Alexander ARNE: a Russian Jeweller with the European Approach

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Irina Kurbatova is the president of Alexandre Arne jewellery – a Russian brand with a completely European approach to fine jewellery making and branding. In this interview we talk out about the Russian jewellery market today, what makes ARNE stand out among the other brands, how the simple and stylish logo was created and, of course, where inspiration to make jewellery come from.

K.P.: What can you tell us about the state of the jewellery market in Russia today?

I.K.: Different brands are available on the Russian market, in independent stores as well as retail outlets, but the jewellery is usually produced outside of Russia. Factories within the country itself are usually ill-equipped to meet high standards and their staff do not tend to have the necessary qualifications to produce luxury jewellery. In fact, there are hardly any brands that are able to make jewellery themselves, so they order from suppliers. At Alexandre Arne, however, we are proud to have everything necessary for quality jewellery production and are able to provide the best service.

K.P.: So how would you compare yourselves to the other jewellery brands currently competing in the Russian market? What above all distinguishes ARNE?

I.K.: We belong to that very small group of high quality jewellery companies which produces a limited number of exclusive pieces each year whilst also being an atelier. We also differ from Russian companies in our European approach to jewellery making. Our most distinguishing feature is our consistent presence throughout the entire production cycle, the provision of additional services, and preserving precious jewellery pieces.

 

K.P.: How do the ideas for your designs come to life? I.K.: Jewellery designs tend to arise spontaneously, but there are factors which limit that tendency such as seasonal or colour trends, whether it is intended for daywear or nightwear, and so on. Generally speaking, in order to develop a brand concept everyone is faced with the task of defining the style and future direction of a company. We want to be a recognised brand, a household name, but the individual collections are made up of pieces inspired by distinctive creative sources, reflecting a single trend or theme. K.P.: How would you describe the style of ARNE’s jewellery in three words? I.K.: Beauty, quality, comfort. K.P.: I should imagine that designing something which isn’t just beautiful but also comfortable requires a huge amount of time.

I.K.: Jewellery designs tend to arise spontaneously, but there are factors which limit that tendency such as seasonal or colour trends, whether it is intended for daywear or nightwear, and so on. Generally speaking, in order to develop a brand concept everyone is faced with the task of defining the style and future direction of a company. We want to be a recognised brand, a household name, but the individual collections are made up of pieces inspired by distinctive creative sources, reflecting a single trend or theme.

K.P.: How would you describe the style of ARNE’s jewellery in three words?

I.K.: Beauty, quality, comfort.

K.P.: I should imagine that designing something which isn’t just beautiful but also comfortable requires a huge amount of time.

I.K.: Every intricate piece requires quite a bit of time simply because they are being created for the first time and, more often than not, we have to come up with a tool or technique to fashion it. The timeframe is always going to depend on its complexity. Imagine, for instance, how long it takes to fasten 10,000 stones to a necklace under a microscope. K.P.: That does sound like an incredibly time-consuming process. But you don’t seem to have baulked under those pressures – you quickly grew from being a private jewellery atelier into a boutique. I.K.: For the past 10 years, the company has changed a great deal. More and more experienced craftsmen have joined forces with us, encouraging us to open our own boutique in central Moscow. Just as a nation has its own hymn, flag, and constitution, so does ARNE: the logo acts as our flag, the high quality of our products serves as our hymn, and our constitution is what allows us to function, to make technological advancements in this industry.

K.P.: That does sound like an incredibly time-consuming process. But you don’t seem to have baulked under those pressures – you quickly grew from being a private jewellery atelier into a boutique.

I.K.: For the past 10 years, the company has changed a great deal. More and more experienced craftsmen have joined forces with us, encouraging us to open our own boutique in central Moscow. Just as a nation has its own hymn, flag, and constitution, so does ARNE: the logo acts as our flag, the high quality of our products serves as our hymn, and our constitution is what allows us to function, to make technological advancements in this industry.

 

K.P.: Where does the design of the, as you describe it, “flag” come from? Is there something which your logo is supposed to symbolise? I.K.: ARNE’s logo was created by a team of professional graphic designers. It was important to us that the logo could be produced in metal, that it was symmetrical and balanced, that it streamlined our concepts and brought each of them out in a single image which could also act as a decorative part of any piece. It also needed to symbolise the four characteristics of a diamond – the ‘4 Cs’ – as well as the four elements, life from all angles so to speak. K.P.: That’s an interesting interpretation. So how would you put ARNE’s philosophy into words? I.K.: Since we currently only have one boutique studio at no. 8 Bolshoy Patriarshy, our set-up is a very private affair which reflects our philosophy of “less is more”. K.P.: Alyona Dolyetskaya, the first editor-in-chief of Vogue Russia is the face of your company. Why was it that you chose her to fulfil that role? I.K.: Alyona Dolyetskaya is a determined, intelligent, conscientious, and well-educated woman. That’s how I see not only my company but also our clients. She isn’t just a style icon or the perfect example of poise and respectability whether she’s seen living her daily life or out at glamorous events. She’s also independent and self-aware as a person. K.P.: Despite the fact that you are a singularly sophisticated individual in the jewellery industry, is there a brand which you particularly admire? I.K.: I like brands which ensure quality. Every brand enjoys a particular audience. I’d say that Van Cleef&Arpels stands out for me. I also think it’s very important that jewellery isn’t just beautiful but that it’s also comfortable. For that reason I tend to judge a brand on the weight and bearing of the earrings it produces. KP

I.K.: ARNE’s logo was created by a team of professional graphic designers. It was important to us that the logo could be produced in metal, that it was symmetrical and balanced, that it streamlined our concepts and brought each of them out in a single image which could also act as a decorative part of any piece. It also needed to symbolise the four characteristics of a diamond – the ‘4 Cs’ – as well as the four elements, life from all angles so to speak.

K.P.: That’s an interesting interpretation. So how would you put ARNE’s philosophy into words?

I.K.: Since we currently only have one boutique studio at no. 8 Bolshoy Patriarshy, our set-up is a very private affair which reflects our philosophy of “less is more”.

I.K.: Alyona Dolyetskaya is a determined, intelligent, conscientious, and well-educated woman. That’s how I see not only my company but also our clients. She isn’t just a style icon or the perfect example of poise and respectability whether she’s seen living her daily life or out at glamorous events. She’s also independent and self-aware as a person.

K.P.: Despite the fact that you are a singularly sophisticated individual in the jewellery industry, is there a brand which you particularly admire?

I.K.: I like brands which ensure quality. Every brand enjoys a particular audience. I’d say that Van Cleef&Arpels stands out for me. I also think it’s very important that jewellery isn’t just beautiful but that it’s also comfortable. For that reason I tend to judge a brand on the weight and bearing of the earrings it produces. KP

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