JEWELLERY DESIGNER BACKGROUND It was only after a trip to an antique jeweller that Paris-born Lydia Courteille discovered her passion for gems. As a little girl, Courteille loved sketching and was extremely curious about science and fashion, but it was that fateful trip to have an old wristwatch repaired that ultimately led her to become a gemmologist and collector of 18th-century jewellery.
DESIGN SIGNATURE Courteille started designing in 1989, creating bespoke pieces for clients. She began working on her own collections with the idea of giving new life to vintage pieces that were “done very nicely but set very poorly.” Her designs incorporate a curious mix of antique gemstones and cameos set in elaborate earrings and large, bold rings. Courteille loves working with colour, and collects brightly hued gems from different parts of the world. She also uses unique finishes for gold, including red and black rhodium plating, to create depth.
ARTISTIC INSPIRATION From French poetry to masonry crosses, and from nature to travel, Courteille says her design ideas are gathered from experiences, symbols, phrases and memories. Her latest collection, Scarlet Empress, features Baroque-style rings and earrings inspired by the Russian empress Catherine II, with spinels and rubies set in red rhodium gold.