Conversation with Sandrine Munoz, owner and creative director of Pièces Uniques
Born in France, Sandrine studied in Canada, worked for the world- renowned jewelry store “Carat” in St. Barth, and launched her first fine jewelry collection in 2007. In 2014, she moved permanently to Norway and decided to create “Pièces Uniques” by opening the first flagship store located in Oslo. Today, Sandrine promotes the French savoir-faire by offering custom-designed jewelry as well as two ready-to-wear collections: the high end (18-karat gold with precious stones) and the contemporary (Silver and 18-karat Gold plated).
What is your background?
S.M: I was raised by my grandparents in France and I spent most of my childhood playing around with pearls, sequins, threads and feathers in my grandmother workshop. She was an embroiderer, and I was fascinated by this meticulous artistic work. Graduated in International business from HEC Quebec, I was scouted shortly after that by the owner of the jewelry store Carat, in St. Barth, to work as a private sale advisor. Carat is worldwide renowned for its fine jewelries and high-end timepieces. The clients are some of the world’s most prestigious collectors seeking extremely rare and often unique pieces. I was only 24 years old when I started to work for this company and I received an intensive two years training in the art of fine jewelry which I truly became passionate about, especially the creative side.
I was working together with some of the most talented fine jewelry designers from Paris and Milan. When you work on such projects, you kind of develop a real relationship with your clients. This is another aspect of my job that I truly enjoy. I still design pieces for some of my very first customers.
What is your best memory?
S.M: I travel quite often to meet clients, and in one of my greatest trip to New Zealand, I visited a black jade mine and I completely fell in love with the stone, which is usually carved in a Maori art form. I never had a request for a piece made of black jade and I felt like there was a great potential for it.
I collaborated with a local craftsman and developed a very small collection of eight pieces with black jade and chocolate diamonds set on black gold in a very contemporary flair. My first pieces were quickly sold in St. Barth and it was the beginning of a new journey for me.
When did you launch Pièces Uniques and why?
S.M: I launched my first fine jewelry collection in 2007, selling exclusively to selected retailers in the Caribbean, the US and France.
In 2014, I moved permanently to Oslo and decided to open my flagship store in Frogner. I wanted to pursue my work in custom- designed jewelry and promote the French savoir-faire by creating a service quite new in Oslo. I also developed a silver and gold-plated collection for every day use.
What is the trend in the market these days?
S.M: Ear cuff with structural line and graphic balance.
What is your favorite piece?
S.M: The very first cocktail ring I designed. It is a beautiful bee set on Chocolate and white diamonds with rubies and pearl. Not only it is a symbolic piece but I feel absolutely fabulous every time I wear it!
If you were a Stone, which one will it be and why?
S.M: I will be a natural loose blue diamond! It is extremely rare and captivating. Most people won’t know what it is and the value of it, so to me, this discretion makes it sort of “Le chic absolu”.
What is your fashion motto?
S.M: Fashion is about inspiration and aspiration!