Design of the Times: Pascal Lacroix

Pascal Lacroix gives each of his pieces “one-of-a-kind” attention from his studio in the high Sierra Mountains. Lacroix is an award-winning designer for his California-based jewelry brand. He is involved throughout the entire process of each of his pieces, from the sketch to the design, wax carving and casting, assembling, forging and tuning, stone setting and even the final polish.

The attention and care to all these steps is what makes his product truly unique. We caught up with Lacroix to learn more about his journey in the jewelry industry, his inspiration and much more.

How did your journey in the jewelry industry begin?
I was very fortunate to be raised in the South of France by artistically gifted parents. That region of France is the “Gorge du Verdon” in Provence, a thoroughly splendid region that has always been a crucible for creativity. My lifelong passion for creating jewelry was sparked, at the age of fifteen, when my father, a well-known designer, allowed me to work by his side.  Being a teenager, my mindset was to someday outdo my father. Building on my father’s fine technical foundation, I challenged myself to build more increasingly complex and bold designs. The success that I had in meeting these challenges led to the discovery that bracelets offered a perfect canvas for me to express both the boldness of design, but also the precision of fine craftsmanship.

What was the initial inspiration for your brand?
One of the jobs I was given during the one year I worked with my father was to chisel off the back rivets of old doors locks in order to refurbish them. In the process I discovered that many of them had intricate motifs engraved inside for no one to ever see but the maker. That probably was the greatest teaching in my early career and one I still cherish today. I would say that my early inspiration for design came to me from the flow, balance and grandeur of the stunning nature surrounding me.  My designs were an attempt to translate this grandeur into clean lines. Impressed by the Japanese art of joinery I adapted it to produce invisible hinges and clasps as I felt nothing should distract from the cleanliness of the lines.

What else inspires you when designing?
I am often inspired by artistic architecture. The discoveries of science and technology excite me. Traveling to foreign cultures is a great stimulator. Blending all of this with music and the poetry of people gives form to my designs.

Can you give us an idea of your design process?
Over the years I have approached design by directly carving into a mass of metal and later wax, and occasionally starting from drawings.  Beginning of the 90’s, I started designing with CAD and a custom made 5x milling machine. My love for technology and trying new approaches led me to seek out the first wax printer from an engineering show. Not known to the jewelry industry yet, the 3D printer and CAD drawings gave me the ability to design more involved pieces in a reasonable amount of time. From day one I decided that this new technique should be used to make pieces not quite possible otherwise.

How long does it typically take to create a piece of jewelry?
For the simpler designs, it typically takes four to six weeks from initial drawing to completion.  More complex projects can become a multiple month long endeavor.  That being said, I have often found that some of my best work has been done within self-imposed time limits.

How would you describe your brand using only three words?
Best hinge bracelets.

How do you personalize your jewelry and designs?
My designs are mostly influenced by my emotions of the moment. That makes me pretty safe in being authentic.

You have a number of different collections. Do you have a personal favorite?
Most pieces that leave my bench are my favorite at that very moment but two of the collections I resonate the most with lately are the Josephine and the Lily.

How about a favorite piece?
I have many favorite pieces according to many different criteria’s. My overall favorite is one I designed with the most emotion. One with a message, one that was meant to bring softness and lightness, one that was meant to play with the women’s curves, one that was lighthearted and makes a bold statement in the same stroke, one to wear on your bare arm or on your sleeve, winter or summer, beach or ballet, one that smiles at you and starts many conversations, one that lends you to play with its curves just as it plays with light in all the possible shades.  That is the Josephine5 polished or in my trademark silk finish. I truly love this piece for its looks and all the poetry it emanates.

This said, I am developing 3 new collections at the moment
and I am very excited about those.

Are you partial to any particular stones or hues?
Early on, I adopted the diamond for its luminosity and durability, however when it comes to color, I have a real love of the Demantoid garnet.  Not only am I attracted to its ‘demanding your attention’ color, I also love the way that it plays with the spectrum of light in its reflections.

What do you think sets your jewelry apart from other companies that specialize in fine jewelry?
I am the only jewelry designer whose specialty is bracelets, bracelets of the finest quality that incorporate complex invisible hinges and clasps.

Learn more about Pascal Lacroix here.
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