It may seem odd for a French designer to be inspired by something as American as Yellowstone National Park, but for Sophie d’Agon, the marvels of one of our country’s most majestic destinations left her completely enchanted. So much so that she devoted her first collection to it, creating an homage to the park’s supervolcano known as the Yellowstone Caldera and the Grand Prismatic Spring (pictured at top), which, like the park’s other geothermal features, is fueled by its heat.
Yellowstone, d’Agon’s debut collection, came out three years ago, but the Paris-based designer is launching in the United States for the first time this summer. So it seemed like the right time to highlight it here, especially when so many of us have had to cancel summer vacations or are cooped up in city apartments, longing for wide open spaces, miles of mountain vistas, and herds of elk and buffalo instead of squirrels and pigeons.
The Grand Prismatic Spring is the park’s most photographed attraction—and admits d’Agon, “It’s a still an unknown destination to me, but it makes me dream. The colors seem unreal, it’s all the force of nature that is concentrated here.”
Translated into jewelry, d’Agon’s “dream” has resulted in a collection that explores the simplicity of concentric circles in compelling color combinations. “Yellowstone is the first line I designed, and it’s still the best seller today,” says the designer.
D’Agon has since evolved the line to include Babystone (Yellowstone’s little sister)…
…and scaled it down even further to create the Ministone collection.
Something unique to the Sophie d’Agon line is that all the jewelry is made in a small workshop in Portugal staffed by multiple generations of a family skilled in goldsmithing and stone setting.
“Portugal is more known for its work in leather or textiles, but there is a real expertise in the work of precious materials, especially near Porto in the north of the country,” says d’Agon. “My jewelry has dozens of stones, each one set by hand. It’s extremely precise work that requires a great hand and years of practice.”
While Yellowstone is the cornerstone of d’Agon’s emerging brand, she has several more collections that hit all the right chic, feminine, and colorful notes.
“My career in fashion and luxury in big houses like Saint Laurent has helped me to structure my line and define a brand strategy, but my technical knowledge of jewelry design I learned (and continue to learn) working with craftsmen on a daily basis,” she says.
The “dreaming” part of producing a jewelry line comes naturally, fueled by her curiosity about the world and appreciation of contemporary art.
“Nature and art—abstract art in particular, where shapes and colors are put forward” are her primary fascinations, specifically the work of artists such as Jules de Balincourt and Victor Vasarely (the latter artist inspired her Paloma collection, which plays with geometric shapes in a considered patchwork of hues).
American women will likely take a shine to her pieces, which are infused with that ineffable French-girl style.
“What is trending at the moment in Paris is fine jewelry with a vintage touch and colored stones. I think that some of my collections, like Victoria or Ava, have this vintage look. Many of my customers are looking for something different, handmade in small series, and that they will not see on everyone. The French girl likes to differentiate herself and feel unique.”
If that’s the style d’Agon has perfected and successfully delivered to her European retailers, then American stores who decide to invest in her designs (the Conservatory in New York and Dallas already has) should have no problem selling it.
Top: Yellowstone’s Grand Prismatic Spring (image via Flickr). Jewelry, from left: Babystone pendants with sapphires and emeralds in 18k yellow gold, $1,095 each; Yellowstone ring with sapphires and emeralds in 18k yellow gold, $1,100; and Yellowstone bracelet with sapphires and emeralds in 18k yellow gold, $1,350
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