Rapaport Magazine
Style & Design

Getting in sync

No stranger to the red carpet, Brazilian-born jeweler Fernando Jorge is targeting a more down-to-earth audience with his newest line.

By Rachel Taylor

Image: Fernando Jorge
Fernando Jorge’s latest collection, Sync, is a fresh take on the sensual style that has won him global renown and an A-list clientele. Smooth, trailing, oblong cuts of tiger’s eye, nephrite jade, lapis lazuli and jasper — all sourced in his native Brazil — bring muted, earthy hues to yellow gold designs. The other half of the collection is unadorned, consisting of gold chains with heavy, decorative links. The line is an homage to the bold jewels of the 1970s, a decade in which Jorge says he has found “abundant inspiration.”

“I am constantly looking to explore new possibilities,” he states. “With Sync, I introduced for the first time more structured and geometric shapes, but they have softened, rounded edges, retaining an element of sensuality.”

A vision realized

Jorge started his career in Brazil, spending a decade working for jewelry companies there before making the leap to relocate and study jewelry design at Central Saint Martins (CSM) in London. By the time he graduated in 2010, his signature style was already fully formed.

Over the past decade, the jeweler has evolved from a hopeful graduate and a beneficiary of Stephen Webster’s Rock Vault new-talent initiative, to a top name whose jewels adorn famous women such as Oprah Winfrey, Beyoncé, Michelle Obama and Angelina Jolie.

“To find myself years later seeing my vision realized and in constant evolution is incredibly rewarding,” says Jorge, who recalls that his decision to attend CSM felt like a huge gamble at the time — one he made for the love of designing rather than an ambitious end goal. “The challenges that used to intimidate me then now also fuel me to continuously evolve my work.”

The designer is paying his good fortune forward. By sharing his story and offering advice, he aims to help others turn their intimidation into professional propulsion. He has also been a mentor, working with Lola Oladunjoye of Lola Fenhirst — a London-born, Paris-based lawyer-turned-jeweler whom he met through the Couture trade show’s Diversity Action Council.

In a class by himself

Of course, hundreds of aspiring designers launch debut collections each year, but we only hear about a few of them. What was it about Jorge’s work that made him one of the success stories?

“I think the purity of my vision is my strength,” he muses. “Even when my pieces are ornate and elaborate, they have a continuity like the body itself; they ebb and flow in size or movement, which makes them wearable and recognizable. The craftsmanship and techniques I use to create this movement allow the jewelry to act as an extension of the body.”

He has won much attention for his lavish, red-carpet-ready jewels. His best-selling collections in the US, which is the brand’s strongest market, are Brilliant, Surround and Flame. These are luxurious statement jewels, often with a hefty diamond count and with price points that can exceed $60,000.

“I would say my most important clients are now collectors,” says Jorge, who is planning a tour of the US this summer. “This became more evident during the pandemic. I have been receiving more and more requests for bespoke projects from clients looking to expand their collection. Working alongside knowledgeable jewelry collectors to create something personal and unique is one of the most rewarding experiences.”

Staying fluid

Sync is not in this league. The new collection has an entry-level price point of less than $1,000 for a gemstone pendant on a leather thong. It also targets all genders, a design direction that Jorge first explored in 2017 with his first genderless line, Parallel.

“When I started to conceptualize Parallel, I had already been designing jewelry for 15 years and finally felt a strong desire to design pieces that men could also wear, so the motivation was personal,” he says. “In recent years, we saw an increased demand for our genderless pieces, as well as for pieces that were more wearable, independent of gender or identity, so Sync was the natural next step.”

This fresh direction, with its inclusive design codes and more accessible price points, could usher in a new client base for Fernando Jorge, but that doesn’t mean he’s turning his back on the glitz and glamour of the core lines that made his name.

“I am inspired by the past, present, and everything around me, and am particularly excited when new ideas feel like a natural progression of my body of work, whether expanding or contrasting with what I have done before,” says the jeweler. “Looking at my past collections to look forward is exactly what I am working on right now. A very exciting series of high-jewelry pieces that elevate some of our signature silhouettes will be revealed in New York this spring.”

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - April 2022. To subscribe click here.

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