Interview with Cora Sheibani: The Jewellery Designer, Creator and Author in her own words.
Updated: Aug 2
Born on 9th March 1980, to Bruno Bischofberger, a prominent art dealer in Switzerland, Cora Sheibani has benefited from growing up in an environment dedicated to modern and contemporary art and design. Her distinctive creations clearly demonstrate she did not follow the traditional route of art school and a goldsmith apprenticeship to get into the world of jewellery design. Cora studied art history in Florence and New York, and relocated later to London in 2001 where she enrolled at the Gemmological Institute of America in London.
Today you can view Cora's designs in her private showroom by appointment, or see her work at exhibits which have taken place in London, Zurich, Geneva, Basel, St. Moritz, Paris, Copenhagen, Miami and New York. She has also showed at Louisa Guinness, the London based dealer of artist jewellery. Four of Cora's collections have been accompanied by bounded books that showcase her creations alongside topics that inspired each collection, such as baking, gardening, photography and colouring, unlike the traditional jewellery catalogue. Cora's latest collection 'Glow' showcases gemstones that naturally fluoresce under UV light.
Why not find out more from our conversation with the world's renowned jewellery designer, Cora Sheibani below…
Cora Sheibani wearing: Butterfly Earrings, 18k Yellow Gold with Amethysts, green Tourmalines & yellow Garnets Bird Brooch, 18k Yellow Gold with green & oranges TourmalinesPicasso Eye Ring, 18k Rose Gold with brown Diamonds.
Jewellery Pursuer. You were born in Switzerland and live in London. How does travel inspire you?
Cora Sheibani. I don't need to travel to be inspired, but as my life is so busy, it's often while traveling or away from my desk that I have time to be creative.
JP. What motivated you to become a jewellery designer considering you were born to Christina and Bruno Bischofberger, a prominent art dealer in Switzerland?
CS. Originally I thought I wanted to study packaging design. And in a way, I still do graphic work that is three dimensional. I felt that as a jeweler I would have more freedom in designing what I want and wouldn't only have to do commission work. I naively thought I could do this part-time. Of course it's hard or almost impossible to do anything properly part-time. I grew up in a household where being a chef or a jeweler or artist were all considered art-forms, one no better than the other. The motto being that everything around us is art.
Spitzbueb Ring, 18k Red Gold with Cacholong Gugelhupf Ring, 18k Rose Gold with striped Chalcedony & pink Diamond
Linzer Tart Ring, 18k Rose Gold with pink Opal.
Gugelhupf Ring, 18k Yellow Gold with Tiger Eye & orange Diamond.
JP. Tell me about the evolution and range of your styles of jewellery.
CS. I started exactly 17 years ago with a show of 20 or so pieces of jewellery I designed over the course of 14 months and had them all made in Switzerland. I then only sold one small pair of earrings. At the time I was five months pregnant, young and naive and had no understanding about customs, cashflow, VAT or how to run a successful business. It took years of patience and believing in myself to get to where I am today (I almost gave up but a good friend made sure I did not). I have had shows in many countries, at galleries and fairs or private spaces. I have loyal customers who return regularly and have gained the respect of numerous jewellery designers and antique jewellery dealers. This means a lot to me, as they are the most discerning people in my trade. I love colour and use a lot of hard stones often combining them with precious stones too. I like bold graphic shapes and also love working with metals. I studied at the GIA almost 20 years ago and love all types of stones.
Large Cupcake Ring, 18k White & Rose Gold set with pink Opal & pink Spinel Sprinkles.
JP. Out of all of your collections, which one has the most meaning to you?
CS. I am usually most enthusiastic about my most recent collection. The last collection "Glow" was all about gemstones that naturally fluoresce under UV light. Right now I am very excited about the next two collections, for some reason I have two ideas and I can't decide which to do first.
Disco Ring, 18k Rose Gold with pink Spinels & a strongly fluorescent Marquis Diamond. In this photo under UV light.
JP. Can you tell us more about your latest collection and its significance?
CS. I was reading a book that said that fluorescent rubies are worth more than non-fluorescent ones, but I knew that the contrary was true about Diamonds! I thought this was absurd and so I embraced fluorescence as a design motive and made some new work and revisited lots of old designs into which I brought in the fluorescent element. In the end my show with Louisa Guinness Gallery in London earlier this year (and later in NYC) ended up being like a glowing retrospective of my work. I love fluorescent diamonds, and most people I met loved the idea of using them and promoting them, very few people felt that there was a good reason to dislike fluorescent diamonds. The fact is that only 1/3 of diamonds fluorescence, and of those, only 1% fluoresce so strongly that only a jewellery professional can notice it in daylight. So this idea that fluorescence produces milky diamonds is a myth that at large the GIA helped disband over 20 years ago by making an extensive study.
Almond Long Drop Earrings, 18k Yellow Gold with Dumortierite & Silex Jasper.
JP. What can you say about your books? What's the motivation behind writing the books?
CS. I love graphic design so making my books is always a fun project. I think that sales catalogues are unpopular with most people and just end up in the bin, so making something more is a must. My books can be put not just amongst jewellery books but could also be put with other categories such as cookbooks, gardening books, photography books or kids books.
JP. What is the greatest recognition of your work so far?
CS. Another very established jeweller (whom I greatly admire) said they wanted to do a trade with me. This for me is the best form of recognition I could possibly get.
JP. What are the future plans for Cora Sheibani jewellery brand? Tell me about your latest work.
CS. I will launch one or possibly two collections next year, both are quite different to what I have done so far, yet they both focus on form and shape (the only thing that I can share is that there will be almost no coloured stones this time).
Cora wearing:Cobweb Ring, 18k White Gold with a colourless SapphireValence Cuff, 18k White Gold with a mauve Tourmaline.