My fairy tale romance with Messika jewelry began five years ago, in the summer of 2014, in Paris. Visiting the city with my sister Janine, we wandered into Galleries La Fayette, as tourists are wont to do. While she made a beeline towards the shoes, I, of course, headed to the fine jewelry department. There, for the very first time, I encountered Messika jewelry. It was love at first sight, I was amazed at the uniqueness of the designs, which were unlike anything I had seen before. Little did I know then that I would one day be meeting the legendary woman behind the brand, Valérie Messika, and having the opportunity to see firsthand, and experience the joy of wearing the magical creations myself.
My first meeting with Valérie was at BaselWorld in 2016. I have since had the pleasure of seeing her every year at BaselWorld, and at Couture as well. Every time I meet her, she is warm, welcoming, and has retained an air of grace and humbleness, despite her incredible success. This is rare in an industry where ego's are supersized. I had to learn more about this incredible woman, and it is with great pleasure that I invite you to enjoy this exclusive interview with Valérie, discussing her latest collection. Born To Be Wild, work life balance, and so much more!
TDG: What did you dream of doing (as an adult) when you were a little girl, and when did you first know you wanted to become a jewelry designer?
VM: When I was a little girl, I wanted to be an architect. However, when I went on to university, I studied communications. After completing my degree, my first job was in the marketing and communications department of Chanel Jewelry. I changed my mind regarding this career path after my father asked me to spend a year with him to teach me about the jewelry business. I worked alongside him for 5 years, learning every secret of the industry. Even if his desire was for me to take the lead of his company one day, I had the feeling that something essential was missing: creativity. That is why I decided to launch the brand, and since then I can say that I am living my dream.
TDG: You have designed many spectacular high jewelry pieces, is there a single one that stands out as your most memorable piece?
VM: My team and I use our talents to transform the inspirations and innovative ideas which I have into extraordinary creations. This is team work, passion and skill as seen nowhere else. We are forever pushing the boundaries of jewelry design; working with gold and the most precious of stones to create unique pieces which sometimes require thousands of hours of work.
For the most memorable and incredible pieces which I have designed, I would say the Eternal Soul necklace from my High Jewelry collection ‘Once Upon a Time’. With this necklace, I wanted to pay tribute to the world of Haute Couture. Inspired by trends from the world’s most exclusive catwalks, this piece proposes three ways to wear it. You can choose to wear the choker (which is the top), or you can wear the diamond fringe of the necklace, or reunite both pieces and wear the complete necklace for special occasions.
The necklace has 722 emerald cut diamonds, with a total of 219.2 carats of diamonds,
and required over 2000 hours of work from the artisans in our Parisian High Jewelry Atelier.
TDG: Your collections spans from entry level pieces, to unique high-end jewelry. How do you make sure the brand appeals to women of all ages, and what is the essence of the woman that you have in mind when designing new pieces?
VM: I create for every woman. The Messika woman is a woman of today. She is sometimes mysterious. She is daring and courageous. Women inspire me by their singularity and their confidence within.
TDG: Work/life balance is something we all strive to achieve. With your growing global brand, how do you achieve this, and what do you enjoy doing in your down time?
VM: Messika Paris is first and foremost a family business. I work with my father, my cousin and my husband. We share a passion for our work which enriches our relationship. This is above all else something that I find to be a strength. My family is very important for me.
TDG: Your latest collection, Born To Be Wild, is inspired by the American Wild West. Tell us a little more about why you were drawn to this, and also about what makes this high jewelry collection different to previous ones.
VM: Last year, I created a High Jewelry collection inspired by classic fairytales. I wanted to show the world that Messika could create magnificent pieces of jewelry with big diamonds. It was a way to show the world my father’s legacy. However, this year, I wanted to show a more creative collection, inspired by the Californian desert, which is a theme that is very dear to my heart. I love to travel and to get away. With Born To Be Wild, I wanted to inject a state of mind, and a feeling of escape. The Wild West has always captured my imagination with wide-open spaces, silent immensities and wild nature.
I always begin creating with a blank page. The most difficult aspect of my jewelry creation process is transcribing my ideas into a drawing. I always have a lot of ideas, but sometimes it’s quite difficult to get the results I have imagined. At the end, and thankfully, we always manage to make it possible.
Thank you Valérie for spending time with me, and for once again presenting us with a most dazzling collection.
Please enjoy more images from the spectacular Born To Be Wild collection below, courtesy of Messika.