“Jewellery is eternal. Fashion is the moment, but jewellery is more than the moment. I love the fact that it’s always related to particular memories or people that are dear to you or were dear to you.”
Jewellery designer Paloma Picasso was born in 1949 the youngest daughter of the artist Pablo Picasso and his muse, the artist and writer Françoise Gilot. She was an artistic child but has admitted to being so afraid of comparison with her parents that she became obsessed with developing her own style that bore no aesthetic links to either of them. She had her first ideas about jewellery design whilst still a teenager in 1960s Venice. Recalling the “crazy” jewellery she saw women wearing at the time she began to form her own ideas of what made jewellery not only beautiful but also wearable and most importantly – feel good on the skin.
She studied in France at the prestigious Université Paris Nanterre after which she began working as a costume designer and stylist for avant-garde theatre productions in Paris. This led her to jewellery design which eventually led to a conversation with fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent who Picasso had turned to for advice on pricing her work. Saint Laurent looked at her designs and offered her a job on the spot. She designed jewellery to compliment his clothes and the pieces were sold in YSL boutiques but Picasso soon moved on to work for the Greek jewellery firm Zolotas where she created a collection of necklaces and bracelets in the shape of daisy petals as well as a wide bracelet featuring the faces of the moon.
In 1980 she began working with Tiffany & Co. with whom she is widely identified today for her bold and colourful designs. Her first pieces included her signature Xs and Scribbles in 18ct gold and sterling silver and she went on to create numerous different collections which she has described as “bold, with a certain simplicity and strength, a strong point of view”. When she married her second husband Eric Thévenet in 1999 she designed their wedding rings, chunky bands with notches in them, which grew into a collection called Groove. Many of these pieces are unisex and they were recently relaunched to include a pendant and cufflinks that are now made in titanium and rings that are now set with diamonds.
Whilst her earlier pieces were predominantly made in yellow gold and frequently set with large multi coloured gemstones her more recent collections have reflected a daintier aesthetic with collections such as Olive Leaf and Luce featuring small motifs and a light airy open feel in plain metal or simply scattered with small diamonds. The classic Loving Heart collection remains popular and new designs are regularly added to the collection to update it. Alongside her work with Tiffany, Picasso has also designed accessories, wallpaper, sunglasses, linens, china and crystal as well her perfume line and famous scarlet lipstick ‘Mon Rouge’ created with L’Oreal. She continues to design and lives with her husband between Switzerland and Morocco.