When most jewelry designs seek to vie for the attention of onlookers, define one person’s status, style, or mood through adornment, or, in a more familiar purpose, “to make a statement”—Melanie Cuevas decides to go in the opposite direction. Cuevas’ designs aim for a more minimalist effect: to complement clothes rather than overpower, to make subtle yet luxurious expressions than stand out from the crowd. “I thought of [making] pieces that can be worn alone, be worn together with other pieces from the line or be layered together with jewelry that one already owns,” Cuevas shares.
But the quietness of her pieces does not translate into lack of presence. The principle with which she fashions her jewelry is rooted in the way she views them not only as personal ornaments, but also as works of art. “People always hold more attachment and sentimental value to jewelry because it’s very personal, more intimate, more intricate, and at times, more than clothes, they are things to keep, collect, and to last,” she says.
For her debut collection called “Elements,” the former fashion magazine editor in chief took inspiration not from trends dictated by the runways but from ordinary, everyday experiences. A necklace with a clasp shaped after a common door hinge, a bar cuff derived from architecture’s softer curves.
The Hive ring, inspired by the shape of beehives, is a thin piece made of pure silver dipped in yellow gold, with a bar connecting the two hive-shaped details. In retrospect, her pieces still make a statement—that of a modern aesthetic with timeless and genderless sensibilities. She says, “I’d like to think that I’m designing for the modern man and woman, with pieces that can be worn with anything, regardless of a person’s style or gender. And I love that because my pieces are not really over-the-top, the person and his or her style are still there.”
Cova by Melanie Cuevas. Cura V at Power Plant Mall. www.vitostudio.com.
Photography by Patrick Segovia