JCK Asks…Colette



The French-Mexican artist on Corsica and croissants

Even in the sea of blue and green gems that flooded market week in Vegas, it was impossible to miss Colette Steckel’s new Mediterranean-inspired Alas collection. “Last summer I spent one month in Corsica, where I walked in the water for hours at a time,” she recalls. “Alas is both an abstract and literal interpretation of what I saw.” The jewels—mixing “breathtaking hues of blues, greens, purples, turquoise, and more”—represent what the designer calls a “big return to color.” Here’s more on what inspires the Mexico City–based designer.

Alas earrings with diamond, turquoise, and emerald

Age: 42

Number of years in the biz: 20

Number of employees you oversee: 10

Family/pets: My amazing children (one girl and two boys) Victoria, Alexis, and Reuben; my British short-hair cat, Chihuahua, and German shepherd

Describe your personal style: Energetic, elegant, and chic

Steckel with her “amazing children”

First piece you ever designed: My leaf! I found my leaf outside my house in Paris when I was 14. I kept it in a special book where I keep over 1,000 leaves I have collected over the years. It was already very dry and eventually all you could see were the veins, and that’s where I saw the beauty in it. When I launched my company it became my logo. I developed a full collection out of it named Feuille.

The single piece of jewelry you’re most proud of: My hand-carved labradorite bug

Steckel’s cat playing around in her leopard clogs

Favorite gemstones (or recent favorites): Emerald, tanzanite, and apatite

Best piece of advice you ever received: Never give up!

Worst piece of advice: People can change.

First job ever: Manufacturing hair accessories

How did you get started designing jewelry? One of my favorite things to do when I was around 12 was go to Paris’ Place Vendôme to look at the jewels. I collected every catalogue from all the houses and ­compared what each jeweler was doing. Then I would put tracing paper over my favorite pieces and color them with my Staedtler color box or Caran d’Ache.

Hand-carved labradorite bug

If you weren’t designing jewelry, what would you be doing? Interior design. I love to decorate!

Jewelry you’re wearing right now: My 90-inch Diamonds by the Yard necklace as well as my stackable diamond rings and my crown ring. Also, my 18k pink gold Calibre Cartier watch and two double snake-head rings. But more important than any other piece is my wedding band that I designed.

Items on your desk right now: Different types of pencils, watercolors, my light box, my camera, my diamond tweezers, and my loupe.

Stackable diamond rings and crown ring

Songs on your playlist: “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe,” Barry White; “L’Été Indien,” Joe Dassin; “Rolling in the Deep,” Adele; “Morenamia,” Miguel Bosé; “Rosas,” La Oreja de Van Gogh

Exercise regimen: Swimming and Pilates

What did you have for breakfast? Grapefruit juice, soy latte, and two croissants. I can’t live without them!

Guilty pleasure: Teuscher chocolate

iStockphoto

Daytime drink: Rosé champagne

Scent: Lavender

How do you unwind? I find peace in the water.

How does Mexico influence you? I am inspired by Mexico’s vibrancy and spirit! Living here gives me the opportunity to be exposed to an amazing old culture.

Superstitious? Yes!

Mary Evans/20th Cent Fox/Everett Collection

Preferred news source: The New York Times

Favorite movie: Braveheart

Who would play you in your life story? ­Catherine Deneuve

Personal motto: “Without good values, you have nothing!”

More JCK Asks on JCKonline.com:
+ JCK Asks…Monica Rich Kosann
+ JCK Asks…Alishan
+ JCK Asks…Melissa Joy Manning