"Every jewel is always a unique rendez-vous," says Taher Chemirik. The Algerian-born designer studied at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs de Paris and began his career design costumes for the Paris Opera. In 1990, he decided to focus on his first love, jewelry. Within a year of apprenticing with a jewelry-maker he was making pieces for Karl Lagerfeld at Chloé, and later Chanel, Hermès, Balenciaga, and Yves Saint Laurent. His chunky, geometric pieces and signature jewelry dresses combine gold and stones, such as Colombian emerald, malachite, lapis lazuli, tourmaline, and turquoise—and, recently, plastic. In addition to jewelry, Chemirik creates sculptural furniture. He was named one of the world’s most influential designers by Time magazine in 2007.