“Our inspiration comes from our travels and experiences, which in turn fuels our creative processes, and we slowly evolve to create a line that we absolutely love.”
This is essentially the mission statement of Misahara jewelry, a collaboration between world travelers Lepa Galeb-Roskopp and Susan Royce. In an exclusive Q&A, the duo gave us the inside scoop on the haute brand’s history and what’s to come in its undoubtedly bright future.
But backtrack three years and the brand with such a confident sense of self today was only a concept.
“My partners and I founded a lifestyle company called The True Collection, which is dedicated to one-of-a-kind experiences with our diverse group of professional athletes, artists, renowned chefs, famous personalities and couture fashion creations,” Roskopp explained. Ready to embark on her personal jewelry endeavor, she sought out a partner. Enter Royce, who had been preparing for years, having designed her own jewelry line in the 1990s. Twenty years later, she has the process—from the beginning components to the advanced stages of designing and making jewelry—down to a luxury art.
Since 2009, the pair has been cultivating a collection that channels African culture while breaking into the ultra luxury market, which they did successfully in November 2011. “Our unique pieces channel an upscale gypsy-bohemian flare and are comprised of impeccable hand craftsmanship using only the finest quality gemstones and metals,” Roskopp and Royce said. “Some of our pieces are very classic but chic. You can wear them with jeans or you can wear them with a gown…very diverse.”
First, tell us about the name Misahara. How has family played a role in the fusing of cultures and styles for both partners?
Roskopp: Misahara was derived from our partner Greg (Mi)nnaar’s famous last name and my three children’s names (Sa’)ra, (Ha)rrison and (Ma)ra. Misahara is an exotic name and fitting for our jewelry line.
Royce: Very fitting!
How is the Misahara style, caliber of gems and hand craftsmanship representative of the brand owners?
Roskopp: I have always had the philosophy of high quality and the best workmanship with luxury items. You spend a little more (sometimes a lot more) and have something that will last forever and is timeless. I am a creature of habit when it comes to luxury items—I love couture and absolutely love my designer, Azadeh, who shops from the same fabric houses as Chanel, Gaultier and Dior, and designs out-of-this-world pieces.
Royce: Our caliber of gems is the highest rated, and the workmanship speaks for itself…it takes a lot of time (six times back-and-forth). You can follow the process on our Facebook page.
What comes before the illustrations?
Royce: We study colors and then start to put things together before I actually draw the piece, going through several different drafts. We know what colors we are going to work with but picking the right gem for the color is key.
Roskopp: It’s a work in progress. Again, traveling the world you get a feel of what is inspiring and making those trips to Europe and Africa fuels the creative process. Europe sets the fashion trends and we just add our flare.
Tell us about the unity symbol, meant to represent fusion, which is imprinted on all the Misahara pieces. What does it represent about the brand and the team behind it?
Roskopp: Unity represents the fusion of ideas, beliefs and cultures. With Greg [Minnaar] being from Africa and dealing with the aftermath of apartheid and my family being torn by a war in 1991 (former Yugoslavia), our unity symbol just felt right. After all, we all strive for peace and acceptance throughout our world. We had it trademarked for our jewelry line.
Is there a certain piece or collection that you feel most accurately represents the brand as a whole?
Our pendant with our Misahara logo and our lion pendant—they represent the beginning of forging creativity into our daily lives.
If money wasn’t a concern, which piece would you recommend to a customer?
Of course, we love all our pieces but we would go with the pear shaped pendant. The largest stones for these pendants are very clean and rare. It looks stunning with gowns, pantsuits and dresses, and it is definitely a standout piece.
What are some of the most exciting developments in the company right now?
Surprise…you will have to follow Misahara and The True Collection on Facebook this summer. We will be heading to Serbia & Montenegro, Rome, Tuscany, Saint-Tropez, Monaco and Cape Cod, and we will have some new and exciting things to talk about at the end of the summer. We are working hard on our next collection.
Visit Misahara online for more information.