The Phoenicians were known to use brightly coloured stones, agates, lapis lazulis, carnelians and jaspers, while their jewellery designs were often informed by nature; primarily leaves, corns and grapes. It is not hard to see why Christina is so fascinated by colour and the rich history of the Phoenicians. All of these inspire Christina greatly, allowing the designer to often draw upon historical references and reinterpret it through her jewellery.
At the beginning, when Christina started her namesake jewellery brand, she was just focused on making beautiful pieces. But now, when she designs, Christina works to ensure that her collections stand out and also appeal to the women of today. Interestingly, for her latest collection, Christina looked to music, bulbs and, of course, colour, which provided the inspiration for a zesty style. The resulting line is infused with the designer’s passion for meaningful references and fancy shapes.
Christina Debs tells us about new collections, Baselworld 2016, business and more.
SS: This is your second stint at Basel. How was the response this time?
CD: Very good! In fact, we had very good feedback from both the press and buyers. Also, we got the chance to exhibit in Hall 1 – it was such an incredible exposure, and we were the youngest brand out there in the midst of the most famous and well-established ones.
SS: What are the themes of your new lines?
CD: Stimulating and regaling the senses is the main theme that runs alluringly through the new lines, which embody joy, fun and refinement. The Rock Candy range states its case – ready to be snapped up, natural sparkle of light and colour, glowing meteorites of diamonds and gemstones, while for the Electra collection, the multi-coloured glowing bulbs have been transformed into focal points and crowned with diamonds and filaments. Then, there is the Symphony line with a variation on a theme of diamonds, designed as an ode to life and enlightened melody.
SS: What kind of gemstones have you used for the new designs?
CD: I have used a variety of gemstones. In the Electra line, the bulbs have been made of rock crystal, aventurine, onyx and white, blue and mango agates, while Rock Candy features a central pave of rubies, tsavorites, blue and yellow sapphires. For all the three lines, I have used white, black and brown diamonds.
SS: What sparked your love for candy colours and bright shades?
CD: Colour is life. I like my jewellery to be lively in keeping with the image of the brand and have already used more than 45 different colour gemstones. Interestingly, I have used Nummite, a striking black volcanic stone with sprays of bright iridescent flashes. It is also called the sorcerer’s stone. With creations that have stones, I always use modern cuts and fancy shapes so they don’t look dated.
SS: How did you go about carving a niche for your brand in Lebanon?
CD: When you start a business it is never easy. It takes passion, knowledge, hard work, strong will and the desire to never give up. I think it is like in any other profession. The Lebanese market, however, was very difficult to break into; there is a lot of competition along with a lot of creativity. My secret weapon to overcome this challenge was my knowledge. I studied diamond grading at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and at HRD Antwerp. I also did jewellery design and technology at L’AFEDAP, L’Ecole de la rue du Louvre and L’Ecole Boule in Paris. All of this allowed me to be more creative, maintain a high quality of standards in production and constantly evolve in my work.
SS: How would you describe your journey as a designer?
CD: It has been a great adventure. I started my jewellery business with my husband in 2008, and opened our first boutique in Beirut. As I couldn’t control the quality of my creations, I decided to set up my own atelier in 2010. All of my creations are made in our atelier and this also allows me to be more creative, while controlling the quality of production. Three years later, we decided to go international, and collaborated with Mounir Moufarrige to build the brand into something bigger. By 2014, we started exhibiting at fairs worldwide and, as a result, our business has grown tremendously.
SS: How has the association with brand strategist Mounir Moufarrige helped you?
CD: Mounir Moufarrige helped us go from being a local Lebanese jeweller to an international brand. We are already in Switzerland, Germany, Monaco, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, USA and Hong Kong. Additionally, we have been exhibiting in Switzerland, France and Bahrain, and are planning new ones for the year-end.