewels is to travel to rarely visited spots in the world, from the sulphurous volcanic landscape of the Danakil desert to the remote tribes of the Omo Valley and the Bontoc people of the Philippines. Her jewels have a presence, a femininity, designed by a woman, they demand respect; they are for strong, confident, women.
A Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem A), Juliet Weir-de La Rochefoucauld began her career at Sotheby's & Co., London. Based in France, she is also the author of ISBN 9781851497294 (Antique Collectors' Club, 2013). Juliet's great-grandfather, Thomas Weir, founded the jewellers Weir & Sons in Dublin in 1869, a company that is still run by members of the family.