Born and raised in Barcelona but self-identified as citizen of the world connected to nature and the fusion of different cultures, he has a special passion for jewellery making through the understanding and intepretation of gems, and metals.
Not Just Fashion Magazine had the chance to interview Miquel Barberà, in its space Hábit located in Carrer dels Lledò at the Gothic quartier. With just entering the store you can feel a peaceful energy and a special sensation not only due to the display of his amazing gems, and decor pieces but also for the hystorical place it lies son.
Discover his philosophy with us.
Alchemist or jewellery designer?
I am not a jeweller. I do not want to create jewellery, I have never thought about it. Jewellery designer is ok to do many things, but no. I consider myself an alchemist.
How did you start making jewellery out of gems?
I started in the world of Geology, of the stones, learning about the world that surrounds us: why is it there, what is out there, how to interpret it, how to understand all those millions of years previous to us as human beings, and learning about the universo through the knowledge of the Earth. This way, we have a very wide and true perspective of how insignificant we are to all the creation there is in the universo. This makes you respect more everything and pli out more. Everything is more amazing.
When you have a certain deep knowledge of how complex it is to find some stones you begin to honor them, not due to its value by carat but by its incredible peculiarity and coincidence of existence. By only understanding a little bit about what surrounds us you can understand who we are and how to value it.
What I like is looking at the gem and see inside. We should not understimate stones because there are more than others, we must value them as a group, and what is every person in that gem. There is a reflection of life.
Thanks to colleagues in Germany and United States I have learnt several techniques that are not learnt only in one school. They are Etruscan techniques, material mixing: amalgamate gol don platinum, on silver, play with textures, with engravings. Those are the recsources I like to have, to learn, to work with. They are more manuals, and nowadays those are discarded. We recovera ll those techniques to create sensations with the material to really combine it with the gem, and the person to whom that piece is going to live with.
How would you define your style and collections?
I do not make collections but jewellery pieces that do not have a beginning nor an end. I follow a workflow that could be stopped at some point and recovered in another moment.
It is not about making a collection for fashion, aesthetics, or design. It is about being willing to make an idea that moves. About actual themes in the world of ideas. It´s like when you practice yoga and conect with your subconscious. It is about letting the energy flow and start creating trends.
Do you have any place that inspires you?
Sri Lanka is a very special place due to the preservation of its nature and the connection it has with it. It has a lot of energetic vibe for me.
Do you have any special place to look for stones?
Every stone can be found at specific places. It is impossible to have just one favorite place. Nevertheless, it is impressive understanding how the Earth was one whn you are able to find the same type of stone in Tanzania, and later in Brazil.
Do you have any references when creating your pieces?
The base upon my work is sustained is Geology. I understand that without any knowledge of things you could get to them by other ways, either it is meditation, or the understanding of the world of energies. Actually, everything influences so there is a ton of creation, from all the time condensed that you live, There are so many experiences around us that we have to decide where to start from because I like everything.
There are pieces from which I have the raw stone for 20 years now, that are not still carved out nor mounted. They wait for their moment. There are a lot of things to do but there is no sense of making them just to make them. We must not be impulsive but wait for their moment. We have to make them when it is time.
Considering that Barcelona has a big artistic energy, has the city represented something special for you?
Yes, apart from being from Barcelona, the trends that have originated here based on the nature that surrounds it such as the sea, represent an influence. Artists known as Gaudí and Dalí could not resign just to the paper and make things as society said they should be done. They thought about creating in a differet way. Representing the natural, the organic through the shpaes of the columns, and the details on decor. Apart from that, it is a city that has a cultural fusion very important which compared to others, keep always active.
What has been the most important piece for you?
I have a lot of appreciation for those pieces that have taken 300-400 hours from me because I have been living with them, and have mean tan intense effort. At the same time, there are some more simple to craft to which I feel great affection. All of them are not part of a collection but part of a life spirit that changes according to moments.
However, I have pieces that I call “Nemo´s dream” that are rings Baroque engravings to which I have lots of appreciation due to the origins of that stone, the momento when the raw material was found, and when it was craved out.
When people come for a pice, do you normally identify the type of stone that would reflect their personality, or do you inquire into them to find out which one adapts better to them?
There are the people who buy the gems already crafted: gallerists, art collectors, people who are shocked by the energetic vibe. And there are others who find their piece in a non-crafted line and I make it base don what they would like to have. And there are some others who bring the raw stone themselves to have the pieces crafted for them.
Lots of them base on references brought out from fashion magazines, things they have seen before, but I work upon feelings, lifestyle. We create somthing particular.
Do you think that every gem reflects some type of personality from people? How do they use it related to Astrology.
Yes, from one part. As you may find everywhere, there is a 90% out of small talk, and a 10% out of truth. Astrology, for example, and the use of colors is something that even if we do not believe they exist, they do. This is why it is interesting to understand the material. The color is a reflection of the energy that a stone has. Of course, there are gems that can help to balance. As, for instance, when you talk about chakras.
Astrology and gems can be related with certain knwloedge of the planets, and the movement of the universo. It is the connection among our planets with the universo and everything that surrounds us. Naturally everything is connected. Everything
To which stone do you identify yourself?
I do not identify myself with one specifically. They are all my favorite by their unique properties and the energy each of them have. It is important to appreciate them and discover what it is inside of them.
What are the combinations of metals you use with stones?
We work with gold, platinum, and silver. Those are the materials which I like to combine the stones with. For instance, the silver can be oxidated to use it in another way.
Have you decorated your store with a special guideline?
I have never used Feng-Shui, bu ton the other hand, it is just about creating something you feel. You don´t have to call it Feng-Shui. The balance exists if you feel so, and believe so. You do not need to be told how to do it. You have to feel things.
From smells to material display, I have placed everything myself the way I like it. I brought the closets, the fossils. All elements have been arranged expressly.
Your jewellery has been use don many films, and TV series.
Yes, in fact, for the movie “Stella Cnadente” some pieces were crafted to magnify the royalty state of the characters of Alex Brendemühl and Bárbara Lennie. Alex Brendemühl´s case, something curious happened since he has a lot of sensitivity for the understanding of stones, he created a connection with some of the pieces with a “galactic” style to which he played some scenes using them in a very special way.
In the end, the movie was awarded with “Best Wardrobe Design” on Gaudí Awards 2015.
Thank you so much for having us and help us understand this world of the energy of gems.