PRECIOUS ENCOUNTER : CATHY WATERMAN
The famous American designer Cathy Waterman answered our questions !
It is after a career in film production that she begins to create jewellery inspired by nature and fairy tales. Handmade in her Los Angeles studio, her jewellery are made with a particular attention to details for our greatest happiness…
What is your first jewelry memory ?
When I was a little girl, my family travelled to Europe and in Paris, in a store window, I saw a little heart shaped gold charm with simple engraved images of a boy and a girl … for a long time, it was what I thought about when I thought about Paris and about love. When I got back, my parents surprised me with that charm which I must have worn but have absolutely no recollection of wearing. For me, it was the idea of love and the mystery of Paris, and not the object that moved me.
What the first piece that you designed ?
The first pieces I designed were a collection of jewels that were 22k gold and inspired by history and my love for castles and crowns and were hammered and set with princess cut diamonds, sapphires and rubies. They evoked buried treasure and had little pearls and the beginning of my obsession with lace.
What is your favorite stone ? Why ?
I love turquoise. It’s a healing stone and I wear it year round always feel good with it on. I love the color and that it calms me. I love color and my favorite is green, every single of the million shades of it…emeralds, tourmalines, garnets, etc… On the other hand, I love to work with diamonds because by their nature, they allow me to create light…not big diamonds but more the little ones that I set in lace and watch twinkle as I move through the day and into night.
Do you have a piece of jewellery that you wear all year round ?
I wear a leather necklace with many charms dangling, all of which are personal and are the talismans of my life : a locket with photos of my family, two engraved child charms (one with my kids names on it and one that my mom wore with the names of her progeny), a gold pair of wings that are a copy of a set on my dad’s air force uniform, a juggler charm from my muse collection, because, what mother isn’t a juggler ?
Who are your favorite jewellery designers ?
I love some old Buccellati pieces and so much of the work of the art nouveau jewelers, pieces that I like to visit at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs.
What are your greatest design influences ?
Nature and history and travels and frankly, things I’ve not seen yet are my inspiration. There’s nothing more glorious and humbling than nature and it has provided the motifs for my work from the beginning… I travel everywhere and see things that bring me to my knees in wonder… And I’m a history lover and the stories it tells become movies in my head and jewels in the studio.
What do you listen to in your studio ?
Music at every single moment of my life. I grew up in a house where it was Broadway Show Tunes and Franck Sinatra and Barbra Streisand records on as well as Opera and I have super eclectic tastes and on shuffle it jumps from Puccini to Sade to Taylor Swift to Swahili lessons.
If you weren’t a jewellery designer, what would you do ?
I would be a teacher. I love kids and for the past 13 years have devoted a morning or two each week to a school in Compton and have had some of the best times of my life in a classroom. Or I would be a landscape architect and build gardens that I dream about.
Which famous people (living or dead) inspire you the most ?
I’m inspired by people who bravely pursue their dreams in the face of challenges and the explorers who went where no one else has gone. I wish that I had that kind of courage. By name, Mahatma Gandhi, Steve Jobs, whoever invented the Internet, Le Corbusier, Nelson Mandela, Dr. Martin Luther King, Kobe Bryant.