Founded in 2007 by Caroline Gaspard, the collections of the young French jewellery Maison AKILLIS embody the boldness and originality of their creator who has combined traditional know-how and avant-garde techniques. Let’s meet with a modern day adventurer.
AKILLIS, French fine jewelry house
Hello Caroline Gaspard! Please tell us more about yourself and about your career?
I have a rather unusual career history actually! I’m not afraid to admit I’m a real tomboy! I like speed, sport, danger and traveling around the world. I love an adventure any time, and I’m eager to embrace life to the fullest! I have always been attracted to fashion, design, learning and discovering all kinds of different things. This being said, I had a rather strict and traditional education in the countryside of northern France. My parents pressured me to succeed in school, so I prepared for that and eventually graduated from HEC business school.
How did you get into jewellery?
My mother always encouraged me to express my creativity. She also passed on her love for jewels. I remember that we used to have a diamond dealer in our family friends, and he used to show us different gems. He often gave me some of the smallest stones and I would start creating my own jewellery as a hobby. Jewellery became my passion but I did not match with the traditional jewels of the time. I wanted more rock’n’roll designs but most of all I wanted to wear the jewels, not to leave them in a chest waiting for special occasions! That’s why, right after my studies I decided to launch my own brand, Akillis.
You created Akillis 10 years ago, what were your motivations?
I wanted to create collections never seen before. I’m not into imitation. I wanted to create unique jewellery for people who are not afraid to display their singularity. As opposed to the strict habits of some High Jewellery Houses, I consider that each person deserves to have a custom piece of jewellery. This explains why we have many requests for customisation: our clients adhere to our philosophy.
Which values are meaningful to you?
You have to go after your dreams and keep a positive outlook on life no matter what! In the same way, I encourage creativity, freedom and audacity, obviously. You must not look back on your life with regrets.
How do you work? Where do you get your inspiration from?
The inspiration can strike any time. Travelling can be a source of inspiration, but it can also come from an object, a detail… I am very curious. I read a lot and everything inspires me. The idea of the Puzzle collection for example, came to me while I was flipping through a magazine about interior design. It’s the shape of a mirror that inspired me for this collection. For the Bang Bang collection, it’s the experience of a shooting range in Moscow: dressed in leather, I felt like a James Bond Girl … This collection is now our bestseller. Our slogan is “wear it do not use it”! No connotation or political claim here, but think about it as a reference to the cinematic universe and to the most famous spy on earth!
How do your personal experiences influence your work?
There are times when your senses are more alert and engaged in creativity. Travelling has that effect on me. The fine jewelery collection that will be released for the 10th anniversary of the brand is inspired by the ethnic and tribal encounters of my last journey.
AKILLIS, a bold jewelery house
Your creations are bold, to say the least. Do you have a taste for provocation?
The themes are audacious indeed and appeal to everyone, women and men alike. I like to reinvent a classic theme of jewellery: for example, the traditional « drop » motif has become a ball, concentric circles become targets. We recognise the snake’s scale but we can not distinguish its head or tail. The snake shell covers the jewellery of the Python collection as an armor for modern day warriors, aka today’s women. It is not a question of shocking but of thinking outside the box!
You describe yourself as an adventurer. Where have your latest adventures led you to?
My last adventures led me to Africa for a safari in Tanzania and Kenya where I traveled on foot and on horseback accompanied by a Maasai guide. It is an extraordinary experience due to its proximity to the tribes, the savannah and the wildlife. It has been a great source of inspiration for the new fine jewellery pieces that will be released at the end of the year.
How do you select your gems? Which is your latest favourite?
I purchase the stones myself, via wholesalers or at trade shows mostly. It happens that I have a crush on a specific gem. This is the case for a selection of Paraíba tourmalines of an incredible blue-green color that inspired me for the next high jewellery collection that you will discover at the end of 2017.
Where is your jewellery made?
All our collections are made in France, mainly in our own workshop based in Lyon. Our craftsmen perpetuate exceptional know-how and use traditional manufacturing processes, such as lost wax cast iron and the most advanced technologies, from laser welding machines to water wall polishers. This allows me to work directly on the design with our teams, magnify the brilliance of the gems that I select carefully and above all to ensure the very best quality of AKILLIS jewellery.
Who are the jewels AKILLIS for? What makes their singularity?
Our collections offer a wide range of themes and choices: everyone can find happiness! Our jewels are mixed, please men as well as women and even the youngest ones! In all cases, our jewelry is for people of character, who make their choices, women and men who like to differentiate while enjoying the beautiful objects.
Tell us about your new collections.
I wanted to work on a universal theme that is love, but with a rock’n’roll approach, far from traditional clichés. I also wanted to convey its dangerous aspect, and all that in a unisex jewel.
What are the ambitions for the near future and on the long term? What’s next?
We wish to be recognised as an original brand of French jewellery and continue our international expansion. We will open at the end of 2017 a new flagship store in Paris, located at 354 rue Saint Honoré. This new shop will present our latest collections and welcome our customers in the best conditions. We are also pleased to announce the opening of a store in Moscow, at the Tsum shopping center, at the end of the year.
Akillis has other ongoing development projects with local partners in Europe, Asia and the United States… and we will of course
332 Rue Saint Honoré
Ouvert du Mardi au Samedi de 12h à 19h
+ 33 (0) 1 42 96 47 20