Monica Vinader has been making precious wearable trinkets since 2002. Thirteen years on, her eponymous brand has risen fast to become the go-to label for affordable fine jewellery. Buro 24/7 chats with the UK-based designer about bridging the gap between fine and fashion jewellery and what adornment really means to her.
Have you always wanted to be a jewellery designer?
I've always had a creative flare — it's in my genes. I grew up surrounded by antiques from my parents' business and my mother was a huge jewellery collector. I studied art in London and then went on to work in Mexico, where I met local sculptors and fell in love with the whole design process. That's when I started to create my first pieces of jewellery, and it just grew from there.
What inspired you to create covetable and accessible jewellery?
Growing up, my mother would always let us play with her jewellery collection, and that's definitely shaped my outlook towards my own designs. Jewellery should be seen, not locked away. So when I set up the business with my sister Gabriela, our aim was to bridge the gap in the market for pieces that are contemporary, well-made and wearable — sitting somewhere between fine and fashion. By using sterling silver and gold vermeil, we can keep the price point accessible without compromising on quality or design.
How would you describe your jewellery aesthetic and mantra?
I'm constantly inspired by my surroundings — anything from a stone I find on the beach to a stunning piece of architecture can lead to new ideas. When designing, I tend to be guided by what I personally love and can't wait to wear.
The Fiji friendship bracelet is your best seller. Why do you think it's so popular?
The friendship range really embodies our ethos of everyday jewellery — it's just so versatile. You can wear the Fiji alone or stacked up with a mix of coloured cords and chains, dressed up or dressed down. I think that's why it's popular with so many people. Every bracelet can be personalised with engravings as well, so you can capture those special moments.
Any tips on how to cleverly accessorise your jewellery pieces?
I'm not one for minimalist styling and I personally love to stack my rings in different stones, shapes and sizes. You can complete any outfit with some statement jewels — be it piling all your bracelets onto one wrist or layering two or three of your favourite necklaces and pendants. It creates this beautifully effortless look. Don't be afraid to mix your metals either! Rose gold and silver sit perfectly together.
What do you think is the one piece of jewellery every woman should own?
A pair of statement cocktail earrings — they complete any outfit.
What are your staple jewellery pieces?
We have so many collections and pieces I adore that I can never only wear just a few pieces. I'm obsessed with rings of all shapes and sizes, and I haven't taken off the cocktail ring from our Diva collection in a very long time.
What is the most precious piece of jewellery you own?
My engagement ring. My husband and I designed it together. It's made with the most stunning lapis lazuli and diamonds. I never take it off.
If you had to choose between a necklace, ring, bracelet or earrings, what jewellery piece resonates with you the most?
I always have a wrist full of bracelets and I'm never without a stack of Fiji's! We've adapted the range so much that there's plenty of different styles to experiment with.
If you could design one piece of jewellery for anyone, who would it be?
My approach is to design collections that will appeal to women with all kinds of different styles. I think it's the person that makes the jewellery, not the other way around.
What do you think jewellery means to women today?
Something that we've noticed from our own customers is that women aren't waiting to be bought jewellery anymore and are purchasing beautiful pieces for themselves. That's why creating jewellery that's both luxurious and accessible is so important to me. I want women to be able to afford unique gemstones and diamonds they can actually wear every day, without feeling guilty about the price tag.
Other than jewellery, what is your best travel accessory?
Sunglasses — I never travel without my trusty Ray Bans!
What's next for Monica Vinader? Is there a new collection in the pipeline?
There's so much going on right now. We have the amazing new Alphabet pendant collection launching at the beginning of July, as well as a Men's range launching in August. Right now, we're focused on designing for 2016, which is keeping us very busy.
Monica Vinader is sold at Tangs Ochard, L2. To shop her full range, click here.