Updated: Dec 15, 2020
10 QUESTIONS FOR CÉLINE CATALAA, FOUNDER OF FRENCH COLLECTION
CÉLINE, IN HER OWN WORDS...
My first career was in journalism and television, a world that doesn’t do women any favours!
By the time I hit 35, I had accumulated quite a bit of experience, spent some time in the US, and already felt like a Has-Been. The professional opportunities being offered to me were less and less interesting.
I needed to re-invent myself.
I turned to my friend and vintage dealer Christian Sicard. He knew I was interested in jewellery and accessories.
In my family, jewellery is something passed on from mother to daughter - I have vivid childhood memories of my mothers and grandmothers “treasure chests”. It’s from them that I inherited the sensitivity and affection for the soul of these small objects and jewels.
Christian believed in me and took me under his wing. Together we organised auctions at Druot ; at first, fashion and luxury accessories, and progressively we moved on to jewellery.
Contrary to my first career, the jewellery world is one that values experience, where knowledge makes you better and stronger. What a revelation!
While actively working as a consultant for auction houses, I created my company French Collection.
My personal favourites are the voluminous, shapely pieces of the 70’s and 80’s set with vibrant coloured stones. I travel all over the world to source pieces and exhibit at the Miami, New York and Hong Kong shows. I love my job and have never regretted the change.
Shown above: 1. A turquoise, chrysoprase, sapphire & diamond necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels 2. A yellow gold & diamond ring by Cartier Paris. Imgaes courtesy French Collection
1. WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Everything! The people around me, the book I’m reading, an exhibition…
I’m very curious and I don’t consider that to be a bad thing.
2. WHAT IS YOUR IDEA OF LUXURY?
My bicycle! When we moved to Amsterdam from Paris, I traded traffic and the metro for a bicycle.
Today it’s a luxury I couldn’t live without.
3. WHICH JEWELER OR WATCHMAKER DO YOU MOST ADMIRE, WHY?
Difficult, there are so many, but I would say Cindy Chao because she’s a woman - Glitterati requirement!
AND... I really loved her last collection at TEFAF.
4. IN YOUR NEXT LIFE YOU ARE A JEWEL OR OBJECT, WHAT ARE YOU, WHY?
Without hesitation, an antique ring - a jewel with an intimate story.
I would be the one my husband gave me for the birth of our son.
5. SET A DINNER TABLE FOR 6:
ALIVE OR DEAD - WHO ARE THE 5 MOST INTERESTING/FUNNY/TALENTED
INDUSTRY PEOPLE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE YOUR TABLE WITH?
Can I ask Coco Chanel to organize it for me and invite her friends?
6. YOUR DREAM JOB IT WEREN'T THIS ONE
This is my dream job; I can’t imagine any other.
7. YOUR GREATEST JEWELLERY/WATCH MEMORY/EXPERIENCE TO DATE?
My first show in Hong-Kong. A whirlwind, madness ... and some good old "beginners’ luck”.
8. YOUR FAVORITE GEMSTONE?
I don’t have a favourite stone. I like colours and combinations like amethyst and turquoise.
9. YOUR MOTTO FOR PROFESSIONAL SUCCESS?
Trusting your gut feeling that you’re in the right place at the right time.
10. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE STARTING OUT IN THE INDUSTRY?
Following the advice of my dealer friends, I started reading as many books about jewellery as I could. Go to auctions, don’t hesitate to hold and look at jewellery with a loupe. Be curious!
Find out more about Céline Catalaa