For Yves Kamioner, jewelry design is all about the woman — the shape of her neck, the length of her fingers, the shine of her skin. “I’m a voyeur,” says the third-generation Belgian jeweler, describing a typical client consultation. “I help them play and forget everything they know about jewelry.”
Kamioner’s new collection — available exclusively at Frasca Jewelers (73540 El Paseo, Palm Desert) — reveals rich narratives through a diversity of materials and treasures he mines from around the globe. In addition to gold and other precious metals, his necklaces, bracelets, rings, and earrings might integrate antique buttons from Japan, “happy” pink coral, South Sea pearls, carved rubellite, sea-green aquamarine from Brazil, rutilated quartz, carved jade, or rosewood.
He embellishes many pieces with storytelling objects, such as old menuki, Japanese ornaments once tucked into the grip wrapping of a samurai sword. “It’s one inch of bronze, gold, and silver with history,” Kamioner says. “It was once in the hand of a man who went into battle. [Clients] love to know the story.
“Women are more interested in color and feeling than carats, weight, and provenance,” he continues, holding up a chain made of 1890s vulcanite (an early form of plastic) originally worn for mourning. “They know so much.”
Kamioner, a part-time Palm Springs resident who won the prestigious De Beers Diamonds International Award with his diamond-encrusted pocket-handkerchief brooch, fine-tunes his aesthetic by continually training his eye, looking at art and objects in the world’s best museums.
The result offers a distinctive whimsical quality that merrily veers from the homogenized look of many traditional collections.
Photo by Ethan Kaminsky