Connect with us

Designer Profiles

Designing Lives: Paolo Costagli

Architecture, irises and a long lost friend inspire his refined, feminine collection.

mm

Published

on

PAOLO COSTAGLI’S path to creating a jewelry collection was hardly a direct one. The Italian-born designer defied the career track his family expected and took a detour through several jobs in the jewelry industry, plus a continent or two, before landing in New York to launch his namesake line. That wealth of experience shows itself in the expert craftsmanship, exceptional gemstones and deft color combinations he’s become known for. The road to Costagli’s success may have been long, but he’s certainly arrived.

BRIDGE TO THE FUTURE

“I grew up in Tuscany, and in Florence there’s a famous bridge — the Ponte Vecchio — that has many jewelers. When I was a child, my mother really loved going there, and I would go along with her. Before long, she started to quiz me on the stones, asking me to identify them. Emeralds, sapphires, rubies … I loved the colors and was immediately fascinated by them. That was really the beginning of my interest in jewelry.”

STUDY BREAK

“When I finished high school, a friend who was a famous jeweler suggested I consider studying at the GIA. After my military service, I decided to do it. It wasn’t the easiest thing to break with family tradition. Leaving Italy, studying in English — it was all a huge challenge, but I loved the chance to learn so much about gemstones and their chemical properties.”

DIGGING DEEP

Advertisement

“When I finished my studies at GIA, my family told me I couldn’t return home unless I wanted to become a doctor. Instead, I moved to Bogotá, Colombia. My first job was digging in emerald mines — oversized insects and all. Eventually, I got a job buying and cutting rough emeralds. After two years, I was o.ered a position based in New York and I traveled around the world selling emeralds.”

VINTAGE CAMPAIGN

“When I first started my own business, I bought signed vintage pieces from prestigious houses and sold them at auction. Working with that kind of jewelry is the best education I could’ve gotten in design. It’s the epitome of refinement and just as beautifully constructed on the back as the front. That’s my model. I always want my jewelry to be as well made as 1930s Cartier. A friend from Christie’s actually encouraged me to begin working on my own designs.”

NEW YORK STATE OF MIND

“Everything we produce is made in the U.S. America has wonderful artisans with modern tools and classic technique. The quality is superb, and I can control the process at every step. We’re based in New York, the heart of the jewelry industry. Here, I have access to the best stones, including the most unusual options. And even if the expertise of our craftsmen commands a certain price, it’s something my customer appreciates and respects. There’s a sentimental reason behind working in the U.S., too. This country gave me opportunities that Italy didn’t. Not many places support entrepreneurship the way America does.”

HOME GROWN

Advertisement

“Italy is still a constant point of reference for me. The Giardino dell’Iris in Florence is a spectacular garden with incredible aromas and color. The wonderful pinks and greens there were the inspiration for my first Florentine ring. I had no idea it would become an instant classic. Another collection — Brillante — came about during a trip to Venice. Its geometric pattern was based on a design I saw in the floor mosaics at Basilica San Marco.”

ART CLASS

“I love to show our jewelry at art fairs like Expo Chicago and the Dallas Art Fair. We see ourselves as artists and want to be in an environment with people who don’t do their work for money. We’re focused on making beautiful, lasting things.”

Q&A: Getting Personal With Paolo Costagli

WHAT JEWELRY DO YOU WEAR?
“I always wear two of my rose gold Brillante rings on my left hand. I guess I’m married to my business.”

WHERE DO YOU GO TO UNPLUG?
“Venice is fantastic in any weather. The architecture is inspiring and the city has a welcoming culture. You can go to a party knowing no one and leave with new friends.”

WHO’S YOUR MUSE?
“My high school friend Valentina always looked great and perfectly put together. I named a ring after her because it looks good on everyone.”

Advertisement

DO YOU HAVE A MOTTO?
“We’re always experimenting with some new idea that seems impossible. Around the o.ce we joke: ‘If it’s not complicated, we’re doing something wrong.’”

WHAT’S YOUR MOST UNUSUAL SOURCE OF INSPIRATION?
“I model our collection of Jewels for the Table on real food. I’ve been known to spend hours in Whole Foods looking for the perfect mushroom.”

{igallery id=1531|cid=1179|pid=6|type=category|children=0|showmenu=0|tags=|limit=0}

Continue Reading
Advertisement

SPONSORED VIDEO

Wilkerson Testimonials

Downsizing? Wilkerson Is Here to Help

Orin Mazzoni, Jr., the owner of Orin Jewelers in Garden City and Northville, Michigan, decided it was time to downsize. With two locations and an eye on the future, Mazzoni asked Wilkerson to take the lead on closing the Garden City store. Mazzoni met Wilkerson’s Rick Hayes some years back, he says, and once he made up his mind to consolidate, he and Hayes “set up a timeline” for the sale. Despite the pandemic, Mazzoni says the everything went smoothly. “Many days, we had lines of people waiting to get in,” he says, adding that Wilkerson’s professionalism made it all worthwhile. “Whenever you do an event like this, you think, ‘I’ve been doing this my whole life. Do I really need to pay someone to do it for me?’ But then I realized, these guys are the pros and we need to move forward with them.”

Promoted Headlines

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Subscribe


BULLETINS

INSTORE helps you become a better jeweler
with the biggest daily news headlines and useful tips.
(Mailed 5x per week.)

Facebook

Latest Comments

Most Popular