Casual diamonds

© Written by Rachael Taylor for BaselWorld Brand Book

When Valérie Messika first came across the idea for her most iconic and innovative jewellery line, she wasn’t trying to reinvent the wheel; she was in fact simply developing a new design within one of jewellery’s most long-standing themes: the trilogy.

The Move collection began its journey eight years ago when Messika, who was just on the cusp of launching her jewellery brand, entered a competition run by De Beers’ The Diamond Trading Company. “They asked some jewellers to create something with three diamonds to be inspired by the concept of ‘I love you yesterday, I love you today, I love you tomorrow’,” recalls Messika.

When the Parisian designer first sat down to make some initial sketches, inspiration led her to bird cage-style bracelets with a trio of diamonds on the cage.

Messika enjoyed what she made, but two years down the line she decided to push the collection a little bit further to offer something new – the concept of casual diamonds. Diamonds are traditionally a staple of formal jewellery, but Messika soon became obsessed with the idea of dressing them down, and to achieve it she felt she needed movement.

To achieve this movement, Messika set three diamonds within a piece of metal similar to a train track. It is closed at both ends, and perfectly sized in width, to allow the diamonds to roll side to side without any chance of them falling out.

“I was aware that the concept was quite cool, quite rock ‘n’ roll,” says Messika. “So I developed a full line.”

Over the years the Move collections have evolved, but what remains at the core is the movement and the concept of presenting diamonds in a casual way. This has been applied to a multitude of styles, starting with a simple cord bracelet, running through to chunky pavé-set designs, and Messika says that one Move commission, of which she gets numerous requests for, carried a price of almost €100,000.

Messika says that her Move designs are often better known than the jewellery brand itself, and adds that she feels “very lucky” that the collection speaks to women of all ages, from teenagers purchasing their first piece of serious jewellery through to grandmothers. “These ladies don’t like same model, but they like the collection,” she says.

And the Move collection is destined to keep rolling on, with new influences set to shape future collections. One design aesthetic inspiring Messika right now is the idea of combining the delicacy of rolling diamonds with the chunkiness of heavy curb link chains.

“I try to be inspired by trends and I’ve seen that there is a comeback with the big chains,” she explains. “I’ve made a very rock ‘n’ roll version with a full diamond necklace, very huge and very thick. Move can match with such a heavy style but also with small and delicate designs.”

Continuing this tradition of working diamonds into contemporary designs, Messika will present 30 new fine jewellery designs this year, each created around a stone presented to her by her father, diamond dealer André Messika. Each piece has taken hundreds of hours to create and the collection features magnificent stones that include a 7ct heart-shaped pink champagne diamond, a 12ct emerald-cut diamond and a 17ct pear-shaped diamond.

These are some very serious diamonds indeed, but with such a unique flair for design and passion for life, no doubt Messika will continue to live by her motto of making diamonds fun whatever the carat weight.

Read the original interview in the BaselWorld Brand Book 2014 here (pages 84-85).

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