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Valérie Messika grew up around gems and fine jewellery. She tells Debonair why her minimalist-inspired creations can be worn every day
Eduan R. Maggo
Long seen as the almost exclusive domain of women, men are increasingly turning to jewellery as a means of self-expression. While our fathers and theirs tended to stick to wedding bands and signet rings as they went about their days, with the odd religious symbol resting on a chest here and there, today we see tiepins, cufflinks and other accoutrement of formalwear complement rings, bracelets, earrings and necklaces everywhere from casual to business and even formal settings.
This move prompted Valérie Messika to expand her fine jewellery collection to men.
“After my studies in communication, I started my professional experience with my father, who’s been working in the diamond industry since 1972,” the woman behind Messika Paris tells Debonair. “I loved working with him and sharing our common passion for diamonds, but I was missing the creative element. I needed to be able to express myself and I wasn’t able to do this through the stone business only.
“I chose to not call my brand ‘Valérie Messika’ because it is not just about me, this is about a family story, so I took my father’s name. At the beginning, I created my own jewellery pieces just for myself. Some of my friends loved my first creations and insisted that I produce more jewellery, so I started to design pieces for them as well. This is how my independent career begun, and I created Messika Paris in 2005.”
The brand celebrated its 10th anniversary with a new atelier in the heart of Paris. “I see this space as a creative environment where ideas and inspirations take form. We have several artisans in this new atelier where each piece is a work of art, the fruit of a chain of talent.”
For the first decade, she focused on women. Then, in 2016 she expanded the brand’s signature Move range — featuring diamonds set in a band yet able to move within a cage — to men. “I am constantly looking for new styles, inspirations and trends,” she says.
“As the new generation of men started wearing and appreciating jewellery more, I was prompted to launch a special collection for men.”
That led to the launch of the Move Titanium collection. “The idea was to create a universal collection that everyone can wear.
“The most important factor is that the jewellery must be light and comfortable, which makes titanium the perfect material. The goal is to be able to wear it every day, and I believe titanium is sleek and can be worn for all occasions.”
Anchor & Crew
Anchor & Crew
The range combines the strength and lightness of titanium with the power of diamonds, and aligns with evolving views of masculinity. “Creating for men was about how I see men. Forging a bond between men’s and women’s jewellery was a real challenge. I’ve created a masculine interpretation of the Move collection, which conveys both power and lightness. The motif of the three moving diamonds is deeply imprinted in me and lies very close to my heart.”
Inspired by the people around her, elements of Messika’s husband and father inform her collections, as do her two daughters. She also takes feedback from clients into consideration.
With a focus on comfort, lightness and movement, Messika says her diamond jewellery is intended for everyday wear. “My pieces aren’t created to stay in a safe. I create elegant diamond pieces to be worn on an everyday basis. My one bit of advice to anyone is to wear your jewels in everyday life,” she says.
The brand’s aesthetic is based on a modern mix of the timeless and the contemporary. Bound to the minimalist idea that less is more, the designer says she follows four core values — lightness, liberty, purity and sensuality. “I’ve been lucky to work with diamonds in a free and audacious mindset. From the unconditional diamond purity to the clean designs that enhances it, Messika is always searching for the essential. I like my creations to be very comfortable and practical.
“Messika is known for innovating designs. Indeed, I invented a new technology, called ‘skinny’, which makes the jewellery able to move like elastic. It’s flexible and can fit every neck or wrist.”
Of the craft, she says the most difficult aspect of the creation process is to transcribe and transform her ideas into a drawing. “I always have a lot of initial ideas, but sometimes it’s quite difficult to get the result I have imagined.”
While she was excited about opening the brand’s first standalone in Dubai last month, Messika also has plans to create timepieces — a dream she’s nurtured for a few years already. “I even have some design ideas already.”
Until then, bracelets remain her favourite jewellery item for men, and she’s happy having model Jon Kortajarena front the advertising campaign. “The titanium bangle embodies his strength and lightness,” Messika says.
“For me there is no jewellery men should shy away from; different men suit different accessories. That said, I believe diamonds can be worn at any time.”
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