I believe meeting people enrich ourselves from their experiences.
I will interview designers and other great people from the creative industry and share with you guys. I am pleased today to interview Diaset. A Diamond setter who has 15 years of experience in Fine Jewellery. You can find his exclusive work at Cartier, Chanel, Boucheron, Van Cleef & Arpels…
If you meet him the first time, you would see someone who is naturally reserved. But when you know him more and see all the things he has achieved, you would be surprised to see how much energy he has inside. If there is one thing I have learned from him is “Believe in yourself, and make things happen.”
He accepted to open us the doors of Fine jewellery. So here we go for the rare interview !
Can you tell us a bit about you ?
My name is Diaset, I’m 36 years old and I live in Paris. I am a Diamond and gem setter for Haute Joaillerie (Fine Jewellery) for high brands located at Place Vendôme.
Van Cleef & Arpels – Koi
Not everyone knows about Place Vendôme. What is it about ?
Place Vendôme is where the most prestigious French brands of Fine jewellery are located such as Chanel, Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, Boucheron, Mellerio, Charmer…
There is an iconic column made of lead – which Napoleon Bonaparte ordered to use cannonball to conceive it. We call it now the Column of Place Vendôme.
Place Vendôme – Paris
How did you discover the world of Fine Jewellery ?
I discovered this world from my childhood since my father is a creative jeweller. I remember seeing him conceiving the jewels at home. I was so fascinated ! That definitely influenced my choice of career.
Van Cleef & Arpels – Koi
What are the steps you have taken to reach where you are today ?
Actually, my father dissuaded me to take this path. So I choose the path of watch making, like how my grand father did. However, I didn’t really enjoy it much. I realized I missed something: the artistic side.
My father saw how much eager I was to join Art and crafts. So he advised me to learn about Gem setting at l’Ecole du Louvre. To enrol, I had to find an apprenticeship master – but it was difficult as the domain is very exclusive. Some more, I was late. So I had to wait for the next start of the school year.
Van Cleef & Arpels – Koi – Diaset took 6 weeks of Diamond and gem setting
Meanwhile, my father was following a training about Hand engraving (Graveur main) at work. Everyday, as soon as he came back home from his workshop, he taught me what he has just learnt. Hand engraving is closed to gem setting as they both use the same tools.
After 6 months of hand engraving from home with my father, I decided to pass the exam as an independent candidate. Even though a regular training last 3 years, I passed it with success !
Do you think you have an innate talent ?
I don’t think so. I was lucky to be well oriented, and when I begin something, I am stubborn and tenacious.
Did you pursue your studies at school ?
Yes, I found an apprenticeship master.
But why your father didn’t want you to be in Art & crafts at beginning ?
He said it was tough. We have to sacrifice a lot ourselves – that I rather find a comfortable job office. What he said make sense, because only the most passionate stay the course.
Van Cleef & Arpels – Disney castle
What do you like most in your job ?
Hand work. I find satisfaction in bringing things to life with my own hands.
I also like sharing with my colleagues and also seniors who have more experience. One learns from everyday from experience. We all have our own way of working. After years of experience, I can guess the personality of someone just by looking at his work – The way he proceed tells a lot about his personality.
One thing you hate.
Do you mean Arts & crafts profession are threatened ?
For example, 3D printing has hurt a lot the profession where companies are looking for gaining higher profits. Only Gem setting remain safe.
Van Cleef & Arpels – Disney castle
Diaset took 3 weeks of Diamond and gem setting
Would you still recommend younger people to pursue ?
If they are passionate yes, because the path is treacherous.
What advice would you give them ?
Learn a maximum from the elders – and show your motivation !
Is there a lot of school of Jewellery ?
Yes, pretty much in France. The most famous are:
- L’Ecole du Louvres,
- l’Ecole Boulle
- l’Ecole de joaillerie de Saint Amant
- and Saumure.
L’Ecole du Louvre welcome international students, and l’Ecole de Saint Amand has a student exchange program with foreign schools.
Is there a lot of school abroad ?
Yes. They focus more on Design. While in France, the focus is more the technical aspect and the Excellency of the gesture. France has a high reputation at making excellent pieces of jewellery. Like patisserie, we have our own identity, and we are well know for our ways of doing things. It’s not easy to explain as it’s technical, and every country has its own method – but France has the specificity of highly caring about details that others don’t do. This is where come from our reputation.
Cartier – Panther – From wax model to reality
What are the professions of Jewellery ?
Designer, Model maker, Jeweller, Gem setter, Polisher, Diamond cutter, The art foundry, Gemmologue and now 3D modeller. This is all the profession of Fine jewellery on the conception side. Below a few pictures on some of these professions at Van Cleef & Arpels.
Van Cleef & Arpels – Polishing
Van Cleef & Arpels – Diamond cutter
Van Cleef & Arpels – Lapidary
Van Cleef & Arpels – Art foundry
Van Cleef & Arpels – Model making
Can you tell us more about Jewellery designer ?
I am not myself Jewellery designer, but I work with them. This is where all begin. It’s an essential step of Fine Jewellery. The designer has the responsibility of bringing his own universe on his creation and make sure the client will be hooked.
Beside creation, he follows every steps of the making process. He needs to be creative while making sure to be technically feasible.
Does the designer has 100% creation free ? Or does he work with a brief given by the brand ?
I met some designers who told me they work with a lot of constraints. Such as working on a collection without modifying much the elements.
Does the designer still get some projects with more freedom ?
It depends of the brand and his own reputation.
Van Cleef & Arpels – From paper to reality
Does it mean a designer should create his own collection ?
Yes if he wants freedom. That could be recommended when he starts.
But how does he build his team ?
His team ?
Yes, I guess he needs to build a team to make his creation.
You can outsource. It’s essential to look for people who are good.
So it’s also possible to succeed as independent designer ?
Yes of course.
Chanel – Lion (6 weeks of Diamond and gem setting from Diaset and the team)
What advice would you give to someone who want to begin ?
Follow what you like the most. There is too many people who choose safe jobs and end not happy. As long as you know what you want, you rather fight and give yourself over completely.
Is it ok to start even though we are more than 20 or 30 ?
A lot of people are in that case. We may have a “manual” profile, but because of our society, we end realising it late. So it’s fine. You have to consider your working life balance. I met a lot of people who convert them selves at 30 or 40 years old to Fine jewellery because they realised they was not happy with there career. They preferred to work with there hands.
You only live once.
Futures projects ?
I dream of opening a school of Fine Jewellery abroad – and I am working on making it reality.
Thank you Diaset !
I met Diaset when he was student at l’Ecole du Louvres, when I was myself student in my design school at Creapole-ESDI. I was amazed looking at his work made of wax. And now he’s working for the most prestigious brands in the world of fine jewellery.
What I am pretty sensitive about Diaset’s story is he never gives up. His path was treacherous at time, with a lot of incertitude. But he always come back and keep going. Where does he find so much energy ? I guess from his passion and high determination. He doesn’t wait for people to tell him what to do. He provokes things to make them happen.
It’s great to keep in touch with friends after years. We never know. I am pleased and honoured that Diaset asked me to join him for the Fine jewellery school opening.
If you have any question to Diaset, feel free to leave a comment.
A video interview of a designer from Van Cleef & Arpels
”Here we have our own style.”