MOTHER WATER

Czech jeweller and goldsmith Antonie Lecher talks to SWARM Mag about how to put an emphasis on sustainability around precious materials, why is water her inspiring element and explains the roots of the newest Nacre collection reminiscent of structures found on coral reefs.

“We were born to admire the natural beauty of existence.”

Antonie Lecher

In 2018, you established your studio focusing mainly on custom production and working with precious materials. What led you to jewellery and what is your primary motivation?

My journey to jewellery started as a hobby without much ambition. In 2013, the hobby turned into studying conceptual jewellery and art at universities in the Czech Republic and Barcelona. After graduating from university, faced with the question of what to do next in life, I decided to take some risks and go my own way. It seemed like the most sensible decision at the time – I had no idea what hard work was ahead of me. In 2018, I founded my own brand Antonie Lecher and decided to use my conceptual and analytical thinking from freelance work to create wearable jewellery made from fine natural materials. The most powerful motivation is to see when my risk-taking pays off, the brand grows, I see happy expressions on my clients’ faces and they are happy to come back.

In your work, you put emphasis on the ethics of jewellery making. What are your favourite materials to work with and where do you get them?

It is important to mention that because I do not focus on mass production, my brand can be already considered sustainable. I approach the design and construction of my jewellery in such a way that the client receives a timeless unique piece that will last many years. Simply put, a piece of jewellery that will not become a waste when the fashion season is over. My goal is not to create quantity but quality, and this is also related to the design, which should not primarily follow only trends. I try to work as much as possible with recycled gold and silver, which I buy from my suppliers or get from clients. In my portfolio, you will only see natural sea pearls, as 99.9% of the imported river pearls are from China and the way they are grown is very non-eco-friendly. You can read more about this topic on my blog. As for diamonds, I have my suppliers of natural stones from fair-mined mines or I also work with lab-grown diamonds. However, I am currently dealing with the problem that the production of lab-grown diamonds uses a huge amount of energy, so I am looking for a supplier that uses only renewable resources to grow them. Creating purely sustainable jewellery is a long haul and I put a huge amount of effort into it, it is important to me to create in a way that is not at the expense of others.

What experience in your professional life has pushed you forward the most?

It’s hard to mention just one thing. I feel that it is everything I’ve ever encountered in my life, the work I’ve done and the people I’ve met. All of these have in some way fundamentally influenced my brand and put it and me ahead of the curve. However, one major decision was reaching out to a great lifecoach and mentor, Anna Kemr, who helped me anchor some parts of my personality. As a result, my work has become much more confident and cohesive.

What is the main inspiration you always like to come back to?

As a kid, I wanted to be an oceanographer or an artist. Now I am an artist mostly drawing from oceanography. It’s a bit of a cliché but I get most of my inspiration from nature, which is absolutely perfect. I also combine natural and environmental themes with philosophical and historical ones. That and my current emotional state most often determine the form of my jewellery. I don’t like to be tied down, I like freedom, that’s why some jewellery also works as solitaires, each piece is a work of art I spend a lot of time on designing.

Could you introduce us to your latest collection, Nacre?

Water is seen as the beginning of existence, the symbol of birth, the source of life. It reflects our emotions and subconscious. In ancient times, people believed that the seas and oceans were dedicated to the gods, and the Nacre collection is a small sliver of divinity that you can keep with you at all times. The incorporated sea pearls only are a symbol of wisdom, power, happiness, reflecting the beauty of living beings and helping to find life’s balance and humility. The Nacre collection pays homage to life in the seas and oceans, reflecting purity, abundance, balance and generosity. A novel form of designer jewellery made from gold, silver and sea pearls, designed for comfortable everyday wear. Gradually, new jewellery pieces are loosely built upon and added to the collection. In mid-November, the entire collection will appear on my online shop.

Compared to your previous collections, Nacre is much more raw and darker. What made you change the morphology and visual concept of the whole product shoot?

When I completed my first face jewellery for the Nacre collection, I was thinking about the artistic concept of the shoot. I approached my photographer friends David Stejskal and models Dominik Julius Donáth and Albert Baťha who are great to work with and have fresh ideas. The jewellery itself looks very romantic, so our goal was to break that impression a little. We didn’t want to go down the route of a traditional fashion shoot, which aims to sell the product. The guys had the cool idea of taking inspiration from mythical mermaids and a bit of a fairy tale. The shoot, was really challenging because the boys couldn’t see at all through their contact lenses, I had to guide them through the difficult terrain and it was really cold to boot.

I like to play and I hate stereotypes, so I wanted to create premium jewellery that would be unique on the Czech market. The first sketches from the Nacre collection appeared back in 2020 during lockdown. I started experimenting with 3D technology and looking for inspiration in books about marine biology, while I was also very influenced by my trip to the mythical Sardinia. At that time, I worked a lot on myself and attended various shamanistic and psychedelic rituals, which made me more in touch with myself and also with nature. You could say that this is what has most reflected in the aesthetics of my current works.

Last question: What do you aspire to in your professional career?

In the future, I want to open my own workshop and showroom where all production and sales will be under one roof to help up-and-coming jewellers. My dream is to create a stable creative studio for people who enjoy their craft and have the desire to grow. To have capable and talented people around me who know what they want and go for it. To design a strong jewellery collection for a fashion brand such as the house of Balenciaga. Most of all to be healthy, happy and to constantly develop my creativity, to be able to realize all my ideas.

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Bio

Antonie Lecher was born in the Czech Republic. After studying conceptual jewellery and modern art in the Czech Republic and Barcelona, she decided to start her own brand in 2018. She creates mostly premium, designer jewellery made of precious materials. She mostly works with philosophical, environmental and historical themes that determine the aesthetic of her jewellery. By combining modern technology and traditional goldsmithing techniques, she creates original designer jewellery that aims to separate its owner from the masses. The emphasis is on wearability, originality, exclusive materials, thought and quality craftsmanship. You can meet Antonia Lecher in person at the SmetanaQ studio in Prague.

Credits

Designer / Antonie Lecher

https://antonielecher.com/

Interview / Kateřina Hynková

Translation / Františka Blažková

Nacre photoshoot

Concept: Antonie Lecher, David Stejskal, Dominik Julius Donath, Albert Baťha

Jewellery: Antonie Lecher

Foto: David Stejskal

Models: Dominik Julius Donath a Albert Baťha

Make-up: Mother nature

Rest photos from Antonie Lecher´s archive

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