When asked about the hallmarks of classic French jewelry design, the French-American designer Sandrine de Laage points to three defining characteristics: high quality, singularity, and audacity. If this is indeed what unites the iconic Place Vendôme jewelers, then de Laage seems to have inherited some of this from the old guard, all while tailoring her designs to meet the aesthetic requirements of an urban sophisticate with minimalist leanings and an appreciation for the art of restraint.
Although de Laage launched her eponymous line in 2016, she’s spent 25 years in the jewelry business, working as a marketing executive, designer, and creative director at such prestigious houses as Cartier, De Beers, and most recently, Harry Winston. As such, she is versed not only in artistry and craftsmanship, but also the complex waters of brand strategy and identity. It’s a background that promises to give her an edge as she sets out to develop new collections and chart a path for her jewelry’s successful reception both here in the United States and abroad.
“I’ve learned that creating a piece of jewelry is a team effort between the jeweler and the designer,” says de Laage. “Each one nourishes the creative process as well as the craftsmanship process to achieve a creative vision. This is a dynamic I experienced on both sides of the Atlantic.”
After spending much of her career immersed in the glitter of diamonds and gemstones, de Laage has decided to focus her current work on the purity of line and silhouette. Crisp, clean goldwork, almost always 18k, has become her signature, and the vibe is so elegant, so totally French, that something as familiar as an ID bracelet or a tiny gold hoop, feels impossibly special and luxe.
Boyfriend ring with 1.56 cts. t.w. pink sapphires in 18k rose gold, $5,400
“The Boyfriend ring is one of my most popular pieces,” says de Laage. “It encompasses all of what I put in a design: A new take on classic jewelry, a true simplicity, high-end craftsmanship, and, most importantly, a strong concept.” Inspired by the idea of wearing your boyfriend’s button-up shirt, or loose-fitting jeans, de Laage’s Boyfriend ring interlaces a pavé band with and an oversize band—the “boyfriend”—for a token of affection that’s sentimental but neither saccharine nor expected and completely fresh and modern.
All of de Laage’s designs are meticulously manufactured in the top workshops of New York City, which served as de Laage’s home base for many years. The designer recently relocated to Ojai, Calif., in pursuit of an easier, nature-driven lifestyle. “This move has only enlarged my inspiration landscape,” she says. “I am constantly traveling, so I keep connected to big cities, the people, and their constant energy. But the new lifestyle I’ve embraced, and the nature that surrounds me, add an additional layer to nourishing my creative life.”
It’s also lead her in a “magical” new direction, with a ring composed of a jumble of links that unravel to form a bracelet—two looks in one.
Sandrine de Laage’s Magical collection—a ring that converts to a bracelet
Also new: The Charming collection, which places gold tags on velvet ribbons, forming a bracelet or a choker.
Charming choker with 18k yellow gold tag, $1,500
The Sandrine de Laage collection will return to Metal & Smith on May 3–4, and it’s a great opportunity to view the pieces in person and to see how they might fit in to your spring/summer lineup.
A few more highlights from her collection are presented below.
Mademoiselle bracelets with pink sapphires, $2,600, and diamonds, $2,700, both in 18k gold
Toi & Moi ring with 0.5 ct. t.w. diamonds in 18k yellow gold, $6,000
A Hint of Britain ring with 0.93 ct. t.w. diamonds in 18k yellow gold, $9,900
Staple bangle in 14k gold, $2,900 (this bracelet is worn across the back of the hand)
Charming bracelet with turquoise in 18k gold, $1,500
Top: Designer Sandrine de Laage and her new Magical collection ring
Follow me on Instagram – @aelliott718