Bucherer is one of Europe’s leading jewellers. For their new coloured gemstone collection “Peekaboo” they partnered with jewellery designer Yunjo Lee, a native South Korean living and working in New York.
Yunjo Lee, what does jewellery mean to today’s modern woman?
Jewellery is not really a status symbol anymore. It is another way of expressing yourself and your emotions. With your jewellery, you can show who you are. This is how I approached the design of “Peekaboo”.
For “Peekaboo” you chose Marie Antoinette as an inspiration. Why her?
To me she is a timeless and powerful icon. Her unique personality reflects Bucherer Fine Jewellery’s contemporary vision of women perfectly: modern women who fully embrace their femininity and draw their radiant aura from the effortless combination of fragility and strength.
What challenges did you face while designing this filigree collection?
I drew up countless sketches during the design process. Sometimes the adjustments were minimal. I would change one tiny little detail that then altered the whole appearance. There was zero compromise – that’s what made the collaboration with Bucherer so magical. It is not easy to translate a design from 2D to 3D and then find the right gemstone to make it into the perfect piece of jewellery. Bucherer supported me during every step of the development process and, in the end, we achieved what we had envisioned.
Do you travel a lot?
My work as a designer requires me to travel a lot, of course. I visit many cultural events around the globe. On a personal level, I visit Venice every other year for the Biennale – Venice is my absolute favourite city. As I am very dedicated to my creativity, my holidays too are all about design and art. I recently discovered Bali; I really think it’s paradise on earth. One of the places that I am really curious about and that is on top of my places-to-visit list is Copenhagen.
Do you remember your first flight?
My very first flight was actually the flight all the way from Seoul to New York together with my brother. I was 15 years old, carried my guitar on my back and we just boarded. Our mother accompanied us.
Did you always want to become a designer?
Up until my college years, my only goal was to become an artist. I actually came to New York to study fine arts at the Pratt Institute, where I focused on painting, drawing and sculpturing. As a fine arts graduate striving to be an artist, I wanted to be independent from my family, so I went looking for a job. Eventually I found one with a jeweller that was looking for someone with technical abilities as well as the creativity and sensibility of an artist.
Is there a person you look up to?
There are so many. I am not a political person at all but I do think about Hillary Clinton from time to time. I read her biography. I admire her as a woman, as a human being and as a mother. She never gives up and she never seems to surrender. She is a woman who chose to love and forgive. She really inspires me.
The pastel-coloured gemstone collection “Peekaboo” by Bucherer Fine Jewellery comes in pink gold with round-cut morganites, aquamarines and yellow beryls, embellished with brilliant-cut diamonds. It comprises 23 pieces including rings, bracelets, earrings, a sautoir, a necklace and a choker.
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