Inside the Mind of Roberto Coin

“Creating something new is always exciting,” Roberto Coin says. “It’s like if you go to a restaurant that you’ve never been [to], and you … have a beautiful dinner with a new date. It’s spectacular, no? Life is fascinating.”


To peruse the jewelry of the Italian designer, who got his start in the hotel industry and has forayed into designing furniture, bags and shoes, is to earn a glimpse into a mind that is truly inspired by everything. Different periods in history, gourmet food and drink, cinema, flora and fauna—they all find their way into the bold gems, intricately patterned precious metals and clusters of diamonds that make up each stunning piece.


Montage Magazine caught up with the prolific designer at Montage Laguna Beach to find out how he got into the business, stays inspired and continues to create new favorite styles season after season, such as those pictured below from a recent collection.


Montage Magazine: When did you know you wanted to make jewelry?
Roberto Coin: I was a very successful hotelier with a great wish to enter the fashion world. Since I was 8 [years old] I wanted to dress the women of the world. And it was only coincidentally that I sold the hotel, … went back to Italy (because I was in England in those days) and went to a jewelry fair. Out of all the places which I could have gone in fashion—it could have been clothes, it could have been bags, shoes, whatever—I fell in love very much with jewelry. I thought, “Oh, that’s spectacular.” … So, I decided to open a company. I started learning from the various maestros … traveled the world a lot and I was more and more fascinated all the time. I learned the trade [for] seven years before I decided to manufacture. … And that’s when life started.

MM: Many of your collections are named after places. Is there one destination you find most inspiring?
RC: All places are inspiring. … I love culture. I’ve been to 107 countries—different people, different culture, different religion, different ladies, different men, different ways of seeing jewelry and different arts. I follow fashion; I follow television; the newspaper—everything. … So I get inspired by life, more than anything else.


MM: How do you harness that inspiration to make something tangible, like a piece of jewelry?
RC: My garden has beautiful flowers, and one day I get up and say I’m going to make a new flower—not a flower which you’ve already seen. My duty is to do something that has never been seen before. So my flower doesn’t look like another flower. [My designs] depend on what I want to create or what I think is missing in the market.


MM: What keeps you in the business after all these years?
RC: Every day [I] become more knowledgeable. We make 600 new models every year … [and] I’d like to dress everybody differently. … All the big brands want to dress everybody the same. I don’t think that’s chic at all. Creativity is beautiful, relaxing, illuminating and it makes [me] happy because it’s like giving birth to a new baby every week.


MM: Do you have a favorite piece that you’ve made in your career?
RC: No. I fall in love. And then once I create something else, I love the next one. … I always love the pieces I give my wife, because they have a special purpose. But no—I think the best of me is yet to come.


By Linda Domingo