Caroline Gaspard is the creator of AKILLIS and has created a brand that surpasses the traditional houses on an international level. Via intense passion, creativity, a genius, innovative entrepreneurial approach and foresight, Gaspard is forging a path in the world of personalized luxury jewelry that is unprecedented. Constantly keeping an eye on all aspects of the industry and a commitment to passion being the clue of success is at the heart of AKILLIS’ success.
When did your love for gemstones begin?
It is above all a passion that came from my Mother who has always had a certain affinity with precious stones. Indeed a friend of my father was a diamond seller and often brought us pretty stones to show us. It was like a game to know what we could do, bracelets, rings or necklaces. At the age of 15, I started drawing and making jewelry for my family and friends, I had so many requests that I naturally decided to keep going on the adventure. I started from the observation that there were only fashion accessories for more classic jewelry. Following several refusals to personalize jewelry from some major jewelry houses, I wanted to create my own brand where each customer can ask for exactly what they want. Above all, she had to be rock and edgy to get away from classic floral designs or other hearts and animals, but mainly appeal to men and women alike.
What does the brands name "AKILLIS" mean?
The name AKILLIS was an evidence for me because i have always been fascinated by mythology. I choose to use the name of the most rock character from greek mythology, Achilles, which is Achilléa in Greek. I also named my son Achille. According to the legend he will be a rock and rebel hero of the playground [laughs]. In a way, jewels and diamonds are the Achilles heel of women.
What lessons you have learned from creating a luxury brand and building a company from the ground up?
You have to be passionate. You have to work hard and have an eye on everything. I am quite a control freak. Have a guideline and stick to it, create a real brand DNA. I am intractable with the quality of our jewelry and especially on the Made In France.
How do you balance your passion for jewelry with the intensity of running a high-end company?
I work with passion, it is the clue of success. When you are loving what you are doing everyday, We do not see the time passing and working became a real pleasure.
Which gemstones are most in demand currently? Why?
Still the diamonds because it is a solid value.
Your collections are unique, daring, and beautiful. Where do you find inspiration for the collections?
When I create new pieces or a collection, I try to project myself through it and imagine myself wearing it. If it's something that does not speak to me, I simply abandon the project. When I see a stone I know immediately how to mount it. Today the clientele tends towards the new generations who aspire to new rock designs. Being part of this clientele, I wanted to create AKILLIS to precisely satisfy this demand and obviously stick to my vision and my expectations of fine jewelry.
Tell me about the workshops where the pieces are created.
I set out to establish our own workshops. Based in France, they bring traditional jewelry making techniques to life, using a dedicated foundry and melting furnace for each type of alloy where jewelry polishers and setters use the finest materials including gold, platinum, diamonds and precious stones. Driven by the love of accomplishing exquisite work, the workshops can handle any challenge presented. From creating a seamlessly smooth and rounded hollow bullet, to modeling the perfect skin-grazing gem earrings for the Cruella range, titanium shapes Capture Me bracelets and even breathing shimmering new life into the image of python scales with a graphic, edgy and a truly contemporary style. This unbridled inventiveness is communicated through the French artisan craft of high jewelry. Each piece is made in AKILLIS’ workshop, by an artisan using stones that have been meticulously selected by the house’s very own gemologists.