By Jola Chudy
Valerie Messika was just 29 when she founded her eponymous jewellery house
The daughter of a successful jeweller, gemstones are Valerie Messika’s heritage, but it was her vision to create diamond jewellery for everyday wear that set Messika apart and made it a global success story (with a little help from a Beyonce Instagram post).
Today, the company is known for its fashionable, wearable pieces and its signature ‘Move’ collection featuring diamonds that move along a little track.
When you started your brand, what was your vision for it, and how different is Messika today to that original idea?
When I founded Messika 15 years ago, there was a real fear and apprehension around diamonds and most women only really wore the diamond for their engagement ring or for very traditional evening wear.
A lot of women also thought of it as a stone to wear when they were ‘older’, as they had this notion that it aged them. That’s why I started Messika Paris, as I really wanted to change this idea and break down any sort of age on style barriers that had been put up.
With a family background in jewellery, what helped you in terms of experience of the industry?
If my father hadn’t worked in the diamond business, I don’t think I’d have been here. His passion is the starting point of this beautiful story.
Since I was a little girl, he would bring back home some incredible pieces, and he let me play with them.
He explained and transferred his passion to me naturally through the years. I loved working with my father and sharing our common passion for diamonds. He taught me how to look inside each stone and everything I know about diamonds. That’s where my attention to detail and keen observation comes from.
Why did you want to create a ‘disruptive’ approach to diamonds and how is this expressed in the brand offering?
My biggest career challenge was to transform diamond into jewellery. I love the fact that there are no rules any more – people used to be so afraid to even mix white and yellow gold or not wear a matching set of jewellery, and now it really is about embracing your own personal style and making the jewellery ‘yours’.
This is the spirit I wanted to inject into all my collections. It’s no longer a ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to jewellery.
The brand has become hugely successful – how key are your celebrity partnerships and collaborations to this?
For years now, we have had the chance to shine on some of the world’s most prestigious actors, singers and models.
It’s always a great moment of emotion to see such talented celebrities choosing Messika jewellery for their red carpet appearances.
I think our relationship with celebrities is very important as we are still a young brand with a strong fashion perspective and celebrities are the best ambassadors to highlight or initiate new trends.
Although jewellery is worn by women, the diamond and gemstones industry is quite male-dominated – what do you think needs to be done to encourage more women into senior roles?
Over the years, we have witnessed a growth of women in leadership roles. This has a greater impact to encourage more women to go ahead and follow their instinct. Instinct is what has always led me, even before the beginning of Messika.
From accessible items to red-carpet high jewellery, what pillars unite the wide offering at Messika?
Customers are buying more fashion-led jewellery pieces. I think that Messika’s pieces are so well liked not only because they are fashionable but also timeless.
How do you come up with the concepts for your collections and how important is it today for jewellery to reflect style seasons, or trends? Does it add a pressure to constantly innovate?
I often get some of my inspirations from the latest trends in top fashion.
I imagine ‘couture’ jewellery, as fashion accessories. But I am also inspired by the culture and the architecture of every place I go such as the Middle East which is filled which is so visually rich and filled with the dichotomy of culture, tradition and modernity.
I always keep an eye on what strikes me and of all the sources of inspiration I can get access to.
I like to push the limits of creativity forward. I have been always lucky to work with diamonds in a free and audacious spirit. That is why I always try to imagine innovating audacious pieces, like the earring-nose piercing and the diamond mask presented in my last High Jewellery collection called “Born to Be Wild”.