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Around The World With Carolyn Roumeguere

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Even in an ever more globalized world, jeweler Carolyn Roumeguere is especially international. Raised in Kenya, where she moved as a child when her mother married a Masai warrior, Roumeguere learned beading techniques alongside the women of the Masai. Her African-inspired pieces caught the attention of Donna Karan, who picked them up for her Urban Zen stores, and the rest is history.

At least, that is, until her next move. In September, the designer packed up and moved her family out of Africa to a little town in the Yucatán. It’s there that she began working on her Spring ’11 collection, inspired, she said by phone from her production workshop in Mexico, by magic carpets. “The magic carpet idea—it’s thinking positively; it’s knocking down limitations and just going for it,” she explained. In her case, you could also believe it’s her preferred conveyance.

Magic carpets tend to be associated with the Middle East, but it’s the traditions of Roumeguere’s new adopted home that are clearly reflected in her new work, with its frequent use of skulls, religious symbols, and various metals, such as rose gold, yellow gold, and tarnished silver. “Everywhere I go, I like to work with techniques that those artisans have had passed down from father to son—that’s what I find interesting,” she said. Not only does she like to use ancient jewelry-making techniques, but also in some cases, the original materials, like the 64 million-year-old fossils she is currently working with.

The designer is currently drafting plans to do a more accessible collection so, she said, “everyone can have a little piece of the magic carpet.” After that? Her next move, naturally: this time, to upstate New York, where she recently bought and is in the process of renovating a giant barn.

Photo: Courtesy of Carolyn Roumeguere

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