Monday, November 23, 2015
This year, Camille K celebrates its 20th birthday! In 1995, we began creating one-of-a-kind jewelry designed around the treasures we discovered in the Paris flea markets. Over the years, our inspiration list has grown to include New York and it’s Art Deco buildings as well as the gorgeous jewel-toned colors of Santa Barbara. Since it’s fun to reminisce, we’re taking a look at some of the things we found to inspire our jewelry and some of our favorite pieces, past and present.
Browsing the Paris flea markets in the 1990s provided us with plenty of inspiration. This is a salesman sample card featuring some of the treasures we found.
This is a gorgeous brooch made from 18th century gold bullion trim and embellished with a vintage rhinestone bird from the 1950’s. This is a special piece we made early on.
Couture Bullion Necklace
Our goal has always been to combine the old with the new, creating a vintage look perfect for the contemporary woman. This statement necklace is handmade from many vintage gold bullion balls combined with modern brass chain.
Couture Butterfly Cuff
This is one of the pieces that started it all: a vintage 1950s rhinestone butterfly mounted on a brass cuff. The couture cuff could have sold many times over and inspired the official launch into manufacturing for Camille K.
Couture Earrings in Progress
These couture earrings were created from the gorgeous findings of the Paris Flea Market.
Carla Before A Show Begins
In the beginning, we sold our jewelry only during private showings. Promoted mainly by word of mouth, the small groups of friends and acquaintances started our tradition of informal modeling to present our one-of-a-kind collections. We called our collections, Mademoiselle Camille.
Couture Portrait Collar
The portrait collar is both serious and playful and happens to be a personal favorite of Carla, Camille K’s designer. The focus, a child’s black and white appliqué, is framed by vintage 19th century gold bullion trim from France. Carla keeps one of these handmade couture collars for herself, but there is one more available for the right person!
You’ve got to love a bow that was made for Chanel! This appliqué was created by a company that originated in the late 1800’s and that furnished trims to many Parisian Haute Couture houses.
White Couture Beaded Collar
This sophisticated collar was sold to a very elegant customer. It consists of layers of a very special French beaded trim.
Couture Statement Necklace
This necklace is composed of many hand-beaded medallions. It remains in the archives and ventures out for parties from time to time!
Couture Rock Crystal Necklace
We have a special source for vintage rock chandelier crystals in Paris and spend hours going through the cache of the most beautiful crystals to create one-of-a-kind statement pieces like this.
Handmade Couture Crosses
We once had an artisan working for us who made these bold and beautiful crosses from our exclusive patterns. The bezels were filled with vintage rhinestone paste buttons.
Before the Runway Show Begins
As our audience began to grow, we started doing runway shows. This shot is from one of our first shows. Camille K jewelry was paired with clothing from New York City’s Albright Fashion Library.
Camille Katherine is the daughter of our founder and designer, Carla. It is her name that graces our brand.
In 2010, Camille K began manufacturing for the first time in Los Angeles. It was a big step for us, but we jumped in and learned as we went. When you are passionate about something, you’re much more willing to go for it without knowing where you’re headed.
This was one of our first statement collars, cast from a vintage Parisian flower appliqué. We tied it with a grosgrain ribbon to keep the look fresh.
After a couple of years of hard work, a few mistakes, a lot of research and a little bit of luck, we found the right manufacturer in New York City. This cuff, named after the Santa Barbara Biltmore, was one of the first pieces manufactured in NYC.
Confession: we are really, really into rings! These are a few of our favorites from our current collection. Carla is very proud of them and loves to wear them all (just not at the same time)!
In our couture collection, we created a series of cuffs and neckpieces incorporating real turban shells. The Miramar series was born from Carla’s love of shells—having been born in a beach town, that love was a given.
Named after Lucky’s Restaurant in Montecito, California, this cuff has seven Swarovski pearls in its design—and we all know about the lucky number seven! Anyone who wants to feel lucky needs this cuff!
We are so grateful to our Camille K Family for the past 20 years and can’t wait to see where the next 20 take us!