JCK Asks…Designer Tamara Comolli



Gem fanatic, frequent flier, woman of the world

When we caught up with Tamara Comolli, she was in Hong Kong (presumably foraging for unique ­gemstones). The designer—who resides in Lake Tegernsee, ­Germany, and has a second home in Naples, Fla.—was born in Munich and spent her childhood in Spain, France, and Gibraltar. Her jewelry is as ­varied as her travels: ­button-shape rings in amethyst, aqua chalcedony, and carnelian; casual leather wrap bracelets; luxe rose, yellow, and white gold rings and chains; acorn pendants (her signature) in peridot, prehnite, mandarin garnet, ocean jasper, and just about every other colored stone you can imagine. A lesson from Comolli, who studied—and spent five years ­working in—advertising: “Stick to your signature and leave a trace.”

Comolli and her cocker spaniel Toni

Number of years in the biz: 23

Number of employees you oversee: 40

Family and pets: One beloved son, Tim, and two cocker spaniels, Theo and Toni.

Describe your personal style: Casual luxury with a tendency to edgy.

First piece you ever designed: A bracelet with leather and sliding gems.

Mikado Flamenco candy bracelet

The single piece of jewelry you’re most proud of: My Snowflakes Leaf pendant. It won the De Beers Diamond award.

Current favorite gemstone: Paraiba tourmaline.

Best piece of advice you ever received: From my mother, who always supported me: “Do what you believe in.”

Worst piece of advice: From my father: “Do not bother with jewelry. You can’t make a living.”

The Snowflakes Leaf

First job ever: Marketing consulting.

How did you get started designing jewelry? I grew up in a glamorous environment, with my father ­running a casino in Gibraltar. Back then, women would dress up in their robes and jewels to go there. This ­sparkling world fascinated me. My mother took me to those Indian bazaars in Gibraltar looking for sari silk material and matching gems. The Indian influence, I believe, formed my love for bracelets and colors.

Mikado Bouquet pendants

If you weren’t designing jewelry, what would you be doing? Gardening or designing tunics.

Jewelry you’re wearing right now: Always my ­signature drop ring and my Snowflakes Leaf pendant, casual on a thin leather string.

Items on your desk right now: Vitamins (love Airborne), stacks of papers sorted by priority, a picture of Tim, the layout of my upcoming journal to be reviewed, an online order box with pants for my son, and a loupe.

Curriculum Vitae rings

Songs on your playlist: “Que Sera Sera,” Doris Day; “Happy,” Pharrell Williams; “La Forêt,” Lescop; ­“Budapest,” George Ezra; “The Wizard of Us,” Andhim.

Exercise regimen: Should do it, almost never do it; told my trainer to not accept excuses.

What did you have for breakfast? A large glass of warm water, then after 20 minutes, cereal, bread with butter and raspberry jam, and a coffee.

The Signature bracelet

Guilty pleasure: Stay home, don’t talk to ­anybody, don’t answer the phone, and download an ­old-­fashioned movie.

Drink (daytime/evening): Ginger tea.

First website you check every day (not your own!): WWD.com.

Scent: Secret…has vanilla in it.

Pharrell Williams

How do you unwind? On my mountain bike, with the two dogs in the forest.

Superstitious? Very, very, very.

Book you’re reading: Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century.

Book you’ve been meaning to get to: The Circle, by Dave Eggers.

Preferred news source: I still read newspapers—the old-fashioned way!—and when traveling turn on CNN for a quick update.

Main means of transportation: My VW Touareg car—reliable, strong, safe, room for mess.

Favorite movie: English Vinglish.

Who would play you in your life story? Hilary Swank.

Personal motto: “Wait and see.”