Handmade jewelry in gold or silver with colorful gemstones.
Valérie Lachuer creates in her Lisbon workshop custom-made jewelry or very small series.
Each piece of jewelry, entirely handmade by Valérie, is unique.
Valérie patiently imagines and creates jewelry in gold, silver and colored gemstones in her workshop in Lisbon.
She likes to play with light by working with the material, by creating volumes and contrasts, granules and textures.
In 2001 Valérie went to live in Africa, in Chad. She will stay there ten years. She discovered the world of metalworking with Chadian artisans: cast iron, Forge, cutting, filigree… tecniques that she would later reproduce in her workshop.
Back in Europe, in Portugal, Valérie followed a professional jeweler training at the Contacto Directo School then at the Centro de Joalharia de Lisboa and graduated in 2014.
Since 2019 Valérie has been selected to participate in Revelations the International Biennal of Crafts and Creation, at the Grand Palais in Paris ; the next edition of Révélations will take place at the Grand Palais Ephémère, at the Champs de Mars, in Paris in June 2022.
The BEAUTY of CONTRASTS
COLORS and MATERIALS
Silver and Gold
Valérie began by working mainly with silver and created jewelry, rings for the most part, with generous dimensions.
Then his work evolved towards increasingly fine volumes, jewels where every detail, every fine granule, every light texture takes on all its importance. Then the color of the traditional Portuguese 19.2 carat yellow gold imposed itself.
This hot gold, very close to Chadian gold, gives both a delicate old-fashioned character to the jewelry and, by contrast, allows a harmonious enhancement of the colored stones.
Valérie is particularly fond of tourmalines. She loves the vast palette of their tones and the inclusions often present in these gems. Colors and inclusions make each stone unique.
She likes to associate the softness of cabochons with the luminosity of faceted stones, to play with the shades of tourmalines or, on the contrary, to assume the contrasts of pinks and blues.
She makes each granule and welds them one by one. Each granule is unique, the desired result is not perfection but harmony, accuracy.
For some larger rings, the granules are arranged in rain until they form a gold or silver foam.
For her finer jewelry, the challenge for Valérie was to succeed in soldering a fine line of granules on the setting of the rings or on thin hoops, without these granules being held by any support, as if in suspension.
The desired result is the simplicity and lightness of the design.
Valérie rarely polishes her jewelry, she prefers to play with materials.
She creates different finishes to gently capture the light and give depth to the jewel through the effects of contrasts.
A texture made at the stall on the setting brings a soft luminosity around each stone and highlights the softness of the cabochons.
The ring of the rings is most often sanded manually by crossing the ridges on the metal.
The areas close to the granules are sanded uniformly in order to obtain a matte finish which contrasts with the fine granules which are themselves always polished.
The ring edges are also polished to create a contrast and ensure optimal comfort.
The Creative Process
The African influence is strongly present in Valérie's work. The fine metal granules are still present, of course for many reminiscent of antique jewelry, but mainly for Valérie African jewelry.
Valérie very rarely uses the technique of sculpting jewels in wax, she does not work from 3D software and goes very little through the drawing stage. She imagines and creates each piece of jewelry by directly manipulating the metal.
His work is manual and closely linked, physically, to the material.
Each piece takes shape little by little through the manipulation and progressive shaping of the metal. A basic idea around a gem always changes during the creation of the gem. The final jewel invariably differs from the original project.
What allows Valérie to find the right place for her creativity in working with metal is the slowness of the process, the need to anneal, then beat, then to anneal the metal again to shape it. This slow imposed rhythm gives him time to think about the harmony and the details of the future jewel which takes shape little by little.
Each part of the jewel, each detail is thought out and produced with patience to create volumes and contrasts, combining softness and luminosity.
Selection of stones, shaping of the metal, choice of size and arrangement of granules, application of different textures ... a long, patient and delicate work of research for harmony of colors, materials and volumes