Suzanne Kalan is famed for her use of baguette-cut gemstones. She made her mark on the jewellery world with stacks of jewels set with undulating baguette-cut diamonds, but increasingly she is introducing colour into her work.
Brightly coloured sapphires add a rainbow streak to her collections, while precious gems, including emeralds, add an elevated chromaticity to her diamond designs. The latest launch from the Los Angeles-based designer, who just before lockdown opened her first standalone boutique in London’s Harrods, is an update to her iconic Fireworks line that exclusively uses black sapphires for the first time – a strong look she hopes will attract a unisex jewellery crowd.
With colourful jewellery increasingly taking over the jewellery agenda in 2021, Suzanne Kalan shares her thoughts on how to bring colour into luxury jewellery, and why we should all embrace this joyful trend, in this new exclusive interview.
Jewellery designer Suzanne Kalan
How are you incorporating colour into your collections?
“Colour is always something I have loved using in my collections and hence why I launched the original Rainbow Fireworks collection. I have now extended that and have Pastel Fireworks, Inlay and also the coloured Evil Eye pieces. I take original pieces and add colour, largely with coloured sapphires, to make the piece more contemporary and eye catching.”
How much of an influence does fashion have on this jewellery trend?
“I’ve certainly noticed the pops of colour that have been coming out in fashion in the last year and I do feel it is therefore subconsciously felt and used in other industries too. I feel colour changes people’s moods and now, more than ever, I think everyone needs all the happiness they can get. I’ve been working with coloured sapphires, rubies and emeralds in my collections for many years now and I really do feel they’re something that brings a smile to everyone’s face.”
How do you strike the right balance to make popish bright colours feel luxurious?
“Using coloured sapphires; you cannot get more elegant. It’s also all about the setting. When I started the Fireworks collection, I changed the perception of how baguette diamonds were traditionally used. I found that having the diamonds offset increased the drama in a piece. I have always used unique vibrant gemstones in my collections, and I wanted to add more colour back into my signature line. Sapphires come in a wide range of colours, and I found them to be more stunning in a baguette cut. Traditionally, most coloured stones were cut in a round or oval way. We have been requesting our cutters to cut our stones in baguette shapes to update the look of colour.”
Suzanne Kalan 18ct gold, diamond and rainbow sapphire Celeste earrings, £5,494.62, available at Suzanne Kalan
Do diamonds still have a role to play in colourful jewellery?
“I use white diamonds to set off the exquisite use of colour. With the new Evil Eye collection, for example, I have used white diamonds as the lashes to offset the chosen coloured sapphire or emerald eye. You’ll notice with my other collections too I tend to always incorporate white diamonds, regardless of size, to add to the drama of the piece. The contrast of a brilliant diamond against a beautiful coloured stone is the best combination you can make.”
Tell us about some of your newer colourful jewellery collections.
“Inlay is a continuation of the Fireworks collection with an exciting twist – signature baguette-cut and princess-cut coloured stones are randomly paved, protected with a gold bezel and secured by thin prongs for a contemporary feel. Taking a modern twist to the traditional Middle Eastern turquoise evil eye, my Evil Eye Rainbow Fireworks collection encapsulates the eye with the dazzling use of pink and blue sapphires and emeralds surrounded by baguette diamonds. All the collections signify the sense of luxury but are contemporary enough in how they are set to make them desirable to everyone.”
Why does the quest for bright, happy colours feel right for 2021?
“Colour brings positivity to any outfit. Regardless of the season, the economic climate or feeling of the person, colour stands out and subtly enlivens a situation.”
Suzanne Kalan 18ct gold, diamond and rainbow sapphire Rainbow Mosaic Eternity Band ring, £3,313.53, available at Suzanne Kalan