by Zeva Bellel
Photos by Fabrice Fortin
Before launching her Paris-based couture label Valslo, French jewelry designer Valerie Sloan worked as a sculptor—a background that reveals itself in the masterful play of light, shadow and texture in her designs.
Produced by hand in her atelier beneath her new Paris boutique, Sloan uses the ancient technique of âlost-wax casting.â First sculpting a design out of a block of wax, she studies and smooths every detail with a battalion of tools, then taking her delicate wax carving to a nearby foundry where the workers transform it into a one-of-a-kind jewel in silver or gold.
Still growing as a brand, the artisan produces each piece one by one, requiring that she custom-make alternate sizes as necessary. This slow, non-commercial method would likely drive most entrepreneurs insane, but she wouldnât have it any other way. "I like to tailor-make things, the idea is for people to order something personal and timeless,â says Sloan, who treats each piece like a future heirloom.
Putting fit and comfort on par with the overall aesthetic, she spends hours polishing the inside of a ring just to give it a silken feel. The shiny interiors also offset her predominantly matte surfaces. âWith matte surfaces you can see how volumes have been sculpted through the relationship between light and shadow," Sloan explains.
Inspired by everything from a crack in the wall and a fleeting shadow to the rocks in her garden, each creation has a palpable personality to it. Physical symbols of passing thoughts and observations, the collection runs the gamut of emotions from tender and romantic to raw and blunt.
While earrings and necklaces pepper her collection, Sloan focuses on rings with an incurable passion for wedding bands. âI like the idea of a symbolic jewel, especially one that represents the union between two people. Itâs a beautiful example of idealism.â Prices vary depending on design and material, but span €500-1500.