Interview

Karolin Van Loon

Five questions for a Belgian jewellery designer

photography by Lee Wei Swee
words by Karin Cuppens

As a child, Karolin already formed a crystal-clear vision about colours, materials, shapes and visual arrangements. Even though this determined Belgian designer originally aspired to become a medical lab analyst, she signed up for architecture and is now taking the jewellery scene by storm.

You studied architecture and ended up as a jewellery designer. Was this always your dream?
No, this wasn’t how I imagined my career in the beginning. I’ve always had an interest in nature, different textures and materials and especially colour. My mother told me that I was very fond of plants and flowers as a child, arranging them to form a bouquet. So, when I gave birth to my third child, I decided it was the right time to try something else. My husband already worked in the diamond business which made it easier for me to take the risk in developing my own brand. Yet, I would never describe myself as a jewellery designer. I feel more like an object designer. That is why I also prefer to be stocked by fashion boutiques instead of jewellery stores.


I feel as if I’m giving back to nature by creating something precious, beautiful and exclusive with agate.

How do you start creating a new collection?
Since I work with agate, a specific type of stone, I’m dependent on its natural production. Even if I have a certain colour or quantity in mind, it is not sure that I will be able to get my hands on it. But at the same time, that is what I love about this material. I feel as if I’m giving back to nature by creating something precious, beautiful and exclusive with agate.
Yet, I never work in terms of collections. I don’t follow the spring/summer and winter/fall logic. Firstly, because of the pressure. I do everything on my own and I can’t keep up with that pace. And secondly, because I can’t control the production of course.

Do you ever team up with other creators?

Definitely. But I don’t just collaborate with anyone, sorry if this sounds haughty (laughs). I like to maintain a certain level of exclusivity. That’s why I also like to handpick the boutiques where I get stocked. I’ve recently made a collection with the Renaissance store in Antwerp, called Suri. This was an intriguing experience because we can brainstorm together about new, innovative forms and shades.


My jewels are made to see the world. And especially to be worn on every occasion, even at the beach or while surfing.

How would you style your creations and do you have an all-time favourite piece?
I prefer to keep my styling neutral. I see my designs as a major part of my look. I would just combine one earring with jeans and a pair of sneakers. My jewels are made to see the world. And especially to be worn on every occasion, even at the beach or while surfing. My hero piece would be the black, round ring, even though it might be considered a commercial choice since it is the best-selling piece.

 

What is next for Karolin Studio?
I recently got a taste of the international scene in London. But I would only take this leap when everything feels just right: this means finding the stockists that could develop my vision as I see fit. So, I’m not in a rush. Besides my overseas ambition, I’m a firm believer of customising designs. I would love to organise workshops or trunk shows to get to the core of my clients wishes and jewellery desires and to share my story.

 

 Find out more about Karolin Studio on the designer page


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