Jewellery Designer Melanie Georgacopoulos Takes Pearl Jewellery Design into Exciting and Uncharted New Horizons
This year, M/G TASAKI celebrates its tenth anniversary with the launch of two brilliant new jewellery collections- TRIPLE PEARL and SQUARE LEAF. The M/G TASAKI jewellery line is an ongoing collaboration between London- based jewellery designer Melanie Georgacopoulos and world renowned Japanese pearl jewellery brand TASAKI.
For the past ten years, M/G TASAKI has challenged all preconceived ideas, in brilliant and often unorthodox ways, of how pearl jewellery should look and be worn. Every piece of jewellery in this line is a statement of Melanie’s vivid and daring artistic expression. Pearls are showcased in never-seen-before avatars. Often sliced, faceted or enveloped in 18k gold, the pearls in every M/G TASAKI piece reveal another side to the story of this luminescent gem.
Gone are the traditional round orbs worn as single strands. M/G TASAKI jewels are rebellious, edgy and very contemporary. But the true beauty of these pieces lies in the harmony between the singularly precise workmanship of the TASAKI atelier and Melanie’s unconventional and fiercely minimalist designs.
Her two new jewellery collections for M/G TASAKI are just as exceptional. The Triple Pearl collection gives graduated pearls a whole new meaning. The design centres around three, or triple, pearls of different hues, with progressively smaller pearls nestled onto larger ones. This is a breathtaking jewellery that makes us reflect, not just on the audacity of the design but on the sheer dynamics of making it into reality. The other collection, Square Leaf, is also quite remarkable. In this collection, our focus is equally divided between two jewellery materials – gold and pearls. It is proactive in that it takes the simple concept of pearls set in gold and turns it on its head. Here we see a square “leaf” of 18K gold set on a pearl. As collections which commemorate ten years of M/G TASAKI, Triple Pearl and Square Leaf not only celebrate the stunning partnership between Melanie Georgacopoulos and TASAKI, but give us a taste of what’s to come in the next ten years.
There has been talk of late about the “renaissance of pearls,” and a resurgence of interest in making pearls a “modern gem.” The truth is, pearls have always been around and have been loved and worn by a devoted group of jewellery lovers. However, if one is looking for an authentic “Pearl Renaissance” jewellery artist, look no further than Melanie Georgacopoulos. It is in her work with pearls (and mother-of-pearl) where a true “pearl renaissance” is taking place. The M/G TASAKI line is nothing if not ground breaking and we, as jewellery lovers, are all the richer for it.
I recently chatted with Melanie about her ten years at the helm of M/G TASAKI, her two new anniversary collections and how she has seen herself change and develop as a jewellery artist over these past ten years.
When did you first realize you wanted to work with pearls and what drew you to these gems?
I started working with pearls during my MA Studies at the Royal College of Art. I was really curious about what a pearl looks like on the inside so I sliced one and was so captivated by the beautiful growth circles I discovered inside that I decided to continue exploring them. A couple of years later as my passion for them grew and I sold more and more pieces I decided to start my own brand with innovative pearl jewellery as its focus.
Your collaboration with TASAKI as a jewellery designer began a decade ago with your own M/G TASAKI Collection. What have been your most memorable moments working with TASAKI over these past 10 years?
So many really! Working with a really big company across the other side of the world is so challenging and rewarding at the same time! My favourite moments are when I see the prototypes after months of discussions and they look exactly as I imagined them or when I hear about how well a particular piece has sold. The longevity of my collaboration with TASAKI means that we have established a very good working relationship which enables me to explore and dive deeper into my ongoing pearl exploration.
How have you seen yourself change as a jewellery designer since your very first jewellery collection at TASAKI?
I have refined all aspects of how I work, how I deliver designs, how I communicate my concepts and for my own brand I have allowed myself to be more free and take more risks. I think what draws people to my jewellery (for my own brand as well as M/G TASAKI) is that they never know what to expect so I want to keep surprising them!
Your jewellery pieces are not only future heirlooms, but they also push the envelope on how pearls should be worn today. In fact, they make us look at pearls as a very versatile and modern gem material. What inspires you the most in your jewellery design and what is your design process?
That is exactly what keeps me motivated and interested, to keep exploring and pushing my imagination, to open doors without knowing what is behind them. As for my process, I always start with sketching and refining ideas on paper before working on prototypes. I recently bought a 3D Laser prototyping machine which allows me to further work on a sample before sending it off to be made so I solve a lot of issues and improve the design if needed before investing in the actual piece. As I progress my aim is to make less but more complex and sophisticated designs, I feel the time is right to offer a more individual aesthetic to clients, to people who are looking for that one special piece that captures their imagination.
Your Triple Pearl Collection, which commemorates your 10th anniversary at TASAKI has me absolutely captivated. The sheer perfection and uniqueness of the pieces, I feel, tells a very interesting story which is punctuated by lots of hard work and perseverance. Did you face any challenges in bringing this jewellery collection from concept to reality?
Every Collection brings challenges because we try out new processes . But the point is to make it look easy and seamless. And this is where the incredible expertise of TASAKI really shows, as they manage to produce even the most challenging ideas that I present to them. For this particular collection we had to ensure that we could source enough pearls in those very specific hues and that each pearl fitted perfectly into the other one. When a design is so minimal it really has to be perfectly made.
I am equally enchanted by the beauty and minimalism of your new Square Leaf Collection. The contrast between the movement in the gold and the stillness of the pearl is breathtaking. What was the inspiration for this exceptional jewellery design?
I am generally very drawn to geometric forms and this collection really is about translating the idea of a square and a circle into a piece of jewellery . The square is the gold sheet which wraps around the circle, which is the perfect white pearl. Once again the fact that each piece is composed of just two elements, means that it has to be executed to perfection.
Thank you so much Melanie for answering my questions. I can’t wait to visit London and meet you as well as see your beautiful and avant garde pearl jewellery pieces in person 😊
Featured Image: Triple Pearl Ring, Triple Pearl Collection, M/G TASAKI