Monica Vinader established her eponymous jewelry brand in 2008, and since then the accolades, awards and high moments have rolled in thick and fast.
Not only has the designer launched boutiques across London, and established concessions within Liberty and Selfridges, she’s also collaborated with influencers and dressed a whole host of celebrities, from The Duchess of Cambridge and Madonna, to Bella Hadid, Naomi Watts, Elizabeth Olsen and Kate Winslet. Whatever the woman, Vinader has something for you.
All this goes to show that Monica Vinader has certainly made a name for herself within demi-fine jewelry arena. Expect yellow gold, rose gold and silver metals that are thoughtfully combined with gems such as aquamarine, onyx, then there’s pearls and of course, diamonds for everyday adornment.
More is more and so, there are plenty of pieces designed to be stacked including rings, bracelets, necklaces, chains and earrings. There is statement jewelry too, designed for solo status, case in point, the new collaboration Doina Pearl and Necklace Set and the Doina Gemstone Lariat Set. You’ll also find modern mixed metal jewelry for the indecisive, and sweet charms that allow for personalization.
Vinader talks about her career from the early days to present day, and the future goals for her brand.
Felicity Carter: What is your first memory of jewelry?
Monica Vinader: My first memory is a gold charm bracelet my grandmother gave me at age 10 – she would give a new charm to add to it every birthday and Christmas! I loved it and looked forward to the little miniature charms each year – it was really my first experience in how emotional jewelry can be.
FC: Do you think your love of trinkets came from your parents’ dealings in the antiques world?
MV: Definitely. Mum introduced me to vintage jewelry – objects and the concept of collectibles – she collected so many beautiful things, as did my father (antique lighters, watches) and it taught me to appreciate quality, design, craft, and the people who created them.
FC: How would you sum up the jewelry category and aesthetic of Monica Vinader?
MV: We are a demi fine jewelry brand focusing on quality and design integrity – with a very simple aesthetic which feels modern but a little vintage.
FC: Is there a particular woman you design for?
MV: No – jewelry is so personal that it can’t really be designed with any one type of person in mind – I want our pieces to be worn by whoever is drawn to them. My team and I really create jewelry that we would want to wear ourselves, and it’s amazing to see how different people style it in their own way.
FC: What are the cornerstones of your company?
MV: Quality, design, creativity and a luxury experience at a price our customers can access have always been the cornerstone of what we do. Social responsibility is another cornerstone that has become increasingly important for us – a journey we’ve been on for several years now – leading to the recent launch of our first-ever collection made with 100% recycled silver and our commitment to moving completely away from mined materials by the end of 2020.
Delivering these promises -being nimble and sensitive to what our customers are wanting while balancing price and quality without compromising – is what sets us apart and allows us to always keep our focus on what is best for the customer.
FC: Which was the first-ever piece that you designed and how did it come about?
MV: I was doing an apprenticeship with a sculptor in Santa Fe and was surrounded by these amazing creatives and materials – inspiration was everywhere. I designed a charm torq necklace made with antique pieces that I collected from local markets in Santa Fe – it had Jade charms, silver beads and I used silver coiled wire to join it all together.
FC: Tell us about the process from sketch to sourcing through to stockist…
MV: Since we’re extremely conscious of creating quality products that will be well loved, we’ll only launch a product after it has been carefully designed, produced and tested. Each design comes from a sketch that I have created – I carry sketchbooks with me always – and based on the inspiration we as a team collect items, take photographs and sketch some more. We combine all of these to make a mood board and then refine the inspiration down to specific shapes and colors. From there, we use 3D modelling to create to scale versions of the designs and we keep making iterations until we have our final designs.
We’ve been working with the same suppliers for a decade, and most of the design team has been with the brand for that same length of time so the communication between the two is ongoing, open and strong. We intensely care about that drawing and vision being interpreted correctly so we push ourselves and our partners to deliver the design as it was envisioned.
Every collection is different and has its own intricacies and complexities, but we always build in a “wear test” period of 3 months where staff continuously wear new designs so we can guarantee it’s comfort and durability in a variety of situations.
FC: Currently, which are your go-to pieces?
MV: Right now the pieces on repeat are our Nura Pearls on everything – chains, bracelets and especially on our MVxDoina Huggie earrings, lots of layered gold chains with our Marie and Siren Coin pendants and mixing metals with stacked Alta bracelets.
FC: What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve been given when it comes to handling the industry?
MV: Make what you love, follow your instincts and create trends, don’t follow them.
FC: It’s a challenging landscape for brick-and-mortar retail, what are the long term goals for your company?
MV: It is a tough time for brick-and-mortar. I really believe the physical store is still important – the real time interaction with tactile, emotive products and the human connection provided by sales associates is still key.
That said, I have to admit digital is our main focus as it allows us to connect with so many more people around the world – especially during a time when people are generally physically apart, it’s been fascinating to see how deeply we are able to connect with our customers virtually. Long term, whilst digital will always be our largest store and an area we’ll continue to invest in, our plan is to maintain physical stores where customers can immerse themselves in the world of Monica Vinader, see/touch/feel the quality of our pieces and have fun trying on jewelry.
See the full Monica Vinader range on www.monicavinader.com.