Pearls of Wisdom
I had originally planned a post on pearl jewelry for this week since pearls are the birthstone for the month of June. Even though my birthstone is diamond, I prefer the luminosity of pearls. The post didn’t seem as relevant after the events of this week until I came across a feature on 55 Black-Owned Fashion and Beauty Brands to Support Now, and Always and read that 21% of black-owned businesses don’t think they’ll survive the pandemic. Included in the article was a pair pearl earrings by Mateo, a jewelry brand founded in 2009 by self-taught designer Matthew Harris whose work is inspired by modern artists such as Alexander Calder and Wassily Kandinsky.
“I was born and raised in Montego Bay, Jamaica, the son of a seamstress. I arrived to the US at the age of 16 to attend Southern New Hampshire University to complete a B.S in Hospitality Management. After completing my studies, I discovered my true passion in New York City – the art of Jewelry making. Being a self taught designer, I spent much of my time in the jewelry district learning and perfecting the craft.
After honing my craft, Mateo New York was launched in March of 2009. The brand began solely focused on men’s jewelry, with the first collection pulling inspiration from the concept of a working man’s toolbox. After the success of the men’s collection, a women’s capsule collection was introduced shortly after. However in 2014, a strategic decision was made to refocus the brand, and thus our women’s fine jewelry collection was launched. The fine jewelry collections bare our true aesthetic of simplicity and minimalism, drawing inspiration from modern art for the modern woman. Each piece is made from 14KT gold with a consistent use of diamonds and precious gemstones.
Following the elevated direction of the brand, there has been tremendous growth allowing us to open our first flagship store in the heart of SoHo, New York City in December of 2016. We were also a 2017 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Finalist. Much of Mateo New York’s success is due to a continuous effort in making modern, relatable fine jewelry at an approachable price point.”– Matthew Harris of Mateo New York
I’ve actually included his jewelry in many other posts so it was nice to learn more about the man behind the brand. I’ve mixed his pieces with other pearl jewelry in this post that would make wonderful graduation gifts for the young women who didn’t actually get a graduation this year or a pick me up present for yourself. These pearls are not your grandmother’s pearls and they’d look just as chic with jeans and tee shirts as they would with a dress. I caught Steel Magnolias on tv recently and was struck by how all the characters were wearing their good pearls with their black dresses at the end of the film. I wear my pearls every day even in quarantine because why the heck not.
Earrings in top image: Mateo Duality Pearl Drop Earrings
My friend Ana Mari Ortega had a wonderful Instagram post outlining the work she does volunteering in her area and how you can get involved where you live. You can support the work she does by buying her jewelry too like these Baroque Pearl Drop Earrings.
I asked Ana Mari to create this simple Baroque Pearl Necklace for Christmas 2018 after seeing her studded pearl necklaces.