While London-based jewelry designer Nadine Aysoy has been enlivening her luxurious and classic collections with diamonds and other precious gemstones since 2017, she’s also on a parallel mission to create “demi-fine” jewels. As Aysoy asserts, “Of course women need fine jewelry in their collections, but they also need well-made, great-looking and affordable everyday pieces that complement their style while bringing joy to their lives.” With her fine jewelry and demi-fine approach, Aysoy manifests an open-minded; pragmatic vision reminiscent of 20th century designer Coco Chanel’s tendency to mix ultra-fine jewels with costume pieces. In our COVID-impacted era, however, Aysoy’s diverse collections prove how a jewelry designer can remain both creatively relevant, and successful, in a highly volatile economic climate.
Aysoy’s fine jewelry ranges are available online from such eminent e-tailers as Matches Fashion, a platform featuring her “Catena” collection of 18-karat gold, diamond and colored gemstone jewels. As the designer explains, “Catena is Italian for ‘chain’ and designs in this collection embody my interpretation of chain links.” As it happens, Aysoy’s Catena designs are sensuously rounded, fresh classics. From the gold and diamond ear cuff to the emerald ring to the kinetic gold and diamond triple-link Catena earrings, these chic pieces will stand the test of time.
Another online purveyor carrying Aysoy is Curated Crowd www.curated-crowd.com This fashion and jewelry platform connects independent designers producing limited editions with conscious consumers. Standouts here include the “Celeste” collection, which gleams with pieces made of white jade and tsavorite garnets, white jade and rubies, as well as white jade and diamonds, to dramatically original effects. The white jade which Aysoy uses is high quality material that’s suffused with gray-green undertones. Thus the stone embodies a celestial glow, like clouds at sunrise or sunset. “I like combining white jade with diamonds and colored stones, the designer muses, “because it has a mysterious, cool kind of beauty that’s unlike any other jewelry material.” Noting that, “While diamonds are the hardest natural substance known to science,” Aysoy explains that jade is classified as “tougher” than diamonds. “A diamond can easily fracture if it is cut on the wrong angle or if it falls on the ground a certain way,” she notes. “Jade is tougher in that it withstands most accidental knocking or dropping.”
While La Maison Couture www.lamaisoncouture.com , a contemporary fine jewelry boutique, features a selection of “Celeste” “Tsarina” and “Catena” pieces, Aysoy’s gold-plated and skillfully enameled sterling collection, which glitters with lab-grown emeralds and rubies, is exclusively available online at SWITCH www.joinswitch.com Made of less expensive materials than those in her luxury collections, Aysoy’s Switch jewels are similar in look and spirit to her Celeste fine jewelry collection, yet they retail at lower price points. “As people are increasingly shopping for fine jewelry online, I feel fortunate to be represented by retail partners who are as renowned for their carefully curated collections as they are for their customer service,” Aysoy says. “The collaboration with Switch is especially exciting,” she continues, “because this collection embodies great style at prices that are dramatically lower than what my fine jewelry retails for.” While Aysoy’s too discreet to mention it, her jewels are also available at www.nadineaysoy.com
When we meet in person at her by appointment-only London showroom, Aysoy is wearing “Spring Flake” 18-karat gold diamond, peridot and baroque pearl drop earrings from her “Tsarina” collection, which have 18-karat gold posts for pierced ears. The central motif of the Tsarina collection is that of the snowflake, and the top element of the Spring Flake earring is a golden snowflake set with a central peridot and diamonds. The baroque pearl pendant drops are set in 18-karat gold and surrounded with a halo of pavé diamonds. As she reaches behind one of her ears, Aysoy swiftly detaches the pearl pendant drop. “Versatility is key to me,” Aysoy says. “Convertible earrings enhance your jewelry wardrobe and style by providing two looks in one piece of jewelry. Women are always multi-tasking, and their jewelry should do the same.” On one of her hands, Aysoy wears a highly sculptural, 18-karat gold South Sea pearl and diamond ring from her “Mille et Une Feuilles” collection. The overall effect of these finely made pieces is quietly luxurious; classically cultivated yet romantic: the opposite of trendy/sparkly. “I design for women who wear jewelry because they appreciate quality design rather than the biggest gemstones,” Aysoy explains.
Born in Antwerp, Belgium, Aysoy grew up learning about diamonds in the office of her grandfather, the Antwerp diamond dealer P.N. Ferstenberg. Having distinguished himself as one of the country’s leading dealers over the course of his lifetime, Belgium’s government bestowed upon him the honorific title, “Dean of the Diamond Industry.” Like her grandfather, Aysoy has a deep knowledge of diamonds, along with how to use them to their best advantage in a given design. Unlike him, however, Aysoy attended business school in Switzerland and worked in the highly competitive, private banking world. She also started a family. While working as a private banker, Aysoy recalls, “I designed and re-designed my engagement ring and other jewelry for a creative outlet.” Eventually the lure of jewelry design called her to switch careers. After she concluded gemological studies in Switzerland, Aysoy moved to London and had prototypes made for her first collection. Coming full circle with her family tradition, some of her grandfather’s former associates counseled Aysoy on diamond sourcing.
Despite the challenges of doing business during 2020’s global pandemic, Aysoy is moving full speed ahead. While the economic outlook is uncertain, Aysoy is certain of women’s desire to adorn themselves, as well as of her calling. “Being a jewelry designer is meaningful because I create adornments that give pleasure to women who will eventually pass their jewels down to family members. When you create a piece of jewelry,” she ventures, “you’re contributing beauty to the world, as well as to the future.”