Last Tuesday I was invited to visit the atelier of Belgian jewelry designer Marie-France Vankueken. I was really pleased as I never entered a jewelry studio before and I always get fascinated when I observe artisans operating their magic.
In her nice studio-boutique based in Brussels’ Tour & Taxi, Marie-France works mainly with 18 carat golds and precious metals. According to a special technique that only belongs to her, she creates beautiful and unique pieces in raw and organic shapes. Yellow or white, shiny or matte, plain, adorned, or set with pearls, from her necklace, earrings, pendants, bracelets to her rings, it all seems like a modern Ali Baba’s cave!
Daughter of master jeweler Paul Vankueken, Marie-France was introduced to luxury and fine craftsmanship from a very early age. She could often be seen at her father’s side in his workshop at the Rue du Houblon.
Active in the family business for more than 30 years she installed her own “boutique atelier” in Tour & Taxi where artisanal machinery mixes with vintage furniture. Every clients that enter her universe has the opportunity to follow the fabrication process thanks to the glass windows that have been placed as a separation between the boutique and the atelier.
I spend most of my time on the atelier side as I was just hypnotized by everything that was going on. The artisans working, the infinite collection of tools, the torches, the thousands of little and colorful wax molds, the prototypes… I did not know where to turn my head at and I wanted to see absolutely everything.
Luckily, thanks to my guides, Simon and one of the artisan, Sylvie I could witness how to transform something that could look like a vulgar piece of dark metal into a precious piece of gold. The icing on the cake? She polished before my eyes one of my personal white gold ring and gave it a new life!
Thanks to: Laetitia from Top Secret Communication for this opportunity, Marie-France for letting me invade her space and for her good humor, Simon for showing me around and teaching me about the fabrication process and Sylvie for taking time off to show me some techniques, tricks and for making my old ring look as new ;-) And a also to the rest of the team who allowed me to gently spy on them!