Transforming the treasures of the sea into haute joaillerie
November 30, 2004
Whoever said ‘you can’t improve on nature’ hasn’t seen Madonna Thierry’s creations.
The Lebanese jewelry designer draws her inspiration from the changing colors of the ocean and the treasures contained within it to create elegant, personalized items of jewelry.
Many of the pieces in her four-year-old boutique in Beirut’s downtown are combinations of pearls, mother of pearl and coral with precious stones and white and yellow gold.
Some items – such as a sleek necklace with a large white pearl pendant and matching pearl earrings – are of a minimalist nature; intended to highlight the majestic, natural beauty of the pearls. Others, however, are more extravagant and colorful; like a Tahitian mother of pearl necklace and earrings cut into the shape of butterflies or flowers. Precious stones of various colors or pieces of coral are embedded into the surface of the mother of pearl.
Thierry also has classical, almost baroque, pieces combining yellow gold with freshwater pearls and colored gemstones of a breathtaking size.
“I find that colored gemstones fit nicely with the mother of pearl,” Thierry said, adding that because the color of the base material appears to change constantly, she has a wide range of colored gemstones to choose from to complement the mother of pearl.
But her fondness for using colored gemstones is not restricted to marrying it to mother of pearl. She has also worked white gold and emeralds into branches and leaves, and combined sapphires and yellow gold.
Her latest collection, which is still in preparation, utilizes the timeless combination of white gold and white diamonds “but with very different designs,” she said. In addition, Thierry is working on a jewelry line for teenagers, called Be Mad.
The New York design student also recently returned to Manhattan as one of only nine designers from around the world chosen to participate in the JA New York Summer Show.
Thierry studied architecture, interior design and jewelry design at the renowned Parsons School of design in New York – and each of these talents is clearly manifested in her sophisticated boutique. A Roman relief and mosaics adorn the walls of the elegantly understated showroom. “I wanted to transfer the heritage of Beirut into the interior of the shop,” she said.
The Roman relief displays a row of fish – reflecting Thierry’s very first collection in her downtown boutique which consisted of items of jewelry that resembled fish. “The fish is the symbol of abundance, peace and luck,” she said.
Like all good items of art or fashion, the designer’s creations are unique and tailor-made for each client. “I need to know the woman for whom I create the piece,” she said.
This attention to detail and personalized service was developed early in her career. In fact, when Thierry launched her self-named jewelry line in 1987, her first items were for her female friends.
In addition to being one-of-a-kind creations, Thierry’s jewelry is also intended to be versatile. “Nowadays women tend to buy only a few pieces of jewelry,” she explained, “and hence each piece has to be versatile enough to wear on jeans or an evening dress.”
In other words, jewelry that is unique, elegant and can multi-task – just like the designer.