By Rebecca Doulton
“Just about everybody in Hollywood has worn my jewellery,” says Matthew Campbell Laurenza, the American designer behind the M.C.L fine jewellery label. Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Meryl Streep and Annette Bening prove that his clients are as varied as his gemstones are colourful. Large, bold, sculptural and gothic, M.C.L jewellery is a statement for women with personality.
Pinning-down Matthew Campbell Laurenza is not easy. Shuttling back and forth between Hong Kong and Thailand where he is based, Matthew makes the occasional pit-stop in his native USA. “I reckon I clocked up about 400,000 air miles last year,” he tells me during our phone interview. Travelling to different countries and immersing himself in different artistic cultures is fundamental to understanding his work.
Describing his fine fashion jewellery as “confident, colourful and eclectic”, Matthew Campbell Laurenza launched M.C.L in 2007 creating bold, vibrant pieces resonating with his passion for architecture and sculpture. Having started a degree in architecture, his creative vocation led him to fine-tune his path, going on to obtain a degree in fine arts with a speciality in sculpture. “Studying sculpture gave me an understanding of volume and how a piece of jewellery relates or sits on the body,” he explains. “Architecture gave me the technical know-how.”
If you look closely at some of his larger pieces, like the highly architectural Art Deco-style cuff with black enamel and coloured gemstones, you will see how the silver on the interior part of the bracelet has been hollowed out to lighten the jewellery - similar to the ancient Roman practice of coffering used to lighten the dome of the Pantheon.
Working predominately with sterling silver plated with black rhodium and sapphires “thanks to their huge colour spectrum”, all his designs are executed in his own jewellery manufacture in Thailand, where he supervises every single step of the process. Currently developing a collection in platinum, Matthew is not interested in the value of a certain material. “It’s not about the intrinsic value of a stone or the setting. I don’t look at jewellery with a price in mind but what it does for a person. A less expensive piece of fine jewellery can give you as much return on investment as a very expensive jewel.”