“Movement—to me, to my designs—is, in many ways, just as important as the look of the piece. Without movement, the energy and mood can become stagnant, and the vision is lost. When the movement meets the vision, only then is the piece complete.”
When describing his own work, the words Brazlian-born, London-based jewelry designer Fernando Jorge employs infer a certain kind of presence, an aliveness not often attributed to metal and stone. “Energy” and “mood,” for instance, are terms more often reserved for animate objects. When viewing Jorge’s work, however, their use seems positively apt. In his Flame collection, arches of gold bring to mind the winged feet of Hermes, shaped in such a way they appear capable of flight. In Brilliant, a hypnotic array of diamonds do not lay upon the body so much as radiate along the skin, creating an undulating, glittering topography.
Jorge’s talent for imbuing his designs with a sense of motion allows for the creation of objects that are exquisite yet restrained, tasteful in the utmost. Here, power is found not in the superfluous, but the necessary. The shape, the setting, the stone, the stunning use of color—Jorge’s work never leans on needless excess to mask a deficiency in imagination. His pieces are simultaneously extraordinary and grounded, a duality well-demonstrated in his Surround collection, wherein diamonds are embedded within precious stones like nephrite jade, lapis lazuli, mother of pearl. A discreet decadence.
The purity of form Jorge achieves in his designs begins on pen and paper. “My creative process starts with identifying a mood that I wish to explore and convey,” Jorge says. “With this in mind, I start sketching abundantly, without filter, editing sporadically and expanding on the designs that seem more relevant.” Jorge continues to work until the desired emotion is communicated in the drawings themselves, requiring, as he describes it, “no words to explain.” By the time he moves into production, the designs are so thoroughly vetted, the intention is always clear. This confidence of perspective extends to the wearer herself.
Since launching his eponymous collection in 2010, Jorge has garnered fans across the fashion and entertainment worlds. An editor favorite, his work has appeared on the pages of British Vogue, Grazia, and New York Magazine’s The Cut, to name a few. His pieces have made many a red carpet cameo, worn by actresses like Olivia Wilde, Viola Davis, and Alicia Vikander. More than a decade in, the designer’s future keeps getting brighter and brighter. Below, Jorge takes the time to speak with Latest Revival about transformative forces, childhood nostalgia, and discovering freedom in restraint.
There’s a real timeless, almost mythological quality to Flame. Can you tell me what inspired this new collection?
Flame was initially sparked by a sketch I made where I had placed pear-shaped stones on an angle, creating an uplifting and energetic movement. Originally, I had been exploring other directions for my new collection, but I kept being drawn back to the sketch, and eventually realized it was evocative of fire and flames. This association started to make me even more drawn to that idea, as it complements some of my other collections, which draw from elements and forces in nature. Fire is a transformative force; I felt compelled to harness that new energy in my work.
Once you’ve finished a sketch, what does the production process look like?
The next step is 3-D modelling and printing. This process can take anywhere from three to six months, and often involves refinements of the initial ideas. Once the pieces are ready, I start to release the collection in two or three stages throughout the year, adding new styles or colourways along the way.
Do you believe in “rules” when it comes to design?
I find that I’m not very rigid in the creative process and thus don’t find myself strictly adhering to rules or protocols. One thing I do keep in mind when designing is that jewels are meant to sit on the body and move along with it. The observation that there are no perfectly straight lines on the human body sparked a particular sensibility within me, and results in the curvy and sensual look of my work. Another thing I could consider a rule of my work is that in order for a sketch to become a piece of jewelry, it must be intriguing and experimental, something that cannot exist simply on a piece of paper. This is when I feel the need to make it into an object—so it can be fully resolved when placed on the body.
Your shapes command space in such a fascinating way. How do you think about the shape of your pieces and how it looks on the body?
The shapes and silhouettes of my pieces have a firm basis on traditional jewelry, but starting from this foundation, I allow myself to be very experimental. My natural instinct is to highlight areas of the body with shapes and color, sometimes considering the lines of the body or sometimes being more exuberant and decorative, taking inspiration from nature.
Your sense of color is exquisite. Is that something you spend quite a bit of time thinking about?
I must say this comes to me naturally, in an instinctive way. I feel very attracted to materials in their natural state; the variety and uniqueness we can find in gemstones is fascinating. I have a preference for tonal combinations and for how one material reveals different qualities when next to another. In designing the Flame collection specifically, I found myself drawn to gemstones native to Brazil, such as citrine, amethyst, and rose quartz. As a child, I would collect these precious minerals, and working with them brought back such happy memories for me. The pastel color palette of the “Gleam” pieces is reminiscent of my favorite childhood action figure, She-Ra, and her Crystal Castle.
You have such a knack for a kind of grand simplicity. What do you think is the secret to achieving this in your work?
That simplicity comes with a lot of hard work and being in touch with your vision. I focus on what is essential and gradually remove everything that is unnecessary from my designs. This purity is something I believe jewelry should encapsulate, but it’s also something I practice in my life beyond jewelry.
Describe to me this intersection of your Brazilian and British design influences? What does the essence of each place bring to the table?
From São Paulo, I designed more freely and, in a way, more irresponsibly. I took inspiration from whatever seemed interesting, from different cultures and periods, mixing and matching without any deeper reflection. When I moved to London, I was immediately confronted with designers from different nationalities and cultures creating in the same space. This gave me a sense of responsibility and it actually made me take a deeper look at my Brazilian background. I had a chance to understand what I was doing instinctively and to remove everything that was unnecessary. Ironically, living in London made my work more Brazilian, but still with that London edge. My focus on the body and a sense of casual sensuality is what makes it distinctly Brazilian, in my opinion.
Why do you think this interplay is important to your work?
During my master’s in jewelry at Central Saint Martins, it was very important to create space outside the commercial environment for me to reflect and explore the knowledge that I gathered in practice. It very much felt like polishing a rough gemstone. That British education helped me sharpen my point of view and has kept me here for the past 10 years. Meanwhile, my Brazilian roots continue to influence my design choices.
What do you hope a piece from your collection brings to its wearer?
I like to see women wearing my pieces as an extension of their body and as an expression of their sensibility, not creating their confidence, but enhancing it. While this mindset has been important from the very beginning of my work, in recent years, after meeting so many of my clients, it has only become more important to create pieces that speak to them. It’s about creating jewelry that exudes the confidence and effortless sensuality that is so appealing on a woman.