PARIS–At a hotel on the southern bank of the River Seine, fashion journalist-turned-jeweler, Delphine Hervieu, explained how 19 natural pearls were intertwined with six sapphires to form a harmonious branch-shaped constellation atop a 18k yellow gold structure that sits on the ear’s edge.
The ear cuff is the hallmark of the first seven-piece collection that she designed with the help of Philippe Airaud, who has worked with names like Yves Saint Laurent, Ungaro and Jean-Louis Scherrer since the 1990s.
Her brand Otzar is the fruit of her passion for jewels, which she further cultivated after completing an intensive course of gemology at the Institut National de Gemmologie, as well as some painting classes she felt were necessary to craft jewelery in the “old fashioned way.”
Paris Correspondent Marianne Dorell chats with Hervieu in the lobby of a Parisian hotel this exclusive “couture” project.
BACO: It is very original and intriguing to discover a jewelry brand with a unique series of seven very different pieces that are different yet harmonious at the same time?
DH: It all really begin with a pure creative impulse: When I started to work on the project, there was no commercial demand, no economic imperatives. So, with my friend Philippe Airaud, whom I asked to collaborate with me on this first series, we felt totally free.
We wanted to create something very original, to do something surprising. We preferred to propose a numbered series. It was interesting to work in a different way, to break the rules. Too often, people get limited and feel like they have to respect the convention but you can do differently.
BACO: Why did you choose to propose a series of ear cuffs ?
DH: I love earrings and especially the “mono earring.” Some jewelers have already proposed their own mono earring but after trying some of them, I discovered the size aspect was problematic because they never totally fit. It has to be “sur-mesure” ear cuffs which is a different product with a high quality service.
BACO: How did you meet Philippe Airaud? Did you first had the jewel final design in mind or the choice of the stones came first ?
DH: I really wanted to pay a tribute to this organic part of the jewel with my first series. So it was all built around the stones. Even while I was finishing my gemology class, I started buying some stones when I found beautiful ones or had opportunities. And I didn’t know at that time what I would do with them. Then, with Philippe Airaud, we played with them, to arrange them and look for a harmony. Again it was all very intuitive. We worked at Le Café de Flore and played with the stones at my place. And we looked for solutions that involved as few interventions as possible.
BACO: There is clearly something that references the surrealism movement, with the presentation of the ear-cuff: is it a tribute?
DH: Each ear cuff of this first series is kept in a suede glove designed by MaisonFabre for Otzar. Held in a white soft leather pouch, each ear cuff is also sold with an ear molding, signed by the designer. The link with surrealism came very naturally: the gesture with the ear-cuff and the glove reminded us of a Buñuel scenario.
BACO: What’s next for Otzar?
DH: I am working on a new series that I will present in June, and it will not be earrings this time. I will keep this spirit. It is very stimulating to work on something after garnering such positive feedback, but it is also very challenging since I want to be surprising again. Parallel to that, I am presenting a collection for my second line called Studio 42: the “captured pearl.” This collection is made of natural shells and pearls that have been found off the coast of Tahiti. I love this organic touch and also the fact that each one is very unique.
WHAT: Otzar, a unique ear-cuff series
AVERAGE PRICE: EUR15,000 to EUR55,000