Marking her 30th anniversary designing for Tiffany & Co. Paloma Picasso launched three new jewellery collections – Paloma’s Marrakesh, Hammered Circles and Paloma Doves, all testament to her exquisite taste and classic sophistication.
Dividing her time between her home in Lausanne and more recently Marrakesh, Paloma fell in love with the Moroccan life and was inspired by what she saw around her – the architecture, history, motifs, colours and artwork.
Daughter of Pablo Picasso, Paloma spent her earliest years in the South of France. Both her parents were painters and artists and she grew up in a household filled with creative energy and artistic flair.
She says: “I always thought that in life, you breathe, you eat, you go to sleep at night and you draw. I was spending a lot of time drawing myself, but as I grew up I started feeling the weight of my heritage. By the time I was 14, I completely froze. I couldn’t draw any longer. Because of course, people were always saying to me and my brother, “so you’re going to become painters like your parents!” And I thought “oh, no–not that!”
But it happened anyway. And although she didn’t become a painter she certainly kept on drawing and became an artist of sorts – a jewellery designer.
“As a child I was always interested in jewellery. If you see pictures of me as a child you will often see me wearing a piece of jewellery which was quite, not typical of most little girls, but it was always a focus of mine…when I got a little bit older, I started buying pieces myself, going to the flea market buying beads, stringing them in a special way for myself.
One fortuitous day, a friend of hers announced that she was going to learn jewellery making.
“I thought, well that’s always been my interest. And by then I’d even made a special piece of jewellery for a play—the equivalent of Broadway in France. I thought, well if people are already talking about my jewellery, I’d better learn how to make it.”
After her father’s death in 1973, she took a hiatus from designing jewellery to catalogue the artist’s estate and help establish the Musée Picasso in Paris. In 1979, then-Tiffany Design Director John Loring invited Paloma to present a table setting for one of Tiffany’s exhibitions. A year later, Tiffany introduced Paloma Picasso’s first exclusive collection of jewellery, which was instantly embraced for its innovative free flowing shapes, large scale and brightly coloured semi-precious stones.
Her designs are distinctive and bears her hallmark – whimsical shapes, links and weaves, together with her unique colour combinations and have made Paloma a highly sought after jewellery designer by both collectors and ordinary women alike. Throughout her long collaboration with Tiffany, she has created many one-of-a-kind accessories and important necklaces, mounting large and fine specimens of coloured gemstones
For Paloma, the process of creation is relatively simple and straight forward. “The first step to creation is actually what you take in. When you look around, there are things that attract you and make your heart sing, and others that don’t. The first act of creation is actually choosing.“
“You choose the things around you that appeal to you and come back to you in your design. Usually they don’t come back in a very literal way. It could be something I’ve seen in a building, a special curve or angle that I thought was interesting which at some point will come back into my design.”
In explaining how she has created the pieces she has for Tiffany & Co. Paloma says she draws a lot of inspiration from architecture.
“I always had a keen interest in architecture, even I thought I wasn’t going to go out and study architecture or Beaux Arts, so I thought I had to find another way to approach art. Actually I thought I might be able to get away without doing something that was not artistic, but somehow, I had to express myself this way, and jewellery was a way that I found to express myself.”