From her childhood among the European elite to her days at the University of Munich, Comolli has developed a taste for elegance, a head for business, and an eye for true beauty.
By Jennifer Seligman
In addition to designing, Comolli oversees every aspect of her business, from gemstone acquisitions and quality control to marketing and distribution.
Tamara Comolli may not have always known that she was destined to design luxe jewels, but she has since grown to become one of the stars in the highly competitive world of haute gemstones. Born in Germany, Comolli spent most of her childhood living in Spain, France, and Gibraltar, where her father managed casinos. As a result, she constantly found herself enveloped in the glamorous world of European high society.
Beginning at a young age, Comolli’s interest in jewelry emerged with visits to gemstone mines, where she collected her favorite stones. She also loved to refashion and modernize her mother’s family heirlooms. After studying business administration and advertising at the University of Munich, she spent five years pursuing a career with a management consulting and advertising firm. Before long, her passion for jewelry design became undeniable, and Comolli combined her business acumen with her knowledge of stones to launch the Tamara Comolli Fine Jewelry Collection. “I started my collection in 1992; it was just a hobby in the beginning,” explains Comolli. One of the original collections, Curriculum Vitae, which features rings, cuffs, and bangles in 18-karat gold with playful, multicolored sliding gemstones, became an immediate best-selling design and served as the catalyst that formally launched the business.
Although she never studied gemology or jewelry design in a formal setting, Comolli claims that her business and marketing background helped her business grow into the international company it is today. “I launched one line after another; it grew and grew, and we made a brand of it.”
In addition to designing, Comolli oversees every aspect of her business, from gemstone acquisitions and quality control to marketing and distribution. This steadfast devotion has helped ensure the success of the brand. On one of her first buying trips, a dealer presented Comolli with sapphires that she immediately rejected due to their below-par qualities. The following day, the dealer re-presented the undesirable stones in hopes Comolli wouldn’t notice. She did. Ever since this experience, Comolli has been insistent on forming an intimate, personal relationship with the stones she personally purchases for her collections.
Today, Comolli continues to create stylish, original, high-quality jewelry that emphasizes creative color combinations. Her designs are grouped into collections; each piece tells a tale through use of color and distinct, playful names. The various collections are linked through the 20-plus color stories in 18-karat yellow, white, or rose gold, which include Caribbean, Hollywood, and Rainforest combinations, alongside newcomers such as Cinnamon and Chocolat, which emphasize warm, natural tones. This gives women the opportunity to build a stylish jewelry wardrobe that can be mixed and matched. The company logo, a turquoise water drop, is infused into the various lines in the form of a ring, clasp, stone setting, or golden pendant. Comolli explains that the drop represents both the sensuality of the collection and her love of the ocean and warm weather.
Overall, Tamara Comolli’s jewels are chic, understated, and elegant. Comolli continues to innovate with new designs and color stories while remaining true to her original concept. “It is wearable art,” she explains. “My jewelry should be worn every day-while shopping, meeting friends, dining out, or attending events. Women want to express their personality not only with their clothing, but also through their choice of jewelry. My jewelry underscores the individuality of a woman and allows the jewelry to speak with the individual, not for her.”
Comolli is known for creating conversation pieces with interesting themes, such as the Roulette bracelet, which features a revolving, bezel-set “chip”-an obvious homage to her father. Since her 18th birthday, Comolli has carried a keychain with a pink jeton from her father’s casino in Gibraltar. This luxe bracelet, with its chip, lies playfully across the wrist. The High Roller, a more lavish version, is adorned with five diamond pavé chips. Comolli’s other collections include one-of-a-kind Flower rings composed of exotic, multicolored sapphires; and Temple rings, showcasing rare stones such as a 50-carat princess-cut aquamarine surrounded by 4 carats of princess-cut diamonds. Her collectibles are designed to showcase the unique beauty of rare, oversized tourmalines, sapphires, and other exquisite stones.
Comolli’s collections are available at select international fine jewelers, allowing the line to gain an impressive following while catering to an international community of chic individuals across Europe, the United States, and Asia. In 2005, Comolli’s line launched both in China and the Philippines with Lane Crawford and Rustan’s, respectively, as exclusive partners. May 2007 saw the opening of the first freestanding Tamara Comolli flagship boutique in Moscow. The collection is also featured at select Neiman Marcus locations and at Marissa Collections in Naples, Florida, one of the top 10 women’s clothiers worldwide-a perfect fit, as fabulous jewels lend themselves so easily to high fashion.
The company is headquartered on Lake Tegernsee, a cluster of picturesque villages just south of Munich in Bavaria. It is there that Comolli resides with her partner and son. The designer travels between her ateliers in the area and in Milan to oversee the craftsmanship of her jewelry collection, although the majority of the production takes place in Italy. She also hops the pond on a consistent basis to spend time in her U.S. headquarters, located in Miami Beach.
Although the Tamara Comolli brand continues to grow, there is no end in sight. “I hope to be in America soon. I want to open something in the Hamptons in the next year. When you have your own store, you always think, ‘What else can I sell here?’ I have considered expanding to small accessories, like bags, because I am already doing small leather accessories with the jewelry line.” With Comolli’s devotion to details, combined with the current success of the brand, one can assume that whatever Comolli creates will be endlessly coveted by the beau monde.