The Queen of Diamonds

Valérie Messika’s lifelong pursuit to pay tribute to the sparkle of natural diamonds

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Creative Director Valérie Messika

Childhood is a time for both discovery and delight. For Valérie Messika, growing up was intertwined with the story of natural diamonds.  Her father, André Messika, is a legendary diamantaire and taught her to appreciate the beauty but also the importance of science in understanding the rare jewels and their potential.  As she explored the secrets of diamonds, Ms. Messika found a whole new world that inspired her creatively and conveyed to her that beauty is deeper than what you can see on the surface.  “During my childhood, [my father] used to bring home stones.  I would put diamonds on my fingers, trying to find out which stone is more beautiful… Playing with a loupe, you can find an inclusion. So, my father said like a watch, it’s at twelve o’clock, six o’clock, two?  It was something very playful.  But even playing, he [taught] me how to see inside small things, all the details. It was very good training for me…And the diamond is a connection with my father.”

Years later and all grown up, she is the creative director of Messika, the eponymous jewelry House she founded in 2005.  When she approaches a new collection, the first thought and inspiration come from looking at the stone and asking how this piece can fit into her ideas of clarity, purity, vibration, and timelessness.  “I always have in mind that my goal is to pay tribute to the stone. And then I want the execution to be very, very flexible.” 

A new piece from Messika’s Move Titanium set with a black diamond

The word flexible is apt as the brand has moved from a specific idea of what is gendered.   The brand has staged high-profile fashion shows in the last few years and showcased the jewelry on both female and male models to great effect.  Ms. Messika has, to this point, confined her inspiration to her experience as a woman and she has looked to the strong women in her family and her two daughters to inform the collection.  “But for three years now, I really changed my mind. Probably it’s because society has changed, and I move with these trends.  I [see] the potential for men now to wear diamonds again. I say again because before it used to all be for the guys, for the maharaja, for the king, and why does it have to be only for women now? That’s a big mistake…For me, there is no gender anymore. And it has changed my way of thinking about jewelry. And you will see this in the next collection even more.”

“She told me, ‘I am
so proud, I’ve got
so much power.’
And I said, ‘you see
Naomi, you smile.’”

Naomi Campbell closing the Spring/Summer 2023 show

The brand has made a big splash by adding Alton Mason as the face of the campaign alongside supermodel Kendall Jenner. “He [is] so excited about the launch of the campaign.  He can’t wait…I feel blessed to have him.”  That doesn’t mean the Maison has turned its back on high-wattage classic supermodel star power. Naomi Campbell closed the fall fashion show in a High Jewelry creation cut entirely from a single 110-carat natural rough diamond.  The vision brought a smile to everyone in the audience and notably also to the lips of the reigning catwalk queen herself. “She told me, ‘I am so proud, I’ve got so much power.’ And I said, ‘you see Naomi, you smile.’”

Beyond impeccable casting, Ms. Messika concentrates on imparting a feeling to her guests. “It’s the mood, definitely the mood…But mood boards can be fashion, it can be architecture, it can be art, it can be everything, and sometimes women or men, a vibration. And when it comes to the show, the second most important thing, it’s the clothes, the fit, and the style. Because I want to have the perfect match between the jewelry and the clothes…I am obsessed with that because I think it’s a very difficult exercise for jewelry.”  

Alton Mason for Messika

When approaching her own style, Ms. Messika turns to the classics but also with an eye on utility and expressing what is most important to her: family.  “But at the end of the day, I never take off my skinny bracelet, which is a diamond tennis bracelet, very flexible. And the two bangles with my daughters’ names that I made for them.  Because they are looking at me, ‘Are you wearing [our] bangles?’ And I say yes!  And that’s why I never take it off. They’d notice very quickly, it’s a family jewelry story.”

Her daughters are at the center of what drives her forward.  “Also, for me as a mom, I want my girls to see that I am not only making jewelry or running a business, which is super cool but it’s not enough. I want to also give a sense of my life to them. And I want to continue to make this beautiful name, which is the name of my father, shine around the world.”

Perhaps it is important to note that Ms. Messika considers her third child the Messika Maison itself.  “It gives me so much joy, this adventure, this human adventure outside my company but also inside my company, on my team, who are so proud to develop this brand…They see the baby growing up, you know, so beautifully.  It’s not so much a baby anymore, it’s a teenager!  I want to keep that joy also on the faces of my team- because at the end of the day, we need to enjoy life.”

All images courtesy of Messika