Elisabeth Riveiro - a passionate Parisian jeweller "with heart and soul"
Am so thrilled to have had the chance to interview one of my favourite jewellery designers - Elisabeth Riveiro. I met Elisabeth more than ten years ago and instantly 'fell in love' with her pieces. I find her jewellery timeless, classic and fun at the same time.
Je suis tellement ravie d’avoir interviewé un de mes artisan bijoutier préféré- Elisabeth Riveiro. Je l’ai rencontrée il y a un peu plus de dix ans et immédiatement ses bijoux m'ont parlé. Je trouve ces bijoux intemporels, classic avec une touche de fun.
Tell me a bit more of your journey as an artisan- parlez moi de votre parcours d’artisan
In the 80's, during the school holidays, I created, with my brother, jewellery with resin and natural flowers that I would sell on the markets in July during the festival of Avignon.
That’s where I met the Artist and painter Ernesto Riveiro who was selling nickel silver amulets. In 1981 he started modelling and creating with wax a few pieces of jewellery in the shape of animals and I would then melt them in bronze, chisel, and solder and sell them.
Dans les années 80, pendant mes vacances scolaires, je créais avec mon frêre des bijoux en résine et fleurs naturelles que je vendais sur un marché artisanal au mois de juillet au festival d’Avignon. J’y ai rencontré l’artiste peintre Ernesto Riveiro qui lui, y vendait des petites amulettes en mailleshort. En 1981 , il a commencé à modeler en cire quelques bijoux en forme d’animaux et moi je me chargeai de les faire fondre en bronze, de les ciseler , de les souder et ....de les vendre.
Our first professional venture with 20 or so pieces was a great success.That's when I decided to set myself up as an Artisan and started to come to commercialise it.
I then learnt many of my skills from books, I learnt foundry with some sculptors and I followed some night classes in enamelware at L’école de Paris. I also learnt gilding and soldering.
I then bought all my equipment in 1985. Ernesto was passionate about his painting and I would in the evening whilst listening to jazz on the radio watch him sculpt wax or work metal. So I was learning everyday, he was the head and I was the hands. Every 3 to 4 years we would present a new collection. In 44 years of work we have created 800 or so models and I have only kept the ones that I really love.
Where do you get your inspiration from? D’où vient votre inspiration?
We got our inspiration by looking at books on animals, birds and fish and were attracted by the different forms and colours. The lost wax technique is a very old one, it was practiced in Africa and in South America and Asia for a very long time.
What are your favourite pieces to wear? Quelles pièces aimez vous porter?
Like many artists I wear very little jewellery. With the machines I use it’s not easy. I don’t even have pierced ears!
Comme la plupart des artisans, je porte peu de bijoux. Avec mes machines et mon travail, ce n’est pas facile. Je n’ai même pas les oreilles percées.
But what joy to see them worn -with each face and each body -corresponds a jewel.
I do have a little preference for enamelled pieces but I really love them all. In the next few years, I would love to learn painted enamelware. It's a technique in which the English are specialists and used for unique pieces.
When I first started I I thought I would work with gold. It’s a fabulous material to work with but I prefer to attract a wider clientele working bronze and silver to be able to live easier and have a regular income.
How Does the creation work? Comment créer vous vos pièces?
Although I’m fascinated by the creativity of Ernesto, I’ve had to put his creations into life. I think as myself as an artisan and I do everything from creating pieces, to the work, to all the other steps in the making process to the commercialisation. It definitely occupies my days.
With each collection we anticipate the clients reaction. We have made 2 to 3 collections with different materials that haven’t worked. But we continue to sell pieces from the very beginning. They’ve nearly become "vintage" pieces and still sell today.
I love my workshop that’s where I feel the best. I also work with sculptors on their jewellery and with some museums too.
What are your favourite places in Paris? Vos endroits favoris à Paris
Since the pandemic there are so many. I love cafés, bars, restaurants where we set the world to rights. I love cinemas and theatres. And I really love walking in the streets but my most favourite of all are museums. There are all sorts of little specialist museums and they’re really beautiful to visit. Then there is the Pompidou centre, the musée d’Orsay, musée du quai Brandy and the Palais de Tokyo. How I miss these places! I also love Madrid, Rome, Florence, London and Berlin.
Who inspires you? Qui vous inspire?
Ernesto Riveiro of course!
I also love figurative and abstract painting - there are so many artists I could name but I am attracted to Mondrian and Rothko. For contemporary artists Baselitz, Kiefer, Soulages, De Kooning to name only a few.
For jewellery I love Van der Straeten, Marion Stern of Francoise Montague and Jérémie Barthod.
What makes your pieces different and stand out? Qu’est ce qui fait que vos pièces sont différentes et uniques?
I have many clients that have followed me all along my journey and many have a little collection of my pieces. Our jewellery are not copies but interpretations of styles from all continents. We can think that they were created in the dawn of time.
J’ai beaucoup de bon retour d’impression des clients qui me connaissent depuis le début. Certains ont monté une véritable petite collection de mes pièces au fil du temps.
Certain pieces may seem easy and simple but there is nothing more difficult than to make simple. We constantly simplify shapes without looking for perfection. Many clients tell me how they came across my jewellery and I love hearing their stories.
I love talking to you, I so much love your passion and I love showing your jewellery to my clients and audience. J’adore discuter avec vous- votre passion est contagieuse et j’aime la partager avec mon audience.
For the past 44 years I’ve worked with passion and I’m attached to each piece. I love them even more since they are creations from Ernesto. I have appropriated them with heart and soul.
J’ai travaillé avec passion pendant 44ans, je me sens attachée à chaque bijou , je les aime d’autant plus facilement que ce sont des créations d’Ernesto. Et que je me les suis appropriée « corps et âme ».
You can look at our amazing collection of Elisabeth Riveiro here- it's time to treat yourself right?