«Expertise is fundamental to my work. It translates as respect for both the techniques we use and the craftspeople behind them.»
“We function like a couture atelier only with different materials.”
“We function like a couture atelier only with different materials. I experiment with forms alongside metalworkers. They twist, solder, hammer. Back in my studio, I work with soft tin wires, which allow me to test the effects.
My jewelry has a neo-classical element which makes it timeless, but then the lines and forms can appear entirely unexpected. You can sense this dynamism in each piece as soon as it is worn or layered with others. Above all, I am fascinated with form and it is this pursuit that has become a constant throughout my designs.” Rigid, vermeil allows me to extend my lines a little further; to play a little differently with forms and curves. It’s lighter than solid gold, which allows me to create larger-scale pieces that make a stronger statement. This beautiful metal is demanding to work with; it requires its own expertise. This is why I am proud that all of our vermeil jewelry is made in French workshops by smelters with exceptional know-how.”
From eclectic inspirations to drawings in her sketchbook, Charlotte is constantly working through the creation process. To realize her designs, she works in close collaboration with a Parisian modelling workshop. The main challenge is to produce ongoing ideas that require countless minute considerations. This often entails a significant effort in order to arrive at a balanced design.
All Charlotte CHESNAIS pieces are made in the best ateliers in France, Italy and Portugal according to their specificities and are then overseen by experts in our Paris office.
Vermeil comprises of a base of sterling silver or 925 silver covered in a fine layer of 18-karat gold that can be measured at 5 microns and is applied by a galvanisation process. Each piece is then polished manually for a mirror shine. It is a material that I enjoy working with – as much for its brightness as its solidity.
Our silver pieces are rhodium-plated. This plating process is used primarily in fine jewelry and consists of electrolysing rhodium to sterling silver – also known as 925 silver. As rhodium is a metal with similar properties to gold, this process is beneficial in reducing the natural oxidation of silver.
This mixed silver-vermeil technique is done by hand. The surfaces not finished with gold are protected by several layers of varnish, a time-intensive process known as ‘saving.’ Maintaining the highest quality is fundamental to us.