Last week we reported that jeweler Kristine Dee collaborated with her good friend and fellow designer Paul Syjuco on Deux Yeux, a two-part jewelry collection that presents their respective takes on ancient court jewelry. Paul focused on the famed jewels of the Mughal dynasty from the mid-1500s to the late 16th century. Their historic jewelry are prominent for their opulent Islamic and Hindu motifs.
"I took inspiration from Mughal jewelry—really far out, priceless, national budget-crippling pieces of the Maharajas that are short of impossible to replicate at present. It was a period of excess and opulence that was really unheard of," Paul tells us.
"I'm sort of a history nerd and I've always been so fascinated by the romance and crazy stories from the old world," he continues. "And so for this collection I really think the old world feel came through, or at least that's what I wanted to bring out, though still keeping with my design aesthetic to streamline. It was a bit of a challenge as most of the period pieces I based my designs on were really huge body pieces and head (turban) gear. But it was an interesting process in that even selection of the types of stones and the cuts and the shapes were considered."
Read on to find out more about Paul as a designer, and don't forget to click on the photo gallery to see his Deux Yeux collection.
What was your point of realization when you knew you wanted to design jewelry?
I'm actually a third generation jeweler. After university, I started out as a stock market analyst and then moved to consumer finance. After a few years doing that, I just really needed to do something that involved some creative output, [but] not to be a designer per se. So I got into one of the family businesses for its potential. I then took up gemology and jewelry design. The latter really helped me put my ideas on paper more fluently, and [helped me] think more three-dimensionally. I didn't really seek to be a designer, but I guess it just happened for me in that it was part of the job as a whole. It's been 11 years since.
How would you define your aesthetic, and your design perspective?
I really think about my pieces. I refine them quite a bit. I like things clean and streamlined. Very deliberate. I could make things glamorous and out there but I think majority of the things I design have a sort of subdued luxury feel to it, which all the more works with my focus on producing wearable pieces.
What do you find is the best thing about designing jewelry?
When I design for somebody or when I do a bespoke piece, it really is the greatest feeling to see them really appreciating the end product and for them to actually wear it.
What kind of jewelry do you love to see a woman wearing?
I like it when women mix it up a bit. Things don't necessarily have to match all the time. So whether it's a rope necklace or a cocktail ring or cuff worn all together, if it doesn't look contrived at all and they're really rocking it, I find that really sexy.
What are you in the mood to see, in terms for jewelry, this season?
More movement, more colors, more wit. Though fine jewelry design tends to focus on being contemporary than seasonal, really.
If you had to pick, what is your favorite piece from Deux Yeux, and why?
The Y-necklace of faceted spinel beads with the lemon topaz and honey quartz drops; I just love the feel of this piece. I find it quietly extravagant. There's a rawness to it but it's still sophisticated. The stones are faceted but retain the general shape of the rough and I can just imagine using diamonds of these sizes back in the day.
What are you looking forward to in the year to come, both personally and professionally?
Maybe go somewhere I've never been to before. Just to open the mind a bit more. To be inspired. I've also been considering opening a new showroom somewhere but things have yet to come together in that aspect.