The famous designer Tamara Comolli, who specialises in original gems and who, thanks to her work, is known all around the world, lives in Germany, so we set off to get to know a little bit more about her.
In her own words, Tamara Comolli is a completely ordinary woman. But she doesn’t seem so normal to us. She is a self-taught jewellery maker, at age seventeen she began designing and in 1992 she founded her own brand. This is now known globally and its main creed is casual luxury. The jewellery is primarily intended for self-confident and independent women of any age.
Tamara’s temperament is that of a traveller. She was born in Germany, but grew up partially in Spain, France and Gibraltar. Today you can meet her at the clear blue-green Lake Tegernsee, which is surrounded by forested mountains. This little paradise is located to the south of Munich. Tamara’s showroom has a canopy on the ceiling and a short distance away is her workshop, where her employees work on all of her designs. However, we wanted to learn something more about this inspirational woman …
Who is Tamara Comolli?
Tamara Comolli is a normal woman who thinks a lot about various different things. About life, fashion, stones. I’m a relaxed person and I live a relaxed life. I love water in all its forms. I like surfing and swimming. I’m horribly shy and curious. Whatever I see I immediately have to explore. It often helps me even when working, particularly when I travel around the world looking for stones.
How did you get involved in jewellery?
I grew up in Spain and my father was a gambler, a real gambler. He was in the casino very often and as a child I also spent a lot of time there. I remember that it was then that I first found a love of fashion. I saw a lot of beautiful women there in fabulous dresses. Many of them had shiny necklaces, earrings and bracelets. It was just so charming. I loved looking at them.
And what happened next?
At seventeen I began designing my own jewellery. My father always said that it is not a real job and you can’t really make a living out of it. Well you see, it looks like he was wrong. But I don’t hold it against him too much. At the time he would have preferred it far more if I would have studied, so off I went and graduated from university. But in the end the voice of my heart won out and took me back to jewellery.
When I started my brand, my goal was for women to go through their lives accompanied by my collections. That is another reason why anyone can find something in my jewellery. A younger woman, who wants to start with jewellery at a lower price category, as well as someone who knows exactly what she wants and can afford a more expensive piece. It is one of the things that I had in mind right from the beginning, and I’m glad it worked out. The biggest challenge for a designer is to create a wide variety of designs, but at the same time not to repeat them.
You are well known for travelling the world when seeking stones for your jewellery. Where are the best ones?
There are quite a few countries I’d recommend. At random, Namibia, Nigeria, Thailand, Australia and Mozambique – that is my favourite. I also like Madagascar, where the stones that I used for the Ocean Jasper collection came from.
Who else sets off with you on these quests for stones?
We have a total of three, including me, and that’s enough. When you are buying precious stones and you’re carrying around a lot of money to pay for them, you don’t want to draw too much attention to yourself.
So what happens when you find a piece that you like?
I generally don’t like them right away. That’s the magic of finding stones. When you see it for the first time, it’s ugly and, at first glance, unusable. You have to see its potential. Separate the wheat from the chaff.
When I shop in the markets for stones from the local mountains, I go up to a dealer, pay him and the stones get sent in a package by plane to Germany, where I have my workshop. There they work the stone, shape it, change the surface. I always watch over the procedure and it often happens that in the morning, when I come to work, I find out that something is not the way I wanted, and everything needs to be redone. Sometimes the mornings can be difficult because of this.
When you have an idea and you haven’t got a suitable stone, what happens then?
Yes, that happens almost every day. Often, the most difficult task in this business is to put the right stones in one piece of jewellery. I can even be travelling for a year looking for just the right shade of orange, which is the only one that is missing to complete the jewellery. I have to be patient and wait, until somewhere in the world I find the right piece.
Tell me about your relationship to fashion.
I love to wear loose, casual clothing that is comfortable. Sometimes I wear trainers all the time. I like to combine different kinds of clothing. I don’t care if it’s a cheap blouse, if I like it, I buy it. I don’t go in for buying nothing but luxurious articles of clothing for a lot of money.
Although it is a bit of a paradox, I must admit that personally I don’t wear too much jewellery or accessories, if you will. For example I don’t wear a wrist watch at all. They’re too heavy for me and they’re not comfortable. When I need to know the exact time, I reach into my handbag and look at my mobile. Or ask someone what time it is. But, on the other hand, I absolutely adore it when I can see beautiful pieces carefully matched on people who have taste.