The Zurich-based, Thai-American self-taught jewelry designer, Pacharee-Sophie Rogers, aged 41, personally goes through hundreds of natural pearls with their distinct curves, bumps and indentations to find dissimilar yet matching pieces for her designs inspired by natural forms. Her Bangkok-based goldsmiths carefully sculpt Siam gold and other precious metals, while her stone-cutters have defined innovative methods to cut and present gemstones, such as free-form slicing to enhance their inherent characteristics. I sit down with her to discuss her preference for rough, irregular stones and how she designs in a manner that respects their origins, shapes, textures and colors.
How did you arrive at this calling? How and when did you become interested in jewelry, and when did you know you wanted to be a jewelry designer?
I did not have any intention to enter the jewelry world initially. I would say it was my inner calling and true passion that had been hiding inside of me since I grew up seeing and hearing magnificent stories about pearls and gemstones. To be honest, up until today, I never thought, “I want to be a jewelry designer.” It came naturally to me. I just do it instinctively and I love what I come up with. It’s always so satisfying to see how much women and men around the world adore my creations.
Why did you initially reject the idea of working in jewelry by pursuing a career in marketing and advertising, then create your own fashion brand, before ending up in jewelry?
My father was a renowned gemologist and gems trader dealing with the world’s rarest pearls and gemstones from all around the world, so I grew up with lovely sparkly pebbles around me. Memories of my father telling the stunning stories of rare gems and pearls still resonate. But it’s one of those things where the grass is always greener on the other side. I didn’t want anything to do with it and went on to discover my own path in marketing and advertising. I was in advertising for 15 years until we moved to Zurich, Switzerland, and I got pregnant and wanted to start something on my own. I even started off with a clothing collection and just wanted to complete the look with jewelry, not intending to sell them actually. But as soon as we introduced the first Instagram feed with our pearl earrings, it was a huge hit.
Describe to me your design language and philosophy. What are your sources of inspiration?
Nostalgic and full of respect for natural shapes and forms. A lot of my design comes from childhood memories of the things I saw my father do, the story of each gemstone and pearl, and this resulting in the respect I have for their origin, shape and color, and I design around that.
What is your approach towards the materials that you use?
I source my own materials and, until today, I still pair the pearls and gemstones on my own in some designs. I feel the pairing decision-making is so personal, and I want my clients to feel it.
What new innovative techniques do you incorporate in your jewelry making?
I work with goldsmiths and cutters that saw me as a little girl, so they completely understand my vision and the techniques I want to start introducing. I am very proud of the hand-sculpted techniques and certain types of settings we come up with.
How do you differentiate yourself from other jewelry brands?
I don’t think it was ever about aiming to do something different from the get-go. I was lucky that what I do stands out from the rest of the pearl-led jewelry brands and jewelry brands in general. I think it is rooted in the fact that I’m not a traditional jewelry-trained designer, so my pieces are the expression of someone who sees jewelry and materials in a different way. I would say I base a lot of my decisions on myself as a wearer. I wear my pieces over and over until I am so sure of the little details and the fit. Most designers focus on ornamenting the pieces and how they look, which is amazing, but I am more about the feeling of the pieces on. Perhaps it’s my limitation that allows my pieces to stand out.