Valérie Messika On Launching Her Jewelry Brand, Working With Beyoncé & Gigi Hadid And Adapting To A Post-Covid World

Founder and Artistic Director behind Messika Jewelry, Valérie Messika got her start in fine jewelry at a young age with her father André, a diamond trader, and followed her passion and affinity for design, giving the family business a dynamic combination between the two. The celebrated jewelry brand specializes in producing jewelry using the finest diamonds, and is worn by some of the most talented and beautiful women in the world, including Kate Moss, Gigi Hadid, Rihanna, Julia Roberts, Janet Jackson and many more. Not only has Valérie seemed to have found that sweet spot between marrying the heritage of diamonds with her contemporary outlook and design style, she’s also seamlessly managed to build a brand for a sophisticated and seasoned diamond-wearing woman, and for a younger, millennial woman, shifting purchasing patterns from a focus on perhaps shoes and handbags, to diamonds. Today, the brand has several global boutiques, making it one of the most recognizable jewelry brands in the world. Here, she shares stories of the birth of her brand, her thoughts on the jewelry and watch fairs—particularly Baselworld, where Messika participated in previous years—and working with some of the most iconic women in the world, like Beyoncé Knowles Carter.

Valerie MessikaPhoto Credit: Messika Paris

ON LAUNCHING MESSIKA IN 2005

I did it organically and instinctively. I wanted to wear diamond jewelry for everyday…so I started to create pendants for my friends and my mom. But for me, I was a little bit bored to hear always that a diamond…was only for big occasions. I wanted women to be connected with jewelry to express their femininity, their style. In the past, we used to speak about diamonds like it [represented] power, or how much money you had. Messika was not about that at all, it was for your[self]. Doing this without any business plan, I did it step-by-step and I really noticed three years after that I was inside a gap that not a lot of people [were in]…and that you can reach many different types of women [in that gap]. I was impressed to see that the Messika customers can be very young people…I attracted a new clientele who is now called the “millennials” but at the time we didn’t know about this category of consumers. Sometimes I used to hear that ladies of 18 years old wanted to have Messika jewelry, and I remember that at the same age [as them] I didn’t have that idea of having diamond jewelry; it was more about having bags or shoes. This is how I realized that things have changed and the aesthetics of our jewelry can reach a younger and a more mature lady.

ON THE WATCH/JEWELRY FAIRS—INCLUDING BASELWORLD—SHIFTING

The Basel show, which was a very important show, was canceled and needs to be reorganized as so many brands left. Before the pandemic, we were planning to leave the show and make our own exhibition in Paris. All the big brands of watches are going through Geneva and it’s completely changing; I don’t know what’s going to happen. Concerning jewelry, for the moment, it’s [moving toward a] more independent organization.

ON USING STONES OUTSIDE OF DIAMONDS

This year we are launching…the iconic collection of Messika [the Lucky Move collection]…I [will] replace the gold plate in my design with turquoise or malachite or mother of pearl, but I keep only going with the diamonds.

messika paris lucky movePhoto Credit: Messika Paris

ON ICONIC MOMENTS FOR MESSIKA

Six years ago, [Beyoncé Knowles Carter] went to the Louvre Museum and she pointed to the Mona Lisa with my ring…she put a picture on Instagram of the Mona Lisa with the Messika ring, which was for me, a big step for the brand. It was a symbolic [moment]; she is the queen of pop culture and she wore it with this symbol of France, also. I will always remember also when Gigi [Hadid]—we designed the collection together—was traveling. At the same time, Beyoncé was wearing on the stage during her concert, a very big XXL Gigi Hadid earring. I sent [Gigi] a picture—she was on the plane—and she said to me, ‘I will never forget this in my entire life.’ For her, it was also a big symbol of [pride]. Those times of magic that you can see, starting from your imagination…and after, it can be realized with all the people and craftsmanship, the pieces [in real life]. When you’re lucky enough that these kinds of amazing ladies choose our jewelry even though they’re very picky…it’s really priceless for me.

beyonce jay-z louvrePhoto Credit: instagram.com/messikajewelry

ON ADAPTING FOR A POST-COVID WORLD

In terms of luxury goods, it’s not a necessity. The jewelry can have good times because there is value [in gold and diamonds]. When you buy jewelry…it’s a part of luxury that will not decrease in terms of money [and value]. Hopefully, it can be a good opportunity for the brands of jewelry to have good times, if they really focus and help the people to understand that there is something very valuable. I think the digital will have a very good place; we need to focus and find new digital ways of being close to the customer…even digital pop-up stores. The second-hand [market] will have a big raise also. We need to prepare now for the world we’re going to face in the next month. Even for our point-of-sales…we need to take everything into consideration. We need to take care [of our clients] in a very innovative and different way.

ON LAUNCHING A CHILDREN’S LINE

Nothing is launched specifically for kids, but…when I was in Dubai, my little girl told me she saw another young girl wearing an Uno Messika pendant, and she felt very sad that she didn’t have one [too]. I thought it was a mistake but it was true—the little girl was wearing the little Uno pendant. So some of our models can be worn by kids.

ON WHAT’S NEXT FOR MESSIKA

The big challenge for Messika now is Asia, because we just opened a subsidiary in Hong Kong and also in Japan; this is, for us, brand new, and I’m also very excited to turn this new page for this brand, and continue to develop in America. In terms of models, I hope to continue to create things that, as you say, are timeless, but continue to smell what women would like to wear, because I just have this ability to catch, for the moment, what ladies would like to have.

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