The Jewel that Started my Collection: Viltier

The Jewel that Started my Collection: Viltier

T his summer, Parisian jewelry design duo, Viltier, pick their highlights from Fine Jewels Paris and discuss inspiration, sustainability and creation.

Do you remember the piece that first ignited your passion for jewelry?

Thomas: Yes! It was a cocktail ring belonging to my grandmother; she would only bring it out on important occasions so as a kid it was synonymous with joy and parties. Today, I wear one of the emeralds from that ring around my neck every day and it became part of the Viltier collection (NDLR – Magnetic stone pendant)

Iris: My mother’s jewelry box with lots of earrings, her engagement ring that she wore on her pinky. I also have a memory of her Bone cuff from Tiffany that she would wear with lots of bangles in white gold.

Iris de la Villardière and Thomas Montier Leboucher

How did you come up with the idea of Viltier?

We both had careers in jewelry, and we both loved to sit down and talk about it for hours. We quickly realized that so many talented designers were emerging internationally but very few were coming out of Paris. We shared the same dream of creating jewelry that would be generous and joyful, jewelry that would respect traditional and local craftmanship while advancing a modern statement – a more responsible and inclusive one.

What sets Viltier apart from traditional jewelry brands?

Viltier is all about fun, generosity and warmth but before all Viltier is a humane brand. Traditional jewelers, the ones who gave us this passion and whom we still admire today, can lack transparency from a production point of view as well as from an organisational one.

"Viltier does not need to play by the book, we only do what we love and what we feel is right"

It is not always clear who exactly is behind the brand and the message can be confusing. We believe that one key point that sets us apart from traditional brands is our spontaneity. Viltier does not need to play by the book, we only do what we love and what we feel is right.

All your pieces are Fairmined certified. What exactly is Ethical gold?

Fairmined gold is a label that ensures that our gold comes from small scale artisanal mines that have a low impact on the environment and that respect the social guidelines imposed by the label (parity of wages, no-child labour, social security for the workers etc). In addition, we pay a 20% premium, compared to regular gold, which is given directly back to the mine so that they can finance annual audits, invest in technology to terminate the use of chemical products during extraction, finance the rehabilitation of the mine and so on…

How do you combine luxury with sustainability?

It is actually quite simple. Firstly, from a social perspective, we now consider sustainability to be an essential component of a brand’s DNA in order for it to evolve successfully. These two words should and must be intertwined. Secondly, we have no excuse given that we have the advantage of selling high-end products where price is not part of our value proposition but where sustainability is. Our clients buy a creation from Viltier for its beautiful design, high-quality craftmanship, and ethical approach and also to be part of our story. We feel that it is the responsibility of luxury brands to pave the way for a more sustainable way of producing and behaving.

"We feel that it is the responsibility of luxury brands to pave the way for a more sustainable way of producing and behaving."

What type of art inspires you the most?

Our work is definitely inspired by the art that surrounds us. We are lucky enough to live in one of the richest cities in the world when it comes to art so we always keep our eyes open while strolling through galleries and museums (now that we can!). I don’t believe there is one type of art that inspires us more than another. We believe that the key is to remain curious, although our first collection (ndlr Magnetic) definitely takes its inspiration from the Art Deco movement. Also, we have different tastes, so we have the chance to learn from each other.

If you could collaborate with any artist – living or dead – who would you choose and why?

We would say that to work with Jean-Michel Othoniel could be great fun, as his pieces would certainly translate fabulously into jewelry creations.

If you could save only one artwork from destruction, which one would you choose?

Thomas: A work of sculpture would be the Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss by Antonio Canova and a painting would be one that I recently rediscovered at Sotheby’s, La Sirène by Kees Van Dongen.

Iris: The Water Lilies series by Monet. I’m obsessed by the movement of the brush and the combination of the colors. I also love The Kiss by Rodin, it’s magical to see it in Paris…

What would you consider to be your finest moment as designers?

When we received our first entirely finished and latest version of our Magnetic link. We felt that we had achieved something harmonious, striking and timeless.

What’s next for Viltier? Can you tell us about any exciting projects that you are working on?

Many things! Most importantly we are about to reveal our brand-new showroom, which was done in collaboration with the architect Fanny Perrier from Studio Perrier. It is located in an apartment that once belonged to Charlotte Perriand, so we feel honored to write the story of Viltier in such an inspiring environment!

What legacy would you like to leave behind?

We would love to show that luxury can be fun, fresh, inclusive and responsible!


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