Saskia Fernando


Papillon du thé




What inspired you to design jewellery?

I began designing jewellery for myself some time before I started Papillon du thé. With this in mind at the time of opening her concept store PR, my sister suggested I actually start designing a complete line. My first collection featured the Rose Ring, a piece I had made for myself four years earlier.

How do you keep your designs original?

I believe all design is inspired; it’s a variation on a theme. I’ve always begun with the stones, like many jewellery designers do. For me the nature of the stones is so important; they are either cut in unusual shapes or they have little imperfections that create a unique detail. As my brand has grown I have begun creating one-of-a-kind pieces by using different stones. This is something I will continue to do. I stick to my gut and don’t copy-paste anything. I draw inspiration from everything. I never design a piece I won’t wear myself.

How would you describe your Brand/Products?

Aesthetic and quality are things I like to focus on while ensuring that all my pieces are made locally and ethically. The Sri Lankan identity of my brand is intensely important to me. Each and every piece is made by hand in a workshop and I believe this is a vital part of the industry that must be protected. I don’t design jewellery that only incorporates Sri Lankan stones or Sri Lankan design details – I design contemporary pieces that have an edge.

What draws you to Sri Lanka’s precious and semi-precious stones?

I work predominantly with semi-precious stones and their colour and energy is very important to me. Before I began designing jewellery, I was obsessed with the energy of stones, I used to wear energy bracelets and practice reiki often. I do that less now but I wear my own pieces. I feel they bring me positive energy while still making me feel beautiful. I name the rings according to the energy they bring to their wearer. I feel this is an important aspect of every stone.

Are you inspired to design pieces for a certain type of woman? Who is she?

I’m inspired to design pieces which I myself would want to wear. My pieces are for every woman. I have statement pieces for those who like to make a statement delicate pieces for women who prefer to be more discreet with their fashion accessories. I simply design with generic femininity in mind.

Do you have a favourite piece/collection and why?

I don’t really. I wear different pieces all the time. We have a little jewellery box on our desk and my sister and I accessorise when we get to work. I love love love my new TOTEM collection but then I also can’t do without a two finger ring. I always wear my Constellation ring, one of the few fine jewellery pieces I have created and it is made with rose gold and set with a light pink sapphire and rubies. I also have on a pinky ring most of the time.

What is your favourite Sri Lankan gem stone and why?

I love our sapphires but I’m not drawn to blue at all. I love the pinks, particularly light pinks. Jewellers always laugh at me because the darker stones are more valuable but I love the lighter shades simply because they look softer on the skin. I’m not into bling. I set a marble block into the Maharani ring and I think it’s my most glamorous, fabulous piece.

What is your vision for the future of your brand?

I’m excited to be selling my brand internationally as of this year. I launched the brand at Bungalow 8 in Mumbai this month and will also be selling with a new fashion concept store in Byron Bay in Australia when they open in December. I have observed, through my work as a gallerist, that if you create a strong brand the response is generated automatically. I love selling through my sister’s store locally, it’s where it all began for me and she is such a huge support. My vision is to continue designing and draw motivation from the response.