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
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
Daytime drink: Rosé champagne
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.
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!”