Messika first sprang on to the scene with its fine-jewellery collection Move. Its founder, Valerie Messika, tells us how dance and fashion inspired her latest high-jewellery collection, Magnetic Attraction.
The wearing of diamond jewellery might seem common nowadays – diamond tennis bracelets, delicate diamond pendant necklaces and diamond stud earrings have become everyday staples – but Valerie Messika recalls a vastly different time.
“When I founded Messika 16 years ago, there was a real fear and apprehension around diamonds. Most women only really wore the diamond for their engagement ring or very traditional eveningwear,” she tells me. “A lot of women also thought of it as a stone to wear when they were “older” – they had this notion that it aged them.”
Even as a child, Messika was surrounded by diamonds. Her father, André, was a jeweller who set up his own business at the age of just 22 and quickly became one of the most prominent and well-respected diamond dealers in the industry.
“My whole childhood was filled with memories of my father and his passion for diamonds,” says Messika, who bonded with him over their shared love for the stones. “When I was a little girl, I remember he’d bring back incredible diamonds and he used to let me play with them. My first real crush for diamonds was at the age
of 12 when I found an envelope with tiny diamonds at my father’s place. I was fascinated by the light they exhaled.” She also vividly recalls her father coming home with a pocketful of different shapes and types of diamonds, and playing around with them.
These strong visuals accompanied her until the day she decided to create her own namesake jewellery brand. Small clusters of diamonds forming delicate designs became her signature, as did moving diamonds – the Move collection resulted from her desire to give freedom to the diamond, and is inspired by the memory of her father slipping diamonds between his fingers.
“My goal was and is to create a new way of wearing jewellery,” says Messika of her brand, which opened its first store in 2005. “I had this vision in which diamonds must be modern, innovative and easy to wear. Jewellery is an opportunity to express your personality. I liked the fact that there were no more rules: it’s really about embracing your own personal style and making jewellery yours. That’s the spirit I wanted to inject into my collections.”
Her latest launch is the Magnetic Attraction collection, high-jewellery creations that, yet again, pay the highest tribute to the diamond and embody the brand’s central element – movement – through the theme of dance. “I always start the creative process with the stone,” says Messika. “The lightness and movement, despite
the strength of the pieces, is the most fascinating aspect of the jewellery.”
For the coloured-diamond collection, she designed 16 spectacular pieces, ranging from double-finger rings, hand bracelets, triple-finger rings, ear cuffs and ankle bracelets. Her favourite piece is the Pear Appeal Toi & Moi yellow diamond ring, “for its strength and relaxed aspects, despite the fact there are two stones of 7 carats each”. The ring design places the two pear-shaped fancy yellow diamonds in opposing directions, like two opposing poles of a magnet, almost touching but separated by a band of emerald-cut white diamonds. Messika’s approach to her jewellery is to stun and yet be effortless at the same time, fashionable and still timeless for the years to come.
Fashion is another aspect that’s always been close to her heart – she’s worked closely with strong women in the industry, whom she believes embody Messika’s key codes. Joan Smalls and Sylvia Hoeks are both faces for the brand, while Gigi Hadid and Kate Moss have worked closely with Messika in designing collections.
“Kate has always been an inspiration and a muse for me,” she says, revealing that designing her first high-jewellery collection with Moss was a spontaneous decision. “I met her last year at the Ritz … and she was wearing a lot of jewellery. I was curious to know the various stories behind her jewels and that’s when I discovered that she was obsessed with jewellery, particularly high-jewellery pieces. I took the chance to ask her if she’d like to co-design a high-jewellery collection with me. Kate said yes straight away.”
So successful was the partnership that Messika teases there’ll be more to come. “It was an exciting challenge to entwine Kate’s personal tastes with the key codes of Messika,” she says. “Please stay tuned for Kate Moss Opus 2 collection!”
This story first appeared in the August 2021 print issue of Prestige Hong Kong.