2020 marked the ten-year anniversary of Melanie’s eponymous brand. To celebrate the landmark, Melanie launched ‘Carats’, a special group of one-off pieces using diamonds and natural pearls for the very first time. Unlike cultured pearls, both diamonds and natural pearls are measured in carat weight, hence the collections name.
An incredible amount of care and focus has been placed on the design and manufacturing of this diverse group of pieces. These uniquely desirable earrings, bangles and rings feature many different styles of diamonds with multiple shapes, cuts, colours, settings and sizes. Melanie states that “this is not a traditional collection, nor is it a set of matching pieces with the same style, colour or technique.” She describes it instead as “an ongoing body of work featuring one-of-a-kind jewels which complement one another”.
The pieces will be released in small drops over the remainder of the year. This intentional decision to show them as and when they are finished, as well as to not follow one single narrative or aesthetic, allows Melanie to embrace a freedom of pace and expression for each individual jewel. It is also a conscious decision to accept and embrace the current COVID-19 situation which has of course hindered production but also highlighted the importance of consuming less but better. Melanie has chosen to make fewer pieces this year in an attempt to acknowledge this new reality and give herself time to reflect on what the future might look like.
One design feature which threads throughout ‘Carats’ is the ‘embedded’ technique, where diamonds or pearls appear to be pushed into the MOP creating a cushion-like effect. Melanie wanted the nacre to really look like it had been spontaneously pressed into, so as to highlight the softness of the MOP, especially in contrast to the hard diamonds. The feeling of not being able to entirely control everything, such as the position of the most precious elements, felt appropriate to Melanie during this time.
The pearls used throughout the collection are natural Hippopus pearls from Indonesia. The collection uses recycled 18ct gold throughout in white, yellow and rose hues to complement the colour of the diamonds.