Gerard Yosca has been designing luxury fashion jewelry for the past 25 years. The signature style pieces, both modern and new yet timelessly classic, are a celebration of colors, shapes and scales worn by top celebrities, including Alicia Keys, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston, and Gwen Stefani.
We had the pleasure of interviewing Gerard and discovering a witty, funny, inspiring and creative man as well as a wonderful, brilliant designer.
What was your “a-ha moment”, the moment you realized jewelry design was your purpose?
My “a-ha moment” was really more of an “a-oh-no”! I had studied graphic design and advertising in school but found the field to be less creative than I expected. So the big idea was to go into fashion, something I had been into my whole life. When the reality of learning to drape and sew reared its ugly head, the plan had to be adjusted. I would figure out how to make the accessories, and then the clothes, which was the opposite of most other designers. I’ve just never gotten around to the clothing.
What is the creative and design process you go through when designing a new jewelry collection? Do you begin your creative journey from the season’s color palette or the shapes?
The journey every season starts in my head. I don’t use forecasters. Simultaneously, there are ideas of color palettes, themes and proportions. What I do is fashion. It must move forward. What colors am I feeling? Are they pale, muddied or saturated? Often a color I normally don’t have attraction to suddenly gets loveable. This season that color is teal. I’m nuts about it now. My eye has changed.
What’s the inspiration for your current collection?
My inspiration for this season came from a tiny photo of a painting in an old British design magazine. The artist is Howard Hodgkin. His paintings move off the canvas onto the frame. There is a blurring of boundaries. They take my breath away. In the collection, I’ve colored pieces in ways that are emotional, not logical or symmetrical.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
My design aesthetic. Complicated. It’s crucial that there is evidence of the hand. I love that you can tell that a real person created a piece. Let’s call it chic, but crafty.
What is your favorite part about creating jewelry? What is – or has been – your biggest challenge?
The hard part about my job is figuring out how to actually make what I see in my head. And that can be like reading smoke signals! Most designs change organically as I make them. There are so many decisions that have to be made to bring a design to life. Four, six or eight prongs to hold the stone. What chain, how long, where does it attach? More than the wearer could ever imagine.
In general – what is the Gerard Yosca design philosophy that has helped you be successful all these years?
My design philosophy is simple. Don’t make anything that you are not proud of – although the passing of time has a way of kicking you in the butt. Sometimes I look at an old design and wonder “What was I thinking”. But also, don’t be trendy. I’m never so “in” that I can be “out”. I like when you can’t tell if my pieces are contemporary or 40 year old flea market finds.
Aside from your own designs, what are some of your favorite pieces of jewelry, either ones that you own yourself or ones that you’ve seen?
Honestly, I’ve wanted a Cartier “love” bracelet since I was a kid. It was modern, graphic and it came with a screw driver. Really, how could it get any better?
Can you give us a hint of what you are working on for next season?
Next season I’m starting with a palette of grey, ivory, watery blue and brown. Looks like Spring before everything blooms.
Do you collect anything? If so, what do you collect?
Do I collect anything? Oh my God – you don’t want to ask that. Storage should be my middle name.