Saskia Diez – Self-Assured, Timeless, Delicate



Already as a child Saskia Diez loved jewelry, but for a long time she never wore any. Precious diamonds were never her thing. In fact, only after she started creating her own jewelry and establishing a niche in the market did that change. Today, Saskia Diez wears her jewelry with pride, and her creations are known across the globe.

For as long as she can remember, Saskia Diez dreamed of opening her own jewelry store to display all the delicate creations she was already creating and crafting as a little girl. Fast-forward 30 years ahead to Geyerstrasse 20 in the Munich district of Glockenbach and behold the adult version of her girlhood dream: A jewelry shop with a distinct design and no frills. The eye is drawn to the elegant, wooden hands and ears painted white that hang on the walls and display the creations of the meanwhile 38-year-old designer. Below, a plain wooden showcase, divided into a number of wide partitions, extends along two sides of the small space. Inside necklaces, rings, and bracelets made from gold, silver, wood, and leather are on display. “Looking at this now, you would think it was always clear to me that this is where I was heading,” Ms. Diez comments. But in reality, it took her a long time to know what she wanted to do in life.

I’m not the person to wear a necklace that costs 30,000 euros. That’s simply not me.

Because she was good at school, learning a trade after finishing high school didn’t seem like an option and so her dream of having her own jewelry store faded. Instead after graduation she decided to go to Paris and live there, despite not having any clear plans how to go about that. “But things often have a way of turning out as they should.” At the time, her mother was planning to get remarried and remembered her daughter’s former passion for creating jewelry. Together with a student from art school, Ms. Diez created the rings for her mother’s wedding ceremony and in the process reignited her passion for creating jewelry. “I enjoyed the entire process of creating the rings so much, I was determined to go to art school, too.” However, in order to be accepted to art school, she had to undergo practical training at a goldsmith’s first. And so Ms. Diez went and found a traditional establishment in Munich that agreed to take her on. She liked it so much that she stayed and did an entire apprenticeship. “I felt rooted there, and I went home happy every evening.” She learned everything about the techniques, tools, and materials used in the goldsmith trade and was completely absorbed by it. Yet at the end of her apprenticeship, it became clear that she didn’t want to continue working with jewelry this way. “The objects I made there were not the sort of things that appeal to me,” the designer explains. “I’m not the person to wear a necklace that costs 30,000 euros. That’s simply not me.” As a matter of fact, until then, the budding jewelry designer had never actually worn any jewelry herself.

Then, by chance, Ms. Diez came in contact with industrial design. She went to art school and, alongside her studies, worked for various companies, amongst others Christian Haas and Rosenthal – which was also where she met industrial designer, and future husband, Stefan Diez. The idea to start creating her own jewelry came about by a lucky coincidence. At art school, Ms. Diez had participated in a design competition with the motto “Women and Sports.” She entered some weighted cuff bracelets designed to look like jewelry. The first prototype, made of a tin alloy, went on display as part of a traveling exhibition. Later, she had the cuff bracelets cast in bronze. Then, Stefan Diez was invited to a furniture fair to exhibit his concept of the perfect house. As part of the decoration for the bathroom that was a part of the exhibition, he placed the cuff bracelets on the sink. Two big buyers from New York and Tokyo noticed the bracelets and wanted to order those exact objects for their shops. “So I thought, why not, let’s do it,” Ms. Diez tells us. Her label was born and she had found her niche. Just like that.

There are pieces from my collection that I wear all the time. Without them I feel almost naked.

Although she never used to wear any jewelry at all, now she never leaves the house without it. “There are pieces from my collection that I wear all the time. Without them I feel almost naked,” she says and laughs, her sparkling blue eyes accentuated by the golden stars in her earlobes. These and the golden ear cuffs are a few of her favorite pieces. “I think the cuffs have almost fused with my ears,” Saskia Diez says with a smile. Naturally, more favorites result with each collection. Now, in her husband’s studio, she’s wearing wide silver cuff bracelets on both arms –part of her collection “Grand” which has just been released – and a “Black Lace Cape” made of black wooden beads over her denim blouse.

Stefan Diez’s large studio is located in an outbuilding across the courtyard, and this is where a lot of the jewelry designer’s ideas are developed. Inside the outbuilding, creative chaos reigns. Chairs in all shapes and colors are everywhere and, tucked away in one corner, an old workbench stands – Saskia Diez’s creative domain. Prototypes for the new collection hang on walls surrounding it. But in actual fact, the way Ms. Diez’s goes about creating new designs today hasn’t changed much from how she used to proceed as a child. She tinkers. First she thinks of shapes and forms, making the occasional sketch, and then she starts creating prototypes from plasticine, paper, and plastic beads. Even while we sit and drink tea on the second floor of the studio, she’s busy forming and shaping a piece of plasticine. An occupation that appears to have an almost meditative influence on her. She chooses her words deliberately, just as she deliberately forms the lump of plasticine. First she shapes the mass into a ball, and by the end of our conversation, she has formed a bracelet which she picks up carefully, slips over her hand and looks at from different angles. “Often it’s a very small detail that inspires me,” Ms. Diez says. Details can turn up practically anywhere, such as the fastening of a shirt her father bought for his granddaughter. The little hollow beads inspired her collection named “boules.” In these pieces, the hollow beads function as fasteners, but at the same time also form the centerpiece and are the eye-catcher.

Altogether, Saskia Diez’s creations are extraordinary, and so is how she makes them. As opposed to other jewelry designers, Ms. Diez does not produce her own designs. She creates the prototypes for the two annual collections, makes sketches, and has 3D models made, which are then refined. “I don’t produce the pieces personally,” Saskia Diez tells us. Her designs are mass-produced; individual pieces are rare. The simple necklaces, rings, earrings, and bracelets are made by independent goldsmiths and a few large jewelry manufacturers. And her customers seem to love the pieces’ simplicity that is combined with a dash of extravaganza. In their feedback, clients often say that they had never been very comfortable wearing jewelry before, but that Ms. Diez’s designs had given them a new approach: The niche she encountered by chance. “I work on the things that interest me, on developing my own language,” she tells us.

It was only after Ms. Diez went to Paris Fashion Week with designer Ayzit Bostan and displayed her creations in conjunction with fashion that she began to be noticed in Germany. Now she goes to Fashion Week every year. She opened the store in the Glockenbach district and started her on-line shop in 2009, and in the meantime her jewelry is sold worldwide – in Europe, Australia, USA, Canada, Japan, China, and Hong Kong.

Scent is also a form of jewelry. You just can’t see it.

In the winter of 2013 and in collaboration with perfume maker Geza Schön, Ms. Diez was able to realize another of her dreams by creating her own fragrance. The scents are called Gold and Silver. “To me scents are a logical follow-up,” Saskia Diez explains. “Because scent is also a form of jewelry, you just can’t see it. An elusive trace on the skin.” To promote her brand, Ms. Diez travels a lot. These trips, the mother of three says, give her the opportunity to tank up on creativity. “Often I work best during my trips. They clear my head,” she tells us. Not just for new collections, but also for new dreams. Dreams she doesn’t want to talk about just yet. “I’m a bit superstitious,” Ms. Diez says and continues to shape the turquoise plasticine in her hands. “I often think we shouldn’t want too much. Things just have a way of happening.” An approach that has obviously worked out very well for her.

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