Having launched her namesake fine jewellery brand in 2005, Valérie Messika has taken Messika to new heights, with her entrepreneurial spirit and passion for diamonds.
From A-listers around the world such as Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner being adorned in these luxe fine jewellery pieces, to becoming one of the most sought-after brands globally, Messika has created a niche market for itself in the industry as it continues to add a stylish edge to each look.
Emirates Woman sat down with Valérie Messika to understand how she expanded her jewellery brand and have an insight on the creation of the latest ‘My Move’ collection with Kate Moss as it features this ultra-luxurious pieces.
Can you talk us through your career?
After my studies in communication, I started my professional experience with my father, who has been working in the diamond industry since 1972. It helped me in establishing my passion for the diamond industry, and eventually in establishing my brand. My father used to travel a lot to source the perfect diamond. I was lucky enough to get the chance to join him and have first-hand experience, learning every secret and skill of the diamond industry.
What inspired you to start your own brand?
I started to work with diamonds when I was quite young. I loved working with my father and sharing our common passion for diamonds, but I was missing the creative part. I needed to be able to express myself and I couldn’t do that through diamonds alone. In the beginning, I created my own jewellery pieces just for myself. Some of my friends loved my first creations and insisted that I launched more jewellery, so I started to designed pieces for them as well. This is how everything began. One of my biggest inspirations is women. So, when I imagine and envision jewellery, I imagine them for every kind of woman. She can be minimalist but also rock n’ roll.
What was the process of starting your own brand like?
Starting my own brand was a process of little by little, step by step, trying new things, and creating new collections that answered a market need. Indeed, I noticed that there was a gap to be filled between big jewellery houses that offered mainly very serious, classical and expensive pieces and other jewellery brands that offered costume jewellery made without precious stones. I had the idea to create diamond jewellery to be worn on an everyday basis. Jewels are made to bring sparkle and joy to women and not only on special occasions, I like the idea of being able to wear diamonds daily, especially with casual clothes such as jeans. This is Messika’s philosophy – jewellery for the everyday and every woman.
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How has Messika evolved since it launched?
When I founded Messika 16 years ago, there was a real fear and apprehension around diamonds and most women only really wore diamonds 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 is aged them. This is why I created Messika Paris, as I really wanted to change this idea and break down any sort of age or style barriers that had been put up. I really believe that Messika has succeeded with this. Today, Messika can be considered as a fashion luxury house. We started this journey with 5 people and now we are more than 200 people worldwide.
How did you find your way into the jewellery space?
My goal was, and is, to create a new way of wearing jewellery. I have this vision where diamonds must be modern, innovative and easy to wear. Jewellery is an opportunity to express your personality. I like the fact that there are no more rules: it is truly about embracing your own personal style and making the jewellery “yours”. That is the spirit I wanted to inject into my collections. There is no longer just one approach when it comes to jewellery. I tried to find something different and never deviate from its guideline set at the beginning. When Coco Chanel launched her brand, she had values, DNA and respected them. Even at the initial stages of the brand creation, I wrote my ground rules, foundations and brand ethos and I set them in stone, to ensure that the brand stays true to this. Despite the evolution and changing trends, I try to stay true to these values.
What sets Messika apart from other brands?
Messika pieces are created to be worn on an everyday basis. I think that my approach must be different as I bring a fashion perspective. My goal is to answer women’s desires and I want to enhance a woman’s natural beauty. Also, I always put a part of myself into my design. I have a personal and sentimental touch to each collection.
You’ve worked with some incredible women including Kate Moss. What was this like?
Kate Moss has always been an inspiration and a muse to me. I’ve always admired the way she approaches things. Throughout her life, she has lived by her own decisions and accepted whatever consequences. Her instinct is what inspires me most. We had a lot fun working together in creating the “Messika By Kate Moss” collection. We had a few meetings between our offices in London and Paris, as well as her house. We also had a lot of Zoom calls. Every step in creating this collection was done hand-in-hand, starting from the building of mood boards to making the wax moulds through to crafting the final pieces. I enjoyed seeing how curious and involved she was through every step of the of process. As you might imagine, she is quite particular, which was fun to see because I, too, am quite particular with jewellery design. This is the first time that Messika Paris has collaborated on High Jewellery. The entire collection is so special because each piece was created with the same passion.
In your opinion, what is different about the Middle Eastern region and jewellery trends?
Middle Eastern women inspire me a lot. They taught me the rock’n’roll touch of stacking. They were the first women I saw wearing a full wrist of bracelets and stacking many earrings. They taught me the feminine charm of wearing an ankle bracelet or hand bracelet as I think it brings femininity and modernity. They are very inspiring to me in all of my collections.
What is at the core of the brand’s DNA?
Less is More’ is my credo and I imagine my collections around 4 core values, which is lightness, liberty, purity, and sensuality. When I set out to create my own jewellery brand, I wanted diamonds to be every day and not only for a couple’s most sacred moments. I wanted something cool, casual and easy to wear. I have always 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 in search of the essential. I like my creations to be very comfortable; a woman should be able to live her life without being annoyed by excessively heavy jewellery. The pieces of jewellery I create is a modern mix between timeless and contemporary, but always with a little twist to it.
Describe to us who the Messika woman is.
I create for every woman. The Messika woman is the woman of today, sometimes mysterious, daring and courageous. Women inspire me by their singularity and their confidence in them.
What have been the hurdles you’ve experienced throughout your careers?
I was lucky not to have encountered too many of them. These are not hurdles but stages linked to growth, finding the right staff, succeeding in transforming a company from 5 people to 100 then 200 people. These are the stages of human and economic management that are very different. This is definitely the most complicated part.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, what have been the milestones?
Opening both my High Jewelry Atelier and my first flagship store in the heart of Paris was for me two important steps in Messika’s story.
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Tell us about the new My Move collection. What is your favourite colour way?
My Move is a unisex collection of leather bracelets and allows people to create their own customized Move jewel. You can change the leather bracelets’ colour or Move motif according to your moods or desires. This collection is rock, casual-wear and fun at the same time. My favourite colour combo is the Emerald green alligator leather bracelet with pink gold paved Move motif. I also love to wear the snow-white calfskin leather bracelet with the pink gold motif. Worn together, it looks great.
What’s next for Messika?
Everything is moving so fast for Messika. We have just started to have a presence in the Asian market. We plan to open new boutiques around the world within the year. I hope Messika will continue to evolve, we are still a young brand and there is so much to do. Lots of exciting projects are coming.
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