After receiving her degree in Fashion Design from ESMOD Beirut and working with famous fashion designers like Alain Milki and Rabih Keyrouz, Cynthia Raffoul shifted gears and applied her imagination, thrive, passion and dreams to the world of jewelry.
Cynthia’s drift to jewelry was not a radical change. After receiving a request to draw some jewelry pieces, she realized the stories, emotions and beauty hidden in the world of gems. Hand-made by professional Lebanese artisans, each collection she crafts tells a different story narrated by the wearer.
Kamsyn was warmly welcome by Cynthia to know more about her love for jewelry and the story behind “Caramel”, her new collection.
Coming from a Fashion Design background, you saw a lot of similarities in designing clothes and jewelry, but what makes them different? What made you go for jewelry?
Fashion is seasonal and ephemeral. Every 6 months you discover a new collection and forget the previous. In fine jewelry, creating a new collection is emotional and not confined to automatically following the fashion trends. The process is much more intimate. What I personally thrive on and love passionately is the unique story of each piece. It can be precious, personalized as well as timeless.
You have a unique signature that is the spiral ring design, what inspired you to create it ?
Fine jewelry pieces are destined to be passed on from a generation to the other. To symbolize time & the universe vortex, I created a special ring with a spiral shape. The ring evolves with you and on you, so you can easily hand it over to the next dimension that moves from as above so below.
You recently launched a « yummy-to-wear » collection called “Caramel”, which was inspired by silky, honey-like Caramel. What’s the story behind it?
I wanted to create a collection easily worn that would feel like « hand candy ». Jewelry and sweets are women’s “soft spot” . So I experimented merging them together. During my research, I discovered that “caramel” was one of the first candy pieces created in history, made purely from the fusion of sugar and fire. Its name derives from the Arabic language. “Al Kurat” stands for the smooth texture of caramel with a few added secret ingredients. This is a colorful way to reflect our personal interpretation of tasty caramel sweetness.
What kind of women (or even men) do you see wearing “Caramel”?
A person who has a strong character but- at the same time is elegant, refined and carries a typically oriental curiosity or joie de vivre.
You said jewels are full of stories transmitted from one generation to another. What story do you transmit?
Life is full of precious stories. Through a jewelry piece we can be reminded of our roots so we can project ourselves up to the stars. I personally believe in the importance of staying ground while creating a better future as an individual & as a whole.
You’re French-Lebanese, yet you chose Lebanon to kick-start your business. What made you opt for Lebanon so you could open your little gem here?
Lebanon is full of inspiration, but most of all, we have exceptional craftsmen and women with ancestral knowledge. It’s our responsibility as designers to encourage their existence and continuity as otherwise our rich craftsmanship heritage would be forever lost.
It would be very sad for me not to work with our local artisans and leave them and Lebanon behind. As designers; we try to inject a new spirit and jointly co-craft & co-curate new ideas, so their techniques can evolve over time and from generation to generation. We help in job creations so that all the expertise and know-how won’t disappear but rather evolve continuously.
Would you ever explore a possible collaboration with your brother David, from David & Nicolas, to create a new collection or a unique piece?
Yes certainly, why not ?
You’re a young, ambitious and very creative jewelry designer that has been in the jewelry industry for more than 6 years. What advice would you give to someone who is interested in getting into jewelry business?
Be very patient, creative and most of all be yourself because jewelry can only be the expression of the fire in your heart.
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Kamsyn, July 2016