Estelle Lagarde, the expert in fine jewelry gouache

How is a piece of high jewelry created? It’s all about craftsmanship and gemstones, of course, but let’s go back and focus on the very first step: imagination. Each piece of jewelry begins in the mind and heart of an artist whose talent is to bring their dream to life, beginning with a sketch and followed by a gouache painting.

Listening to the latest song from rock band Placebo, French artist Estelle Lagarde draws, mixes pigments, creates shadows and brings her painting to life. Precision and care are essential: a drop of water can ruin the whole piece. Accustomed to switching from pencil to brush since a very young age, Estelle has always had an artist’s sensitivity for creation and design. As a teenager, Estelle made jewelry with Swarovski crystals to sell at the village market in her hometown in Haute Savoie, France, a region near the Swiss border. Her passion for jewelry blossomed at the age of 15 during a short stint in a jewelry store where she fell in love with gemstones and marveled at the extraordinary craftsmanship and techniques used to make the jewelry.

After graduating from Métiers d’Art in Paris, Estelle was hired by Van Cleef & Arpels. Here, she perfected her gouache techniques and painted some of the finest high jewelry pieces to come out of Place Vendôme, such as the famous Zip necklace and the Snowflake collection. A year and a half later, the artist returned to her hometown where she continued to work for Van Cleef & Arpels as an enameller, mastering this painting technique. She has worked on complex watch dials such as the iconic Pont des Amoureux, an intricate timepiece from the Parisian house.

The Veblen Dilemma watch with a tourbillon complication. Painting by Estelle Lagarde for BA111OD Watch Concept.

Eager to pursue her dream, Estelle created Studio Lagarde in 2018, her own design and gouache painting company. She expresses herself through her paintings, drawing inspiration from the architecture that surrounds her as well as the wonders of nature. Her free spirit leads her to play with textures and colors. His creativity is matched only by his perfectionism and this conscientious and detailed approach is the key to his masterpieces which gives him the ability to depict depth, transparency and luminosity in his stunningly realistic gouache paintings. . Her skills were quickly spotted on her social media and she started designing for various international brands. Her sketches are not only used to guide jewelry making, but also for marketing purposes and even handed out to customers, if they wish.

Her love for this meticulous craft has led Estelle to share her know-how online. In 2019, with her brother Thibaud Lagarde, Estelle put painting lessons online on her website: a series of videos and exercises intended for amateurs and professionals alike. The four programs guide you through the steps of painting different materials such as metal, enamel, leather and marquetry, as well as stones and their different sizes. These online courses reveal all of his trade secrets and painting techniques, helping students progress at their own pace.

In addition to her many design commissions, Estelle is working on her own jewelry brand which will be officially launched in 2023. At the same time, a collection of fine jewelry creations composed of colored gemstones is taking shape. Her first ring, Espoir, is an exciting preview of her future designs. This cocktail ring is a mix of cabochon, oval and pear cut gemstones, including sapphires, emeralds and diamonds, all set in white gold. As the name suggests, the colors are a combination of blue-green hues echoing serenity and hope. Estelle’s jewelry is handmade in France, favoring traditional craftsmanship and natural gemstones.

From Estelle Lagarde’s first jewelry collection, the Espoir ring is in white gold set with emeralds, sapphires, Paraiba tourmalines, topazes, aquamarines and diamonds.

Estelle will participate for the first time in GemGenève in May 2022. She will take advantage of this international jewelery fair to present her works as well as to lead several painting workshops. The artist will also demonstrate his craft, so everyone can see his talent firsthand.