Aug 02, 2012 1:17PM

Interview: Curio Noir Candles

Curio Noir candles smell great and look great; we caught up with founder Tiffany Jeans.

Owning a fancy candle is like an unspoken rite of passage into adulthood, because that's what adults do — they have things like indoor plants that they water regularly and they own fancy candles. Curio Noir is a label that we came across from New Zealand and 100% fell in love with. Between our staff, we own about ten Curio Noir candles (look at us being real life adults!), and can confirm that they smell like heaven, and increase your authority on life matters by up to 80%. Even when they're not alight, they still smell really good. Plus they look sophisticated on your bedside table. We caught up with Tiffany and asked her about whether roses are classy or cheesy, if she's into creepy stuff, and how she comes up with a scent.

Dijana Kumurdian: How did you get into the candle business?
Tiffany Jeans:​ When my husband and I were planning our wedding I thought that the idea of 'til death do we part' was so beautiful. To convey this message I made all our guests a small skull candle, wrapped in tulle and ribbon, with a handwritten note attached. There was so much interest generated from these that people thought I should sell them. They sold so well and people asked for more. With lots of research and trial and error, 'The Lilith Doll' [below] was released and we have since grown to include the Curio Glass range with locally hand-blown glass — it's so beautiful — table linen, and I have made special edition curios for Curio Noir along with display pieces for the amazing jeweller Jessica McCormack.

Some of your candles look pretty sinister, especially 'The Lillith Doll' and the little skull curios. Are you into stuff that's a bit creepy and antiquey?
I must be.

The candles are so intricately moulded. Are you ever secretly disappointed to see them melt?
I'm never ever disappointed to see them melt. I like to see they are being used for one of their many purposes. These pieces are little sculptures, objects of art made to light the night. I love seeing the different phases 'The Lilith Doll' goes through, once the light hits behind the eyes, she glows and creates a different feeling as she changes shape. Many people have told me they cannot bring themselves to light them. The scent omits beautifully when standing, alight or not, as we use such a high percentage of perfume.

How do you come up with a new scent?
Sometimes it starts with a memory, sometimes it starts with a mood. With our latest release, 'Tobacco Night', I was inspired by the scent from a tobacco pipe that lingered in the air one still night. It was musky and heavy at first and then softened to a masculine sweetness. I tried to replicate this memory and used notes of sage, coriander, elemi, amber, musk and dry tobacco Leaves. It's warming and delicious. My next release I am working on has been inspired by a ballet I went to with my grandmother when I was younger... This will be a very limited edition in a stunning coloured glass that we may not be able to replicate due to the minerals available in the world at the moment. I'm looking forward to it!

That glass looks tricky to make. How is it done?
It takes two, sometimes three, people to make each piece of glass. Until the 19th century glass blowing was the main technique of the working glass. Air is blown through a hollow blow pipe to inflate a mass of molten glass gathered at the end. In this nearly-liquid state a blob of glass can be formed in to a bubble that can be reshaped, layered or decorated by other means. Glass blowing requires speed, strength and dexterity. The classic technique of glass blowing is used for each piece from the Curio Glass range, one piece at a time... We use a mold and then once the glass is out we have another piece of glass added to the surface where the Curio Noir stamp is applied. To turn glass batches in to glass, it is melted at 1300 degrees celsius over the course of a day. Once it has cooled to 1100 degrees it is then ready to be worked. We use true coloured glass and we mix our own colours from scratch using metal oxides in a powdered form. As these are made in small batches there are always variants in colour tones within a range, which I love. 

What's your favourite scent from the range?
It's hard to decide! As it's winter here in New Zealand, I have been lighting 'Tubereuse Noir', 'Tobacco Night' and 'Black Spice' most days. All three of these are heavier, darker, warmer and more masculine while still being unique in their own scent. 'Vetyver Bouquet' will always hold a special place in my heart as it was the first perfume I made. It carries the darkness of the citrus root vetyver with cypress, jasmine and orange flower. 'The Lilith Doll' is scented with this.

Roses: super boring or totally classic?
Totally classic! I follow Nick Knight on Instagram and his shots of his roses from his garden are so amazing and otherworldly.

Curio Noir is stocked at Incu and selected boutiques nationwide.

Introduction: Ingrid Kesa
Interview: Dijana Kumurdian

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