Carola Eckrodt: Coeur de Lion

The high-tech look of Carola Eckrodt's jewelry reflects years of design refinement, so it's fun to know how she got her start. As a teenager she made herself earrings from a wide variety of unconventional materials. Her first official jewelry collection, assembled with the help of friends and exhibited in 1987 at the Avantgarde exhibition in Munich, was based on industrial materials including gearbox parts, rubber, petrol hoses, and alloy steel. These were helpfully provided by her partner Nils Eckrodt, who at that time had a holiday job with Mercedes-Benz. The Dusseldorf-based couturier Hanns Friedrichs (who became a style icon as outfitter to Joan Collins) took an interest in Carola's new company and bought the entire first Coeur de Lion collection.

Today Carola's company is still based in its original home in Stuttgart, Germany, though it now employs nearly 150 people who handcraft each new design to her specifications. Her basic materials have evolved to include glass, acrylic, and lucite, which master artisans skillfully combine with stainless steel and aluminum parts. Initially, a new process was used to deposit a coating just a few nanometers thick on the aluminum to protect the material from corrosion. The result was the first colored anodized designs in silver, gold, blue, and red. This basic material from 1987 is still used in Carola's collections today. In more recent collections the metals are also sometimes treated by eloxation, a bath in which the parts are dipped to lock the surface and protect against scarring, before being plated in silver, rhodium, or 24-karat gold. Finally, Swarovski crystals are incorporated to add some sparkle to the mix.

We never get tired of Coeur de Lion's clean crisp designs, the interesting mixture of materials, and the variety of deeply saturated colors in each piece. Wear and enjoy!


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