Oh, Sao Paulo, you never fail to amaze me! During my latest trip to Brazil I was lucky to discover the world of Brazilian stones jewelry and sculptural designs of Carol Kauffmann in her Sao Paulo atelier. Overlooking the Itaim, the head-in-the-clouds work space of this Brazilian jewellery designer is filled with light and sparkle!

Carol Kauffmann is a famous Brazilian jewelry artist and one of the most prominent names in the Brazilian fine jewelry scene: she has been designing jewellery for over 10 years after launching her very first collection at Bergdorf Goodman in NYC, the 5th Avenue heaven for fine jewellery lovers!

I am passionate about statement Brazilian jewellery brands and Carol Kauffmann ’s bold, vivid creations are right up my alley! Happy to  introduce my GEM squad  to this contemporary Brazilian jewelry designer and feature Carol Kauffmann Jewellery new “Valentin” collection on GEMOLOGUE!

What inspired you to become a jewellery designer? 

Living here in Brazil with the availability of amazing coloured gemstones and my Lebanese origins. We love jewellery since the day we were born! It is a passion mixed with the accessibility to natural Brazilian gems, which put me on that way.

In what ways has your background in textiles influenced where you are now? How did you make the transition into jewellery?

The 13 years I spent in the textile business gave me the knowledge of how the production and development of the product in a factory happens, giving me the ability to create anything I want in the jewelry business.

When was your jewellery brand founded in Brazil? Your first collection was launched at the Bergdorf Goodman, did you ever envisage your jewellery brand to be as global and successful as it is today?

My first collection was launched in 2008, the same year I launched my collection at Bergdorf Goodman. I did not envision it, but Brazilian styles and gemstones were very well accepted on the international market, so Carol Kauffmann Jewellery was very successful since the start.

How would you describe your brand’s aesthetic, and how do you distinguish your designs from what is already on the fine jewellery market?

Carol Kauffmann Jewelry design features precious 18k yellow gold and exceptional natural Brazilian gemstones. I always put together an artistic inspiration and try to make it look very casual for women to wear it every single day. I create designs that are timeless and are for a modern woman, who can wear them day-to-night for any occasion she wants to.

Where do you find your inspiration and influences?

Mainly art, it is one of my biggest source of inspiration. My family always collected art and now my daughter works with contemporary art. So we explored all the impressionists and the Brazilian modernism art towards the contemporary movements and new tendencies.

Your upcoming collection, Valentim, was inspired by your visit to Rubem Valentim Museum of Art exhibition in Sao Paulo. Can you tell us more about that?

Inspiration can come from many different sources including a beautiful sculpture book, a unique trip or an art exposition among others. My latest collection is called “Valentim” and it was inspired in the work of the important Brazilian artist Rubem Valentim. He puts together different geometric shapes and formats creating his own vocabulary of symbols. His work features Afro-Atlanic influences and a mixture of vivid colours.

Could you tell me more about the craftsmanship behind the Valentim Collection? How is the beautiful vivid colour achieved in your jewellery?

My jewelry is handmade by exclusive craftsmen and goldsmiths giving it a personal and exclusive look, using a new resilient plating technique with nano-ceramic particles that I called “Colour Gold”. Just like the white rhodium, this technique allows me to use many different colours on the top of 18k yellow gold to give it a totally new look.

How have you gone about selecting Brazilian gemstones, metals, and settings for your collections over the past 10 years?

We choose the stones by their shapes and colour tones and from these stones we create unique jewels. Each stone took millions of years to be made in the nature and then it comes to adorn a piece of Carol Kauffmann Joias.

What is your design process between the inspiration and the finished piece?

I start very naturally by drawing a rough sketch and perfecting it to a better drawing. Based on this, we create a digital drawing where we are able to see the piece in every detail from all angles, showing the craftsmen the exact dimensions and proportions. And then we hand craft the jewel.

You know how to make one colour pop by pairing it with another and how to make more subtle pairings as well! How important is colour to your design process?

Since my times in the textile industry, I always worked with colours, at that time we were creating a bathing suit printing, where we could spot at least 20 different colours and shades. Because of that previous experience, I’m familiarised with mixing colours without restrictions, so when it comes to the jewelry business, it was very easy to mix and match different colours combinations.

Who are some jewellery designers or artists that you admire?

I admire the work of artists like Lygia Clark and Alfredo Volpi of Brazil, American artists James Turrell, Ellsworth Kelly and Dan Flavin as well as the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. As for the jewellery designers: vintage Cartier, Bulgari and Van Cleef & Arpels and Brazilian fine jewelry designer Silvia Furmanovich.

What is your typical day as a Brazilian jewellery artist in Sao Paulo? 

It is always fun to be in Sao Paulo. Even in your most busy days you go for a lunch with your friends, you stop for a cocktail in the end of the afternoon and in between there is work with beautiful Brazilian stones. You always find some inspiration!

What are the challenges and advantages of being a Brazilian jewellery designer? For a brand like yours that values design and craft, was it difficult to find the right partners and workshop to make it scalable whilst preserving quality?

The biggest challenge of being a Brazilian jewelry designer is managing business with our economic situation, as our work involves a lot of people and high investments. In Brazil you have good and bad years to work, it is like a rollercoaster, but at the moment this is true for the rest of the world too. You just need to be prepared for these situations.

On the other hand, working in the globalised world, I don’t encounter any challenges in exporting my jewelry. On the contrary, I feel that consumers appreciate having a designer coming from a totally different environment. Being one of Brazilian jewelry brands, we have the opportunity of working with very good professionals in the jewellery area, allowing us to develop any production we need.

How is working in jewellery industry different today from when you first started out over 10 years ago?

The consumers in the jewelry business have become more demanding in terms of quality, while at the same time expecting creativity. This new scenario pushes us, designers, to be better every single day.

What would you like to educate young jewellery consumers, who might be more into other objects of luxury, technology or travelling? Why jewellery should matter to them?

I would like these young consumers to value and appreciate our jewelry work as an artwork. If they could get more information about the styles and work of the designer, they would appreciate a piece of jewelry much more.

What role do you think social media plays in jewellery today?

Social media is the biggest and most assessable window to the  world, so it has a very important role for jewellery brands. In my point of view, its influence on the world of jewellery will only increase in the future.


Thanks for stopping by! Let me know in comments, who are the best Brazilian jewelry designers in your opinion?

I am extremely happy to announce that my new jewelry book – GEMOLOGUE: Street Jewellery Styles & Styling Tips – is now on Amazon. I’m so excited. It’s the first book of its kind solely dedicated to jewellery. 

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GEMOLOGUE jewelry blog by Liza Urla is a celebration of fine, fashion and vintage jewellery featuring talented jewellery designers, trendy urban street style, exclusive interviews and rare jewellery reviews. This jewellery blog’s goal is to encourage and educate about jewellery online in a fresh and original fashion to inspire women and men across the globe in a fashion and travelling context.

Jewellery blogger, writer Liza Urla, the founder of GEMOLOGUE, is a London-based and NYC-educated gemologist, who has travelled to and lived in many countries. She is now one of the most influential digital jewellery tastemakers. Her jewellery influence has been acknowledged by Financial Times, The New York Times, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.

*Photographed by Studio Everton Barros. Styling and Art Direction by Liza Urla. All photos belong to GEM Kreatives for GEMOLOGUE.

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