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Staying Hungry with Fantastic Jeweller Nadine Ghosn

Staying Hungry with Fantastic Jeweller Nadine Ghosn

Fine jeweller Nadine Ghosn’s keen eye for turning everyday foodstuff and objects into precious art has made her the go-to designer for the world’s hottest celebrities.

If few people are able to number Beyoncé and Karl Lagerfeld among their first clients, fine-jeweller Nadine Ghosn can. The globetrotting entrepreneur set up her business in 2016 and has since seen Pharrell, Nigo and Drake knocking on her door. When Drake commissioned a 50-carat-diamond dog-leash chain for his album For All the Dogs, Ghosn’s fame skyrocketed along with it. And most recently on her Instagram page, she shared a sneak peek of a second commission she’s done for rapper Lil Yachty, a Crayola version of her beloved pencil-bangle design.

Over a video call, Ghosn says she never tires of talking about Beyoncé. “People need to understand that, at the time, I had no clue how to build a brand. I was sitting at home in New York, sketching and manifesting what I wanted to achieve within five years. I put down the four stores I thought I wanted to be in, like Colette, Bergdorf and Bon Marché. Then I put down the people I thought I’d die to see wear my pieces, super-aspirational people like Beyoncé, Karl Lagerfeld and Rihanna. And the craziest thing is that everything on that list happened within the first year.”

She laughs, adding, “When Karl Lagerfeld sent me a cheque, I didn’t want to cash it, I just wanted to frame it. My dad was like, just take a picture of it, but please cash it.”

Nadine Ghosn
Nadine Ghosn

Born in the US to Lebanese-Brazilian parents, Ghosn has lived between Beirut, Tokyo, Paris, New York and London. Her rapid rise could be credited to her insatiable drive, a passion for jewels, and an exacting vision of what she wanted to achieve – “I had too much of an appetite,” she enthuses. Ghosn was working under luxury powerhouse Hermès when a chance trip to Lebanon, where she was looking for jewellery for her sister, set her on the path to becoming a designer. 

“The atelier I was visiting told me they were losing craftsmen,” she says. “And I’ve been working two years in a company who valued craftsmen, retained know-how, and protected all these factories during the recession. In my mind, that felt like the perfect opportunity.”

Can You Hear Me? [Karl  Edition] by Nadine Ghosn
Can You Hear Me? [Karl
Edition] by Nadine Ghosn

She’d pay these two craftsmen so they could keep their business running, and in return they’d teach her about the industry. “Bring me in-house and let me learn,” she says. “Instead of paying for a class in the States, this felt more aligned with my values and it made a lot of sense.”

From that moment on, there was no turning back. Ghosn has a real knack for taking ordinary, throw-away objects and making them extraordinary. Her inspirations on the outset are simple, but belie incredible technique and craftsmanship – and, most importantly, speak to the current generation. Take the Life Cycle Chain, for example, which is Ghosn’s precious take on the bike chain. “We broke a bike chain to understand how we could do it. Our final version has 380 parts to it,” says Ghosn “Many of the collections you see today are the fifth iteration of something. My process is also to make things out of gold because I wanted to see how the final product would look like. And then I’d melt it and recreate it.”

LifeCycle Chain necklace
LifeCycle Chain necklace by Nadine Ghosn

As an ode to childhood, Ghosn has created Lego-block rings and stationery-inspired bangles and bracelets that are precious versions of pencils, Bic pens and paper clips. Her hamburger stack is another defining piece. The award-winning ring features seven rings stacked on top of each other, with a top bun with sesame and ketchup detail, melted cheese, meat patty, lettuce, onion and tomato, and a bottom bun with mustard detail. Pharrell became such a fan of the piece he asked Ghosn to create a jumbo-sized burger-and-fries pendant set that he sold exclusively through his Joopiter auction platform.

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“I’m a huge foodie,” she confesses. “And I think anyone who’s ever lived in Japan for an extended time can’t not be.” Her On a Roll collection is her tribute to Japan’s food culture, replete with wasabi rings, edamame and maki roll charms in gold and gemstones. 

Veggie Burger by Nadine Ghosn
Veggie Burger by Nadine Ghosn

Did Ghosn’s love for jewellery spark as a child? Yes, but she can’t remember exactly why. Perhaps it was a childhood board game called Pretty Pretty Princess that started it all. “You win pieces of jewellery like the tiara, the earrings, the rings and so on. I think deep down inside, there’s still a little bit of that game inside of me,” Ghosn says, laughing. But whenever her father travelled, she’d always ask for a jewellery souvenir, unlike her siblings who asked for books or dolls. “You’ll see pictures of me age three or four, completely decked out in jewellery.”

These days, Ghosn is headquartered in Singapore, continuing to create one-of-a-kind treasures that are as playful as they’re exceptional. She doesn’t have a physical store – “I’m still a one-woman show and I don’t make huge volumes” – but where’s the need for that in this digital age? Ghosn is in town this month to showcase her designs to interested clients. “I’m here during Art Basel because I don’t see myself translating creativity into fine jewellery, but I find there’s an artistic component to it where there’s an overlap in clientele. My pieces aren’t exactly something that goes unnoticed. They’re a bit like sculptural art, love it or hate it.” 

Source: Prestige Online

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