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Beirut-Based Andre Marcha’s Jewelry is an Ode to Sculpting Timeless, Avant-Garde Pieces

Tartan Drape Earrings

Andre Marcha started his artistic journey at a very early age. “I used to love drawing so much that one day, the school’s principal gave me a whole set of painting material to encourage me to never stop. Then, at 14, I wanted to learn a new skill. That’s when I dove into sculpting,” he recalls. Growing up in Beirut, in a family of jewelers, his choice of career came as no surprise. “I’ve always been immersed in this world, so it became clear to me that with the mix of my artistic side and my upbringing, jewelry making was the unmistakable path for me. In 1969, I started my apprenticeship as a stone setter, and that launched my journey.”

Andre Marcha with his children Stephanie, Jeff, and Bruno

The first pivotal moment in Marcha’s path was at age 17 when he met the Italian artist and master in wax carving Germani, who used to work for his uncles. “He always tried to get me out of the room so that I wouldn’t grasp his techniques. But little did he know my hunger to learn and follow my passion,” he confesses. Wax became Marcha’s discipline and his core technique. “With wax, I can translate the very first emotion or design in mind into a concrete jewel in my hands. Nothing is set in stone with wax, you can keep playing around, modifying, and pushing your limits until you are satisfied.” Making art-sculpted jewels, creating forms, and pain ng them with gradients of colors, and also giving life and meaning to an organic stone, or pearl, are in the brand’s DNA. Pearls are also part of the brand signature. “I started to sculpt my pieces around an imperfect Baroque pearl by staring at its shape and imagining the rest of the piece around its natural formation,” recalls the jeweler.

Marcha’s pieces stand out due to their audacity, volume, and size. Some could qualify as daring, unconventional, and non-conformist. “I like to think outside the box: I’m always open to using new materials like wood, copper, bronze… My first motivation is taking a risk and creating something completely new, even if it doesn’t appeal to everyone.”

Rough Turquoise Bracelet

Nature is among the many sources of inspiration for artists, and for Marcha, this is no different. “I am a lover of nature, with all its majesty, its perfect imperfections, vibrant colors, and creative chaos. It is indeed a wild discovery. I spent  me carefully studying the movement of animals, their structures, and you can see these reflected in each piece,” he says. “After that, I became fascinated with the shapes and volumes of fruits and vegetables.” In 1975, Marcha flew to Paris with his wife and experienced a revelation. “Beau was everywhere. Even in the least common places like the entrances of metrs or 19th-century buildings. The details in the sculpted stones and cathedrals were my inspiration for the Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and Old meets New collections.” In the late 90s, he was approached by private art collectors for the conception and creation of art sculptures exclusively set with precious stones destined to be displayed in palaces and museums.

The new century marked both the opening of Marcha’s first flagship store in the intercontinental Phoenicia Hotel and the very first laser machine purchase during a visit to Basel. “This revolutionized and innovated our work and took it to a whole other level.” Now represented in Paris, Cairo, and Istanbul, with new projects to extend in KSA and the US, Marcha’s jewelry is enjoyed by royal, sophisticated socialites, and celebrities like Majida El Roumi, Nancy Ajram, Haifa Wehbe, Elissa, Maya Diab, Mouna Ayoub, and Mahira Abdelaziz.

Naturalis Mushroom set

With humble words, Marcha offers praise for his wife, Elsa, “A constant who fueled and supported my thirst in every chapter of life. She has always been my best showcase for my jewels.” Today Marcha is still the captain of the ship, surrounded by the second generation. “They followed my path. My passion became theirs,” he says. “I used to take Stephanie, my eldest, every summer with me to the atelier at a very young age. She used to spend hours just stringing pearls and creating her own designs.” Stephanie, who is the brand representative and handles public relations, says, “My father is indeed my mentor, our inspiration, he not only made us proudly fall in love with the world of jewelry, but he also transmitted to us the DNA of the brand.”

At the family business, “most of the learning is done on the job and close to the founder as opposed to through books and universities,” says Bruno, Marcha’s middle child and jewelry designer. “I always look into finding a balance between technology and craftsmanship/ manual work.” His youngest, Jeff, as jewelry designer and business developer, says, “My father brought me up in this world of art, whether through jewelry making or appreciation of jazz, and passed on his passion for creating and working with my hands.”

“I’d take the risk,” is a quote that sums up Marcha’s motto since his beginning, five decades ago. His ultimate advice is to invent. “That’s it. Never stop inventing. Keep throwing yourself into the unknown. No limits: play around with the forms, colors, materials… Never stay within the box or your comfort zone,” he concludes.

Originally published in the February 2023 issue of Vogue Arabia

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