“When I was maybe 3 years old or so, I was given a gold bracelet with dragons on it from my grandmother,” Diane Neuville said on a video call from Versailles, France, where she lives and works. “My mother is Vietnamese, and in Vietnam jewelry in gold with gemstones is given to children and handed down from mother to daughter. It’s symbolic, like a message of love from the family.”
So four years ago, when the 34-year-old jeweler had a daughter, she wanted to give her a gift of precious jewelry, designed for a child. “I looked around” and found nothing, “so I decided to make my own,” she said. The result, which debuted last year, is Les Pierres d’Anna (the Gemstones of Anna), a brand named for her 4-year-old daughter.
Ms. Neuville uses 18-karat rose and yellow gold with emeralds from Brazil, blue Ceylon sapphires from Sri Lanka and pink, purple and yellow sapphires from Madagascar. “I’ve always been amazed by the vivid colors of gemstones,” she said, “and I wanted colorful gemstones for children.”
The brand consists of earrings, necklaces and bracelets; additional lengths of chain can be purchased so the jewelry can continue to be worn as the child grows. Each piece can be customized, with the desired selection of gold and gems, and the signature clasp — shaped like a lotus, the national flower of Vietnam — can be engraved with a name or a monogram.
Les Pierres d’Anna offers different designs, with more to come. “I wanted motifs that speak to children; I wanted something playful,” Ms. Neuville said. Two examples are her floral and butterfly designs which “are always presented in a colorful way.” The body of the butterfly is a marquise-cut sapphire, and is centered between golden wings; the flower’s petals are made of gemstones. A constellation design features gemstones sparkling on golden chains, like stars.
There is also a Cinderella collection. Its design features a gold outline of Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage. “I designed it to appeal to parents and to children,” she said. “Your mother, your grandmother, all generations know this fairy tale. It represents the identity of my brand, to create jewelry that lasts a lifetime” and that can be passed on.
The Melody collection is also personal to Ms. Neuville, with earrings and necklaces featuring treble clefs of gold, and a bracelet with five strands of gold links like the staff in a musical composition, with gemstones in place of musical notes. “I loved music, and studied in the music conservatory in Versailles for 10 years when I was younger.”
Before becoming a jeweler, Ms. Neuville studied business. She has a master’s degree in marketing and finance from the École Des Hautes Études Commerciales du Nord, known as EDHEC, in Lille, France. After graduation, she worked on the business side of luxury maisons such as Parfums Christian Dior, Van Cleef & Arpels and Bulgari.
The experience was invaluable, she said: “I worked in marketing and planning and merchandising and learned about the jewelry making process and consumer relations. It gave me valuable insight into the jewelry industry and helped me develop a strategy.”
Ms. Neuville then studied at the Haute École de la Joaillerie in Paris. “I wanted to understand the basics of jewelry making, to fully understand the process, so I took a course in the importance of craftsmanship,” she said. “I also wanted to learn the technique of gouache painting because I wanted my artisan to know what I wanted to create.”
She also made contacts, and when her designs for Les Pierres d’Anna were ready to be produced she knew the artisan she wanted to create them. “I really wanted someone used to the traditional know-how of Parisian jewelry, to have this quality,” she said. “The workshop is based in the heart of jewelry industry, near the Place Vendome.”
In an email, the artisan, Didier (who declined to give his last name for this article) said, “I love adapting my jewelry-making expertise to these small-sized creations.” He added that he pays “special attention to polishing in order to achieve soft angles that are comfortable for children to wear.”
“I have worked for renowned jewelry houses, but this is the first time I have been asked to work on such a concept of 18-karat gold and gemstones for children which, to me, is unique in Paris.”
Les Pierres d’Anna is sold online, but Ms. Neuville hopes to start working with stores internationally. The most expensive item is the Melody bracelet at 1,800 euros, about $2,000. The least expensive, which can appeal to all genders, is one of the butterfly or blossom motifs in gold, strung on a colored cotton cord, starting at €260. Les Pierres d’Anna also includes mother and daughter bracelets, sized for women and children. Ms. Neuville said she was thinking of creating a line for boys. She won’t have to look far to find a name for the line: Augustin, her 7-year-old son.