The story behind French jewellery label ETERNAME reads like a tale from a romance novel.
Seven years ago, designer Sarah Besnainou approached a jeweller in Paris to create a personalised pair of cufflinks for her beloved. Simply not content to design the cufflinks herself, she wanted to make them. To her, they would symbolize a true labour of love. Besnainou muses, “I wanted to make him remember me.”
Whilst sitting at the jeweller’s bench and hand-making the gold cufflinks, Besnainou had an epiphany; she realised jewellery design is her calling. Now, Besnainou creates exquisite jewellery crafted from 18-karat gold, premium diamonds and gemstones in her salon on Rue Clement Marot off the Avenue Montaigne in Paris.
Besnainou describes her modern yet timeless jewellery designs as “the reflection of the soul and different personalities of all women.”
Editor, Michelle Larin, interviewed Besnainou about herself and her jewellery label, which is steadily growing its international presence and has featured in publications including French Vogue, L’Officiel, U.S. WWD and Elle China.
Q: Sarah, give us an insight into you.
A: I was born in Paris, but my family is originally from Tunisia. I love travelling to different parts of the world and experiencing new and diverse cultures.
At the age of 26, I launched my jewellery label ETERNAME, which means “Make me Eternal” in Greek. Through ETERNAME, I want women to feel special. I want every woman to own a piece of jewellery that is made just for her and no one else.
Q: Before founding ETERNAME you were a PR Manager for luxury brand, Dior. What was it like working for one of the world's major fashion houses?
A: Working at Dior was both interesting and challenging. There are always new and different projects on the horizon, which often eventuate faster than expected!
Q: What are some of the lessons you took away from working for a big fashion house, which have helped you with your own jewellery label?
A: The most important thing I learnt is to have a broad vision. Trends move fast and, being a designer, I always have to look ahead to stay on top. I also learnt to appreciate beauty in both presentation and workmanship.
I should also say my experience at Dior taught me how to operate a couture brand internationally. I was able to develop the skills I needed to take my own label global.
Q: I love the story of how ETERNAME came to be. Does your boyfriend still own the cufflinks?
A: Yes, he still owns the cufflinks. They are our love seal.
Q: Why are you so passionate about jewellery design?
A: The purity and power emanating from gemstones has always fascinated me. Jewellery design gives me the unique ability to embellish life’s precious moments.
Q: Do you design all ETERNAME jewellery yourself?
A: Yes, I do. ETERNAME jewellery is divided into three categories: pret-a-porter, couture and haute couture. The first range is designed for everyday wear, whilst the latter two are bespoke, as each piece is based on my customers’ personal preferences.
Q: Where is your jewellery made and who makes it?
A: All of ETERNAME’s pieces are made in France by a group of artisan jewellers. The jewellers micro-set every piece by hand and also set an amethyst inside of each piece which acts as ETERNAME’s signature.
Q: What inspires your designs?
A: Travelling to foreign lands and meeting new people inspires my creations. For example, Noor Collection was inspired by my trip to India; in particular, the sunshine peeping through the lace-like window of a room I stepped into whilst there.
Q: How would you describe your design style?
A: Classic, yet modern. I like to play around with my materials to create modern pieces, in a way that doesn’t compromise their timelessness. ETERNAME pieces are heirlooms to be passed from mother to daughter.
Q: Sarah, in what do you find beauty?
A: Beauty can be found everywhere in everyday life; like in an unforgettable moment shared with family and friends. It is not limited to items of a high value. Beauty is priceless.
ETERNAME’s contemporary creations are available for purchase online: www.etername.fr.
The brand is also stocked at Harrod's in the United Kingdom, Saks Fifth Avenue in the USA and Lane Crawford in Hong-Kong.
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