Cover Jewellery designer Melissa Kaye (Photo: Melissa Kaye)

The fine jewellery designer on her love for enamel and layerable chains

Tell us about your latest collection, Ada.

This is our first chain collection. I’ve wanted to introduce a custom chain design to our clients for a while. Ada is unique, true to my brand’s aesthetic, and it looks great with all our signature finishes, including gold and enamel.

What was most difficult when designing this collection?

It took time to finalise a silhouette that had the right proportions and weight.

Describe the Ada chain in three words.

Bold, luxurious, substantial.

What inspires you?

I’m a born-and-bred New Yorker and am proud to have lived here my entire life, with the exception of college. From the people and the pace to the architecture and art, New York City is a never-ending source of inspiration.

Why do you use enamel?

While diamonds and 18-karat gold have always been the core focus, enamel was a medium I had always wanted to incorporate into my designs. It offers a different textural element in an infinite range of colours. Enamel is fashion-forward, super-luxurious and fun. It takes some of the formality out of fine jewellery and gives our pieces a laid-back sensibility.

What's so great about neon?

Neon makes me so happy. I don’t know how you can wear neon and not feel happy. It’s also timeless. It’s simultaneously retro, modern and very on-trend at the moment, but also futuristic. 

If you could design jewellery for anyone, who would it be?

There are so many amazing women I would love to see wearing my jewellery, but Kamala Harris is at the top of my list.

What kind of woman wears your jewellery?

She appreciates quality and meticulous craftsmanship. She is sophisticated yet unassuming, and her jewellery is a reflection of that.

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What’s your first memory of jewellery?

Growing up, I had a bench set-up in my bedroom and I was always working on new projects. To this day, my mother has held onto a few of my childhood designs.

Tell us about your first design.

I was at summer camp, and I made some pieces from stained glass. This project always stayed with me, which is why I still have a special place in my heart for plique-à-jour enamelling. Perhaps, at some point, I will incorporate this special technique into a collection.

If you weren’t a jeweller, what would you be?

A professional boxer.

What music have you been listening to?

Anything from the 1980s.

What shows have you been binge-watching?

The Queen’s Gambit, Insecure and Bridgerton.

What have you been doing this summer?

I recently got a new puppy, so we’re enjoying outdoor adventures together.

Which country do you want to visit when restrictions lift?

My first trips will be to visit our newest retail partners that were launched during the pandemic. This includes London to see Harrods and Matches Fashion, Kuwait to visit Qirdala and Hong Kong to visit Lane Crawford.

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