Messika (Est. 2005) With the success the Messika brand has achieved in just over a decade, it is important to note that its roots derive not only from diamonds but also from the relationship between a father and his daughter. André Messika has been a prominent figure in diamond trading for nearly fifty years. He began his career in 1972 and raised his daughter, Valérie, on the jewels she saw from his many trips around the world to find precious stones.
Surrounded by legendary gems from a young age, it was Valérie’s dream to move from diamond trading to concentrate on her passion for design. Valérie spent her childhood playing with the rare stones her father brought home and, early on, began to see the gems not only as precious objects, but as things to enjoy and from which pleasure could be derived every day.
Much of Valérie’s design inspiration comes from fashion. She has admired Yves Saint Laurent and Alaïa for their ability to blur the lines between masculine and feminine clothing and create pieces that sculpt the body.
According to Luxury London, it was while working at Chanel that the then 23-year-old Valérie first began to envision [a] working philosophy for a brand. “As one of the most powerful brands in the world, it was fascinating for Valérie to see Chanel from the inside. She remembers how, in 1999, she could sense Coco Chanel’s presence in the building. Because of the ways in which people spoke of Chanel, Valérie came to understand how it is that a brand have an implicit DNA. When she launched her company, it was her first consideration.”
After Chanel, Valérie went to work for her father and soon discovered her interest was not in dealing but in design. She’s said, “I realized fairly soon that the job was not really for me because it had quite an old-fashioned mentality.”
After a few years, she said to her father, “Dad, if I stay with the business I have to do my own work because I feel that there are no in-between brands in jewelry and I would like this to change.”
It was Valérie’s quest to find a middle ground between high jewelry houses and the inexpensive brands. Initially, her father was uncertain about her concept, but accepted his daughter’s proposal with the condition that diamonds remain at the heart of her company.
Since the very beginning, Messika has stayed true to its founder’s signature vision, ‘Nothing but diamonds to make diamonds cool.’
“At 25, I couldn’t find cool, affordable, and casual diamonds,” she says. The result is that her pieces are undoubtedly conceived by a modern woman for modern women.
From the simple Butterfly collection to the intricate designs of Eden, each piece becomes as special and unique as its wearer. From its very first collections, the jewels that took shape in Valérie’s imagination and in the skilled hands of her artisans, goldsmiths, stone cutters and setters were exciting and exuberant, revolutionary yet underpinned with reverence for her legacy and driven by her personal passion for the king of gems.
Much of Valérie’s inspiration comes from art, e.g., a Calder sculpture in her father’s office, absorbing various details of line, movement, color, and composition. These have shaped her overall sense of form and proportion.
Inspiration also comes from street style, imbuing Messika jewelry with a dynamic urban pulse. She also draws inspiration from fashion, haute couture, and the classical themes of jewelry history. In all her designs Valérie Messika aims to create a sense of volume, movement, and sensual fluidity. Ergonomic comfort is very important to her: “A jewel has to stay in place. Our cuff is made to fit everyone perfectly. Women should forget they’re wearing expensive jewels; they must be able to move naturally, walk, dance, run, [and] work.”
Each piece is developed around the idea of comfort and to allow freedom of movement. One example is the Pears of God necklace aka Toi & Moi. It challenges the laws of gravity because of two cognac diamonds pear cuts of more than 37 carats each. Delicately suspended at the end of two threads of diamonds, they come to light next to the skin and sublimate the purity of the two exceptional stones.
Valérie’s interest in the world of haute couture spurred her fascination with the world of cloth. Through her innovative Silk technique, she has virtually realized the suppleness of fabric in her jewels, taming gold so that it hugs the curves of the body like a garment worn next to the skin.
Valérie Messika’s collections include:
Collection Move Addiction – The Messika by Gigi Hadid adds rock and even punk accents to previous Move collections. These are exclusive pieces in limited edition.
Collection Glama’zone – A collection with strong and daring design said to “unveil” what is sensual and confident in a woman.
Collection Move Classic – Three moving diamonds in jewelry that can be worn every day. Both modern and romantic, it is the signature collection of Maison Messika.
Collection Move Titanium – Valérie Messika’s first collection of jewelry for men. The strength of titanium and the power of diamonds result in a decidedly masculine collection.
Collection Skinny – These are diamond necklaces and bracelets that feel like a second skin. More than a jewel, it is a concept offering a new freedom.
The Skinny bracelet, a Messika bestseller, is one of Valérie’s designs. “One day, seven years ago I was looking at girls in the street. And they used to wear these cable bracelets: some suede Brazilian bracelets and some in fabric,” she says. “And so my dream was to turn that into a small diamond line in a woman—like a diamond tattoo … I wanted it to be elastic. On a woman, what I had in my mind was to have something comfortable and sexy and cool.”
Messika’s Skinny bracelet took more than a year to develop. It is a pliant piece that is as elegant as it is cool. The technology used to create this flexible bracelet is patented and exclusive to Messika.
Valérie says, “What I wanted to do was … to put the diamond in your skin the way you put your skinny jeans on. Because I’m very much influenced by fashion that was my inspiration: diamonds that were comfortable on the skin.”
The same Skinny technology is used in Diamants Celestes, Messika’s third haute joaillerie collection, which has four suites: Calypso, Cassiopée, Persée, and Solena Maya.
The Diamants Celestes Cassiopée cuff goes well with a gown, a little black dress or something as casual as a crisp white shirt and jeans.
The Calypso necklace has an asymmetric design that is flexible and bends close to the skin with its 264 pear-cut diamonds set in gold. The Calypso uses the same principle as the Skinny, but with one additional step that only adds ten percent more time to its creation.
The Solena Maya necklace also uses Messika’s Skinny technology and boasts 185 diamonds in emerald, triangular, and pear cuts.
Messika’s designs are also seen on red carpets: Beyoncé, Selena Gomez, Charlize Theron, Alicia Keys, Carrie Underwood, Penelope Cruz, and Sienna Miller are among the celebrities who have been photographed wearing her jewelry.
In a June 2017 interview with Vogue Italy, Valérie said, “My pieces are not created to stay in a safe. If I can give a piece of advice to all women, it’s to wear their jewels in everyday life. I create elegant diamond pieces to be worn on an everyday basis. A modern mix between timeless and contemporary pieces, but always with a little twist to it.”
Messika is looking to expand the brand with four new boutiques in the Middle East: Doha, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Kuwait.