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Claire Naa & Arnaud Soulignac

Claire Naa & Arnaud Soulignac

Claire Naa and Arnaud Soulignac could not get more French. They're the black coffee-sipping, tartines-confitures-for-breakfast types with that same lazy, love for their city as true New Yorkers.

In Arnaud's own, wonderfully French words: “Everything happens in Paris – it's the fashion capital of the world.”

Claire and Arnaud are the designers behind Origami Jewellery: a collection of intricately designed necklaces and bracelets inspired by the ancient Japanese art of paper folding.

Crazily enough, the idea for the collection was born after a Japanese friend taught the then-camerman and journalist how to fold a paper crane one chilly Parisian winter's night. For both of them, it was the beginning of something big.

Paper crane earrings were quickly created, but deciding that paper jewellery was too ephemeral the pair began experimenting with sterling silver, gold plated metal and gun metal. Given the pair had zero experience, the design process wasn't without its challenges.

While the design appealed to a lot of manufacturers in Europe, none of them could achieve the sharp, super accurate 'folds' that are the jewellery's trademarks. The solution was to have the moulds made in France, source the fine chain from Italy and have the whole piece constructed in Japan.

The concept has developed so much since its beginnings that the pair now consult an origami master to create the prototypes for their new designs. Bien sûr.

The Origami Jewellery workshop is nestled in the cobblestoned streets of the Marais and houses a team of five people and a range that evolves seasonally.

“We draw our inspiration from travel and casual meetings,” says Arnaud. (Which sounds suspicious until Claire adds that her current obsession is her daughter.)

There is something totally unique about this delicate, Japonais-Frenchy jewellery, but these aperitif-loving paper folders should be admired for their détermination as well.

“We're both self-taught,” says Arnaud. “We just had a concept and had so much faith in the idea that we just went for it!”


 Check out Claire and Arnaud's swan, craneparrot, and gazelle necklaces.