The London-based French jeweller inspired by global design themes.
Catherine Marche is a designer inspired an array of global themes and trends, working with precious metals and gemstones. Having begun her career in IT, she turned her hand to jewellery and today works on a number of private commissions and wholesale collections. She tells Professional Jeweller about designing for men, returning to yellow gold and raising brand awareness.
Professional Jeweller: Tell us about your route into jewellery design?
Catherine March: Although I always created things with my hands, including clothes, paintings, furnishings, and even jewellery for my dolls, I never thought growing up that I would be designing jewellery. When I told my parents it would be nice being an artist, I remember I being told to go for a safer job and to continue my artistic endeavours on the side. I studied maths, physics and computer science, worked as a maths teacher and in IT, while enjoying exhibiting my paintings, etchings and illustrations internationally. I then came across a shop selling gemstones and had to buy a few (well, quite a few) and ended up selling my designs in a couple of shops in Battersea, London. I took a break from IT to start my family and two children later realised there was no way I will be able to work in the city and see my babies grow. So, I analysed all the things I liked doing, and eliminated all the non-practical ones, where I had to work extra-long hours and weekends.
I realised that I liked jewellery very much, never had enough of it and that I could earn the bench skills. I enrolled into a short course at Central Saint Martins and went on to attend classes matching what I wanted to learn at different colleges and with different master goldsmiths. My ideas came naturally and fast, as I always enjoy sketching, drawing and colour. If I ever decided to make all the ideas I have in my sketchbooks, I would have fun for many, many years to come.
PJ: Do you have a particular theme that runs through your collections, or a signature style?
CM: My style is quite free – I enjoy mixing styles and playing with contrasts. For example, a rough setting with a classic gemstone or asymmetrical shanks that represent life’s balance. I like setting contrasting diamonds in an eternity ring is a random pattern so that each client has a different ring.
I think that my pieces are designed with fashion and versatility in mind. You can have fun wearing my jewellery for different occasions, making a statement by coordinating your pieces together. A long chain on a classic top will be bohemian, while the same chain wrapped around your neck as a choker paired with a A-line dress will make you feel chic. The devil is in the details.
PJ: You are a French designer now based in London – how have both countries inspired your work?
CM: Having lived and travelled in many countries, my core and essence are intrinsically very French, with a hint of braving British reserve, Bavarian Rococo folklore, colourful Africa, antique Greece, sunny Caribbean joie de vivre and the sense of being yourself borrowed from the USA. I love the freedom the people showcase in London’s streets, wearing the most incredible clothes, jewels and hair colours, as well as the classy tamed elegance of the French. Ideally, we should all create our own trends to fit our moods and inspirations of the moment, without really caring for what other people would think.
PJ: What can we look forward to seeing from your brand in 2014?
CM: We will see, as I am pretty busy with private commissions at the moment. I am thinking of creating more wedding rings for men, using more yellow gold and more rose cut gemstones. My new creations will be inspired by tribal, antiquity and simple adornments.
PJ: What plans do you have to grow your presence among retailers or increase awareness of the Catherine Marche brand?
CM: I truly enjoy being able to reach international customers around the world through the web, so I plan to increase my online presence and also contact retailers with a global presence. It is a nice thrill to know someone is wearing your rings in Brazil and someone else enjoys your earrings in Moscow.