Nicolas Favard, a 30-year old Frenchman and an extremely gifted craftsman, has lived in China since 2004. He opened recently a new shop in a quiet street just on the West side of Sanlitun North Village. Nicely Made in China had a conversation with him on how he became a jeweller, what inspires him and the meaning of jewels.
Nicolas, when did you decide to become a jeweller?
I got the bug when I was 12. Our teacher told us it was time for us to think about what we wanted to do later in life and I found an article about becoming a jeweller in a book. The bug hasn’t left me since. Later, at 16 I left school and became an apprentice. For 5 years I was at a professional college as well working as an apprentice with Francis Lecutiez a master jeweller in my home town of La Rochelle. I then did another year at l’AFEDAP a school in Paris. I am now a qualified silversmith / goldsmith as well as a jeweller and a stone setter.
Nowadays I keep learning by training with Chinese craftsmen outside Beijing and in Yunnan. They teach me new techniques that I am now using for my own creations like chasing also called repoussé for instance.
When did you open your shop in Sanlitun?
I opened that shop on June 16th 2010. Before that I had another shop in Nali Patio which I opened in September 2008 and closed just before opening here.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I get my ideas discussing with the clients who come to the shop to order a custom-made jewel. We talk about what they would like and I observe the way they are, what kind of clothes they wear, if they are timid or extraverts etc… They sometime show me a picture of something they’ve seen in a magazine and I work around ideas -I refuse to do copies- that we discuss together. All this will help me decide if I choose to set a pearl on a ring if it will be worn on the outside of the hand or on the inside for instance. Jewellery can represent so many different things: symbolism, esthetics, fashion, art, it also shows that you belong to a group or not -if you wear a Catholic cross you most likely belong to the Christian faith and if you choose to wear your wedding band on a chain around your neck may mean that you have an unconventional approach to life- so I am inspired by all these different meanings that a jewel can convey.
What are the metals that you like using?
I use all the various metals that are usually used in jewellery: gold, silver, titanium, platinum, copper sometime. It varies.
Where can NMiC readers buy your jewellery?
They have to come to the Sanlitun shop in Beijing. I do not yet sell through my website. In the Sanlitun shop they can either order a jewel which will be created for them personally or they can choose from our collection which I create all year long: earrings, cuff-bracelets, rings or necklaces.
How much does a Nicolas Favard creation cost?
It depends of course on the type of materials that I use: the folded silver bracelet and the silver and galuchat or shagreen (skate skin) bracelet both cost 1800 Rmb (US$ 265 / 201 € / AU$ 290 / £ 167) and the ring with a black Tahiti pearl costs 12,500 Rmb (US$ 1845 / 1400 € / AU$ 2015 / £ 1163).
Address: Sanlitun bar street, North 28.
Opening hours: 11.00 / 20.00 every day.
Tel: +86 10 6413 0818