© Written by Rachael Taylor for Luxury London

If you’re not familiar with gouache, you could be forgiven for thinking it sounds vaguely like an awkward fashion mistake or perhaps a hearty Hungarian dish. Dig a little deeper and a ravishing world of colour opens up. Gouache is the art of painting in opaque watercolour and was used by masters such as Matisse and Toulouse-Lautrec.

What is less well known is that for centuries bespoke jewellery designers have been using the art form to guide craftsmen when they create the final pieces. Even now, top houses like Boucheron, Dior and Piaget insist on using a delicate painting, known as a ‘render’ in the trade, which is passed from stone setters to goldsmiths to polishers.

Chelsea-based fine jewellery designer Luis Miguel Howard explains: “The process of creating a gouache is quite straightforward, but it is also time-consuming and requires some skill. “Most are painted on vellum, tracing paper or coloured Ingres paper. Shadows are painted in Chinese ink, while metal and stones are in washes of gouache of varying intensities, often leaving areas unpainted to give a sense of lightness and delicacy.”…

This story was published on Luxury London in October 2017, as well as in print in Kensington & Chelsea and Mayfair magazines. Click here to read the story in full. Main image: Piaget. 


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