Lydia Courteille

20170605-221617_.jpg

“I trust in me,
I trust in myself”

“(Are you the) One who leads, or the one who fights?” - Victor Hugo

I had first discovered Lydia’s work when I was searching for women jewelry designers.  Her name and work comes up pretty quickly.  When I saw her work on line, I could hardly believe my eyes.  The fantasy of creature and craft were interwoven inexplicably into each  piece of jewelry.  I knew at that moment I had to meet her.  I posted her work on my FB site, Women of Jewelry, and she ‘liked’ it, and I was so excited to think she had seen my tribute to her.  Her portraits showed a beautiful elegant woman with piercing blue eyes, and I felt she had an incredible story to tell.  She stood in front of the Tour de Eiffel as evening set behind her, and I could not wait to try and meet her. When she liked my post I thought, Why Not?  I will just ask her if she would be interested in being in the book, and I sent her an instant message through FB and to my incredulous surprise, she responded yes!  It was tricky to set up a meeting in in Paris at her studio on the Rue St. Honore, but she agreed to it, and the date was set for November the 2nd in Paris 2016.  Hardy the photographer just happened to be in Germany and was also available to take a train from Frankfurt and meet in Paris within that time frame.  And so the date was set!  I was to meet Lydia Courteille in Paris the first week of November.  I bought the plane fares, and the tickets for Hardy and I to meet, set up all the accommodations and counted the days until I left for Paris by myself.  I had started to love travelling by myself because it presented a series of challenges that was stimulating and in some cases very difficult.  I also felt very accomplished when I was able to make all the appointments and get the directions straight.  I also had some other appointments in Paris as well as London so I set the entire itinerary up to meet Hardy and the artists that week for interviews. About a week prior to embarking on our adventure, Lydia informed me that she would be on holiday and would not be there, but that I could meet the staff at her shop while she was gone.  She indicated that she would subsequently be in Las Vegas for the Couture Show in June of 2017. I was pretty disappointed at this point and realized the incredible risk I was taking setting up these interviews. I knew at this point anything could happen, and I pondered how I was going to get a better commitment for each artists’ interview. I landed in Paris on Halloween night andwent to a live performance with Thurston Moore near Montemarte. Hardy took the train in and we went about setting up our appointments, and we had agreed to meet the managers of Lydia’s shop.  Hardy and I travel well together, and we were early to her shop on the Rue St. Honore.  It was a chilly day when we walked up to a younger couple, a man and a woman opening up the studio.  We waited outside until the shop was vacuumed and pristine, only to enter into the fantastic world of Lydia Courteille.  I have been in the industry my whole life, but can say without doubt this was the most amazing collection of jewelry I have ever seen.  Lydia works with stories, collections that are based on those stories, which I think if you bought one piece you would want all the other pieces of that story.  There were flowers, and scorpions, and indigenous faces in golds and black gold with gemstones unparalleled.  Hundreds of carat weights were in each piece, and the detail is extraordinary, that each piece is a 3-Dimensional sculpture of color, light and infinite sparkle.  The shop is dark, very mysterious, and as we spoke with Cecile Laurent and Lydia’s son, the faces on the people as they walked by her window were fascinating to watch.  Their mouths were literally hanging open as they could barely comprehend all the beauty in her work.  We had a lovely time with Cecile and Lydia’s son, and promised to follow up with her in Las Vegas at Couture. Upon entering the Couture exhibit at the Wynn in June of 2017, we found Lydia’s booth and immediately saw Cecile.  We had to laugh as Lydia was not there.  I felt like it was chasing a butterfly. We stated that we would be back later to connect with her. We returned a second time and  again she was not there.  By the time I finally met Lydia I could not imagine who this person might be.  I was amazed at how blue her eyes are and she was so gracious and polite.  I could not have been more excited.  Her interview was incredible, informative and interesting.  She has been in the industry for many years,  and her story of how developed her business to the place she is today, was fascinating.  I loved who she was as a person, and her work is a fairy tale of gemstones and gold.   

Hardy Klahold