Fernando Jorge is jet-lagged. The jewelry maker has just returned from launching his residency at L.A. gallery and boutique Just One Eye—which runs through May 1—and is about to fly to St. Moritz to exhibit at the prestigious design fair Nomad. He’ll then hit Art Basel Hong Kong before traveling to the Miami edition later this year; in between he’ll make trips to his native Brazil as well as to Italy, where much of his jewelry is made. So, I’m lucky to catch him at his new Mayfair showroom, to which he relocated last year. A light-filled loft kitted out with midcentury Brazilian furniture and art, it shares a building with art gallery Sprüth Magers—not entirely a coincidence, given Jorge’s organic transition from the fashion realm toward the world of art and design.
“During the pandemic, some of my clients were more focused on design and art than fashion, and high-end jewelry fits in this category,” he says. His response was twofold: He made his entire back catalog available online, from a $900 tigereye pendant to a 54-carat, price-upon-request diamond necklace. And he concentrated on creating investment pieces with bigger, more abundant diamonds, topping out core collections with high-jewelry interpretations of his signature designs. This came full circle at Just One Eye, where he unveiled additions to his debut Fluid collection—including diamond-studded bombe-style rings and earrings—a series made for his master’s program at Central Saint Martins in London, which brought Jorge to the attention of buyers and editors in 2010.
Since that graduate show, Jorge has won four Couture design awards and the 2019 Gem Award for jewelry design. His pieces are worn by everyone from East London creatives to international socialites to A-listers including Michelle Obama and Beyoncé. His design DNA is a curvaceous, abstract sensuality that effortlessly balances distinctive creativity with wearable simplicity. “When I started, I had a desire to disrupt,” he says. “I still have the desire to disrupt, but nowadays, it feels to me more disruptive to design more traditional and timeless pieces.”
His clientele is also evolving. “It was interesting to see photographers, artists and dealers engage with my work—people who look at art as an object and asset,” Jorge says of his L.A. residency. Despite his growing presence in the sphere, he doesn’t categorize himself as an artist. “The purpose of jewelry is to be admired and collected and worn.”
As he explores the crossover between elevated art and everyday adornment, Jorge says he’s “navigating in both lanes” as a designer for high-end private clients as well as a full-fledged fine-jewelry brand. “It’s still my creative vision, and me behind every design. But we have built a universe that allows me not to be the focal point. I’m happy that the jewelry can speak for itself.”