vienna-bred designer tomasz donocik, who now lives in london, has always been looking for new subtle ways of creating individual jewellery for men. donocik’s goal is not to simply hang a piece of jewellery around the necks of aesthetic-minded men, but he rather seeks to underline their personality. and his approach has already been rewarded with a series of international prizes and design awards. in the following interview, tomasz donocik talks to pool about why men should actually wear more jewellery and why diamonds will never be man’s best friend.
dear tomasz donocik, when did you first think about the topic of jewellery?
i moved to london in 2000 to study at the central saint martins college of art & design. all i knew back then was that i wanted to pursue a career in arts. during my introductory courses, i spent several months dealing with different subjects like fashion, graphic, interaction & fabric design and jewellery design. this experience made me realize that jewellery was the right medium for me, constituting a perfect combination of drawing, handicrafts and design. previously i had never had anything to do with jewellery and that’s why i would only say i’m a designer specializing in jewellery. this could also be the reason why many of my creations look totally different to what you would expect from common jewellery.
what was the first piece of jewellery you designed?
in order to pass my introductory course in 2001 i had to design a whole jewellery collection. this collection was based on childhood scares like vampires, bats, devils etc. and it inspired me to design pieces like a “cage ring” containing a real garlic clove or a key chain box filled with small silver crosses – in short, jewellery to fend off vampires and other evil creatures. everything was very playful and maybe a bit daft, but i was only 18 back then and just wanted to be creative and experiment with materials like silver.
what was the most sophisticated piece of jewellery you designed?
that would definitely have to be the ”chesterfield hunters” bracelet. it’s very iconic, instantly recognizable and unites all my favourite raw materials: leather, gold and precious stones. sewing leather is a very elaborate process and has become something like my trademark.
you mainly focus on jewellery for men, which still is a bit of a difficult area. what is your personal opinion on it?
it’s a vital part of me and my label. there simply isn’t enough good and beautiful jewellery for men around these days and that’s a real shame! the companies i work for like the fact that i go beyond the stylistic borders of men’s jewellery. there’s still a lot of room for new and innovative concepts in this field. for instance, i also like the idea of women wearing men’s jewellery, which also makes me think of the expressive power of jeans: their effect always depends on the person wearing them!
do you think that men should attach more importance to jewellery?
funny enough, during the 19th century it was men who wore jewellery rather than women. for instance, in india men wore colourful necklaces and in victorian london they loved to adorn themselves with pocket watches, brooches and rings. and i get the feeling that this trend is being picked up again today. just think of big jewellery manufactures like de beers, stephen webster or garrards, who have already created a series of jewellery collections for men. all of these are sure signs of a growing market!
you won the ”ykk” accessories award at the renowned talent competition ”its#7” in trieste, italy. what did this make you feel like?
it was incredible! it took lots of time and passion to create my zippers and stoppers, and this award means a lot to me because it acknowledges all my efforts and my design concept. it also led to new projects, for instance i’m currently discussing a future cooperation with its#.
what was your most interesting cooperation to date?
that would have to be my cooperation with jewellery designer stephen webster. he gave me the chance to work on the de beers’ men’s jewellery collection ”burning rocks” and paved the way for my current works for garrard. it has given me a great opportunity to show off my skills as a men’s jewellery designer to both the jewellery and design world.
do you know the saying ”diamonds are a girl’s best friend”, and could it also be true for men?
i know the saying but i doubt that it could be used for men as well. men always prefer stones that somehow look ”cool”, like a black, rough diamond. granted, that’s a diamond too, but i don’t think that this instantly makes them best friends … the word “diamond” simply doesn’t sound manly enough.