In a field dominated by women, Fernando Jorge is one of a few independent male jewelry designers who has the ability to elicit audible gasps of awe from those who come across his sensual pieces.
The São Paolo-born, London-based designer, who launched his namesake label in 2010 after ten years working alongside Brazilian jewelers and then graduating with a master’s degree in Jewelry Design at Central St. Martins, says that his work is often driven by craftsmanship and technique first, style second; something that may set him apart from his female contemporaries.
“Style is something that comes after and that I’m more flexible with,” Jorge told Latest Revival. “Probably with female jewelry designers, they have a stronger sense of style, which is driven by their own way to wear jewelry, but that doesn’t mean there is not great craftsmanship in their work or great style in my work.”
An early fixation with decorative objects and a passion for drawing led Fernando to his chosen design path. And if he wasn’t making jewelry, he would have found an equally creative and artisanal career in carpentry or painting. “My passion for jewelry was unexpected but instantaneous,” he confessed. “Drawing is one of my very early passions and it is what encouraged me to choose design as a career and eventually led me to jewelry.”
Using combinations of metal and stones native to Brazil, Jorge often plays with their “infinite possibilities” when tackling a collection and finds the challenge both inspiring and a defining characteristic of his work. Embellished with amethysts, emeralds and diamonds, some might declare his beautiful designs perfect for dressing up an evening outfit, but Jorge prefers to leave it to the wearer to decide. “The relationship of a woman with her jewels is very personal,” he said. “I become an observer and like to see how different women incorporate pieces in their personal style.”
To what extent does your passion for drawing inform the way you design jewelry?
Seeing my drawings being materialized with the finest materials found in nature was magical and this is still the most exciting part of my practice.
You use a lot of fluid lines and curved shapes, instead of structural forms. What inspired this unique liquid aesthetic?
The curves and fluid lines reference my Brazilian background. They evoke nature, the exposed bodies on the beach, the latent sensuality and the laid back attitude that are associated with Brazil. They are an idealistic vision of Brazil, but there is a lot of truth behind these stereotypes. What started with a playful association became the topic of my master’s degree and there was a lot of work and research involved in refining these ideas and finding a balance between provocative and elegant.
You say that you use ‘standard’ materials that are mainstream in Brazil due to their abundance. What are these materials, and what specifically makes them special to you and your jewelry design?
Beyond the coveted Paraiba tourmalines, imperial topazes and emeralds, Brazil is the biggest source of a variety of minerals. Citrines, amethysts, agates, opals and quartz in most varied shades. These are so abundant that their beauty is often overlooked and the beautiful stones are transformed into chess sets and parrots as souvenirs. I wanted to give these materials a new life with my work. They allow me to explore sculptural shapes in larger scale and I’m very attracted to their dirty tones.
Your sketches are drafted in your London studio and then made in Brazil, why did you choose to work between both places?
I worked as a jewelry designer for almost ten years in Brazil before moving to London to focus on my own collections. Through these years I met incredibly talented craftsmen and discovered a universe of Brazilian stones to be explored. Manufacturing in Brazil became an intrinsic part of my creative process, it’s not about convenience, it’s a dialogue that enriches my work.
What is your favorite piece you have designed?
There are pieces in each collection that I am especially proud of. The Fluid Chandelier earrings, the Electric Bolt earrings, Electric Shock ring and the Fluid Diamonds and Pink opal cuff. They were challenging ideas that were successfully transformed into jewelry pieces that now define my work.
What kind of woman do you see wearing your pieces?
There is not just one style of woman in my mind when I design. I learn by observing all the interesting women around me and I try to have pieces that would suit each one of them.
If you had to describe your jewelry in three words, what would they be?
Organic, sensual and elegant.
Where do you draw most of your inspiration from?
I look at the past and present and everything around me, and inspiration hits when I find a balance, when new ideas feel like a natural progression of what I’ve been doing.