Hot 100 2013: Melanie Georgacopoulos

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The jewellery prodigy that has changed the face of pearls.

By Steve Spear

This time last year Melanie Georgacopoulos snuck into the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 party as a plus one. “But I never thought I would be actually part of it one day,” she says. She should have known better.

Before she came along there simply wasn’t anyone doing what she does – taking the pearl and turning it into something truly contemporary. It’s one of those fantastically creative and infuriatingly simple ideas that you just can’t believe you didn’t have but which marks her out as very clever indeed for having had it. It also makes her utterly deserving of her place in the 2013 rundown, which comes on the back of her Rock Vault endorsement courtesy of Stephen Webster.

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From oversized cascades to pared-down pieces she takes pearls and strings them, places them, dips them, slices them and sculpts them into new forms, sizes and shapes.

Her innovative designs have taken her airborne this year, with Las Vegas, Paris, Germany and Japan all stamping her passport. It was in Japan that she embarked on a collaboration with Tasaki – one of the world’s premier pearl design companies – and after just three years in business she has become profitable with a trajectory that has seen her double her sales each year.

But where does it all come from? She blames her French Greek parentage and a school life spent discovering her Classical heritage in museums and falling in love with Lalique. “However I don’t have a specific inspiration when I design – it’s more a collection of ideas and thoughts which I note in my sketchbooks wherever I go, and then translate into three dimensional forms in my workshop.” And will she be moving on from using pearls soon?

No way. “The more I work with them the more ideas I have,” she says. “I am trying to make pieces which I haven’t seen before. I don’t see the point in copying things that have been made in the past, and I think there are people out there who make wonderful classic pearl jewellery. My role as I have decided it, is to push boundaries and challenge people’s perceptions, as much as I can, so yes I am on a quest.”

Appropriately for a pearl designer, her secret hobby is fishing, but she’s had to shun that preoccupation for one night to attend the Hot 100 party, clutching her very own personal invite this time. Wonder who she’ll bring as a plus one?

This Hot 100 Tresor Paris Trendsetter profile was taken from the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2013 book. To read the digital book in full, click here.
 

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