Young jewelry brands have popped up left and right like wild mushrooms, dominating the already-saturated jewelry world with their fresh and innovative pieces. But who can blame them? While heritage jewelry brands are trying to let go of their traditional ways and outdated mindset, the demand for fresh, bold and fierce designs gets higher every year. And this is where the innovative minds of young designers come to play, capturing the exact wants of the younger population of accessory-wearers. One of the successful brands to have done this and successfully inched its way up to the top of the jewelry industry ladder is Mateo.
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Mateo is currently known to be the eponymous brand of a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Finalist, Matthew (nickname: Mateo) Harris, yet even before the competition, the brand had already been known to produce captivating pieces for the women of Hollywood.
Mateo Harris can trace back his love for jewelry ever since he was a little kid, growing up in a household where fashion is a part of his daily life. The creativity of the designer is attributed to his seamstress mother, who have also been a fashion inspiration for Harris. Such creativity finally found an outlet when he graduated from college, when Harris started to learn how to make jewelry from Youtube videos and going back and forth NYC’s 47th Street to ask countless of question about the craft. After months of self-learning and own discovery of the jewelry-making process, Harris was ready to start his own company as a self-taught jewelry designer.
In 2009, he fearlessly launched his eponymous brand that was at first mainly all bout the men. During those early stages, the essence and “DNA” of the brand was still being developed by the designer, thinking that it was the only way to set his brand part from all others, especially in the highly competitive jewelry industry. It was also a time for the technical and legal set up of the brand, which Harris did all by himself, acknowledging that it was a great time to learn, teaching him values that made him a better strategist and entrepreneur.
Style & exposure
Currently, Mateo New York collections comprise of both men’s and women’s jewelry lines, filled with modern designs and geometric influences, even more captivating the contemporary look that people go gaga over these days. While the brand started with purely pieces for men, by 2014, it decided to have a shift in focus and style, eventually choosing for the authentic minimalist look that’s perfect for any modern woman. From then on, the brand used sparkling gemstones and diamonds to pair with their favorite 14k gold, which had been well-received, leading to Mateo’s fame within the local population, travellers, and even famous personalities such as Rihanna.
One of the recent and greatest milestones of the brand is the launching of its flagship store in Nolita area in New York, the perfect place where the aesthetic and style of the brand really belongs. Not wanting a trace of austerity in the store, Harris acknowledges how monumental it was for the brand to establish their own maison at the heart of NYC. The exposure of the brand doesn’t end there, as they also offer their pieces online, but actually meeting the buyer is what the founder loves about having the actual physical store.
Inspiration & plans for growth
The main inspiration behind the pieces of Mateo New York Inc. is the fascination of the designer with modern art. The linear designs, geometric details in the simple silhouettes of the jewelry pieces are a testament to that, especially as they are inspired minimalist works of Kandinsky and Alexander Calder, the favorite artists of Harris himself.
While an earlier expansion from men’s collection to women’s collections had been the main shift that prompted the growth of the brand, it hasn’t stop exploring other venues yet. New categories and lines have been added to the brand’s production, including leather items already displayed in both Bloomingdales and Saks Fifth Avenue in the United States. For international releases of their newest goods, Mateo has pieces at Harvey Nicols in Saudi Arabia, and at Montaigne Market in Paris. Another line recently added to the brand’s products are their fragrances, launching their newest scented candles (bougie parfumée) offered online and at their flagship store.
Expansion is a continuous journey for Mateo New York, as it plans to continue exploring other avenues where the aesthetic and design prowess of the brand can be properly executed and expressed. But how does it manage to expand at such a fast speed while remaining relevant to the jewelry user? Mateo is able to provide pieces with elevated aura and design at a modest price point—they offer collections that can cater to a wide range of jewelry-lovers and other customers.