Talented Thai jewelry designer Patcharavipa Bodiratnangkura is one of the hottest names in the contemporary jewelry design scene. Her love of earthy organic lines and surprising material contrasts can be seen in her sleek boutique design to the coconut shells in her fine jewelry. Born into an illustrious family of inventors, developers, and philanthropists, the designer began crafting jewelry at the age of thirteen, drawing inspiration from her family’s life, legacy, and travels.
Patcharavipa studied at Chelsea College of Art and Design’s art foundation program in London and then embarked on her Jewelry Design training at Central Saint Martins. She is also a certified gemologist from the Graduate Diamonds Program of the Gemmology Institute of America (GIA) and the Coloured Stones Programme at the AIGS, the Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences in Bangkok. In 2016, she launched her eponymous brand which is stocked in the influential retailer Dover Street Market, London. With her atelier based in Bangkok, Patcharavipa embraces the legend of Thai craftsmanship.
Patcharavipa started off the year with a striking new collection titled “Clues Sepper S/S2021,” a portmanteau for salt and pepper. The collection created during lockdown presents a series of black, grey, white, and salt and pepper diamonds inspired by the porthole designs of French metal worker Jean Prouvé.
Can you give me some background on your journey before launching your eponymous brand?
I was always obsessed with the world of art and design. When I was 13, I started a costume jewelry brand “All That Glitters” but I was young and didn’t make it a serious business.
How would you describe your brand?
My brand is tactile and bold in design and aesthetics. Our pieces are made all in-house. I like to create unique silhouettes on the body that can transition from the day to the evening.
How do you choose what gemstones to work with?
This depends on the mood of the collection and the gold or metal I’m working with. Our ready-to-wear collections are set with diamonds for a more neutral and clean look. For the couture collection, I used padparadscha sapphire, paraiba tourmaline, and Thai yellow sapphire. I just love the combination of pastels and neon tones together.
Why did you start working with coconut shells? From sculptures to wearable jewelry pieces?
The coconut shells are recycled, and organically sourced and I was drawn to their feminine shape and form. I’ve always wanted to explore ideas outside something wearable. So when I created these Objects d’Arts, I decided to set gemstones and materials nestled inside the shells to play with the concept that precious things should always be hidden, like the heart inside our bodies. These coconut shells are found in Amphawa, where my grandparents met each other, so I also wanted to commemorate their love.
Your flagship boutique store in Bangkok looks more like a contemporary gallery than a traditional jewelry store. I was instantly drawn to the material finishes of your display. Could you explain the concept behind this?
We love to express our world in full form through subtle details. For the foam display cabinets, I wanted something soft and tactile that could protect the precious jewels and also was easy on the skin. We explored many materials and foam fabric seemed feasible and an exciting material to work with. The foam was made to look like cold, hard concrete which is a deliberate juxtaposition to the warm gold and preciousness of fine jewelry. There’s also a shock element when visitors realize the foam texture of the cabinet!
Your latest collection Clues Sepper was created during the Covid-19 pandemic. How did this affect your creative process?
I didn’t particularly enjoy designing in the confines of my own home because I felt limited. I wanted to express more but due to travel restrictions, I couldn’t produce enough samples and tests. Being locked down at home in London, I felt like wearing something casual and practical, every time I went to the grocery, I didn’t want to wear anything too sparkly. The design came to serve the right purpose as the collection was simple, practical, and for everyday wear. It’s a collection you can sleep in or shower in!
What is your favorite jewel you’ve designed?
Hard to say, it’s like asking who’s your favorite child! I am proud of every piece, however, I’m particularly fond of my ring designs. I like how all of them can be stacked on top of each other.
What advice do you have for females starting in the industry?
You need to believe in yourself and if you’re a jewelry designer, you must have a strong idea behind your design and brand. It should start organically and with a unique design.
Can you tell us about the women who inspire you the most?
I think it was my grandmother Thanpuying Lersakdi. She was a strong, elegant, and fun woman, who loved to dress up and host parties. She started a hotel business and quickly gained recognition as a businesswoman. She was the first female Minister of transport in Thailand. Exceedingly smart and modern for her age, she had such charisma and strong leadership, both in running the household and in her profession.
Who is your favorite artist and how have they influenced your work?
So many! I admire Richard Serra, the artist, and sculptor. His work is fierce, strong, and impeccable. His use of materials has inspired my work, particularly his silhouettes. I love their shape and movement.
What is next for Patcharavipa?
We will keep growing organically and focus more on our online website as well as private sales. We hope to have our shops around the world, especially in London.