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Meet Pauline Laigneau

The founder of Gemmyo and podcast Le Gratin shares her artistic inspirations

Meet Pauline Laigneau - illustration 1

Pauline Laigneau

Pauline Laigneau created Gemmyo after she realised that the jewelry market lacked businesses that were producing unique, personal pieces which still maintained the same level of luxury as traditional brands. Since Gemmyo's creation in 2011, Pauline has revolutionized the jewelry world, and gained notoriety not only from her business but from her popular podcast, Le Gratin. We sat down with Pauline to discuss her business, her podcast, her artistic inspirations and her advice to other budding entrepreneurs. 

1. Hello Pauline! After you finished studying literature at the ENS and HEC in Paris, you founded your jewellery company, Gemmyo. What made you want to start your own business?

I started this crazy adventure just 10 years ago when my husband asked me to marry him. Neither of us inherited any jewelry from our families, so we decided to choose my ring together. But at that moment we had no idea how difficult finding the perfect ring would be. You see, in most established jewelry houses they sell exquisite pieces that you want to purchase, but offer a buying experience that can feel a bit snobby, condescending and generally quite intimidating. The jewelry is almost exclusively made using white gold and diamonds, but because that wasn't what I was looking for, I didn't feel like my needs were being met. Instead I needed something else, a luxury brand that could tailor to me, and offer pieces I felt expressed who I was on the inside. We realized that this type of company wasn't on the market yet, and that it needed to be invented - thus, the creation of Gemmyo!

2. Since 2018, you have been sharing advice and anecdotes to help others succeed on your podcast, Le Gratin. Some notable guests include the photographer Loïc Lagarde, the founder of Fubiz, Romain Colin, artists Natacha Birds and ORLAN. Who made the biggest impression on you? And who would be your dream guest?

That's so hard to say! I was really charmed by ORLAN, a female artist whose commitment to her craft I absolutely admire. She has really dedicated her life to her artwork. Others who made a strong impression are Alain Dominique Perrin, the famed CEO of Cartier and founder of the Cartier for Contemporary Art Foundation, Bertrand Piccard, who flew across the world in a balloon, and admiral Loic Finaz. There are so many people I would love to interview, the list is long!

Meet Pauline Laigneau - illustration 1
Meet Pauline Laigneau - illustration 1

A ring from the PrimaRose collection / Pauline Laigneau

3. You've also expressed interest in literature in the “Bookclub" section of your podcast, do you have any art texts to recommend to us?

There are three that I am particularly fond of: Art and Therapy by Alain de Botton and John Armstrong is very interesting and easy to read. I also love Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson and Concerning the Spiritual in Art by Wassily Kadinsky.

4. Jewelry is undeniably an art form. How do you channel art through your jewelry at Gemmyo?

At Gemmyo, art is expressed through our creative process and through our inspirations. For example, for the PrimaRose collection, we were really inspired by the art of dance, and saw a link between this and the meticulousness that our artisans employ to shape metal with the utmost precision. Similarly, jewelry is an art form that has to toe the line between beauty and practicality - in the same way that our final product must be durable yet aesthetically pleasing, dance must also be beautiful whilst being realizable for the dancers. I think that one of the beautiful things about the nature of art is just being able to create links between areas, concepts and artists which seem at first to have nothing in particular in common. 

5. During the design process of your jewelry collections, are you inspired by any particular artworks, artists or art movements?

Our Art Deco collection is inspired by Art Deco, obviously, by incorporating its bold and distinctively vintage style. For our EverBloom collection, we sought out our inspiration in nature: the shine on a rose's petals in the morning sun, a meadow in summer, the leaf of a tree as it falls. In terms of recreating these soft colors, we wanted to emulate Impressionist art in a way that would instantly bring Monet's Water Lilies to mind.

Meet Pauline Laigneau - illustration 1
Meet Pauline Laigneau - illustration 1

Listen to Paulin's podcast, Le Gratin, on Apple podcasts / Pauline's guide to choosing your engagement ring

6. What's your personal relationship with art? Do you collect artworks, and if yes what pieces would we find in your house?

I have always loved art because of the way it can evoke emotion and self-reflection. My mother was a great art lover and had her own collection. From a young age she taught me, so I developed a personal interest and understanding of art. Now I have my own little collection with pieces from artists like Valerie Belin, Antonella Bussanich and Marina della Valle. For me, art is a way to self-reflect and rediscover the world.

7. What are your favorite artistic or cultural sites in the world? 

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and it's building designed by Mario Botta is absolutely breathtaking. The Guggenheim in New York, for its architecture and its apt selection of artworks. I'm also a bit of a traditionalist - I have a weak spot for the Picasso Museum in France. In terms of contemporary art, I prefer to discover new galeries.

8. With your mentoring class “Bootcamp" and your training programs, you have a clear commitment to encouraging others to express their inner artist. What advice would you give to someone who wanted to launch their own projects?

It's an interesting question. First of all, I would advise them to establish their brand image so they have a clear understanding of their business model, but also to understand how they differ from other businesses. I created my training program to help businesses understand this. Whether you are a big business or one that's just getting started, every company needs a vision, a strategy and a business model in order to avoid going under. Next, I'd say it's important not to be too hasty with your business plan - remember that it's a marathon, not a sprint.


Their favourite artworks

Our recommendations Philippe Ramette, Exploration rationnelle des fonds sous-marins: la carte, Photography

Philippe Ramette

Exploration rationnelle des fonds sous-marins: la carte, 2006
39.4 x 31.5 inch
Photography

$12,683

Our recommendations Invader, Space Waffle, Sculpture

Invader

Space Waffle, 2011
5.9 x 8.7 x 0.8 inch
Sculpture

$17,948

Our recommendations Raoul Dufy, Les Remparts, Painting

Raoul Dufy

Les Remparts, 1949
19.7 x 25.6 x 0.4 inch
Painting

25,000 - $ 50,000

Faryal Ahmad, New Day, Painting

Faryal Ahmad

New Day, 2021
40.2 x 15.7 x 2 inch
Painting

$1,526

Arman, Crossfire, Print

Arman

Crossfire, 1979
30 x 22 inch
Print

$1,200

Pierre Soulages, Lithographie N. 15, Print

Pierre Soulages

Lithographie N. 15, 1964
25.8 x 19.7 inch
Print

$28,717

Robert Rauschenberg, Pre-Morocco, Print

Robert Rauschenberg

Pre-Morocco, 1983
42 x 29.5 inch
Print

$6,500

André Masson, Sans titre, Fine Art Drawings

André Masson

Sans titre, 1946
12.2 x 9.4 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$2,991

Cheryl Culver, Low Sun, Painting

Cheryl Culver

Low Sun, 2021
28 x 28 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$2,717