New jewelry designer Mel Cuevas stuns with her debut collection | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022


Once an editor, always an editor. That’s the vibe one gets when meeting with new jewelry designer Melanie Cuevas. Her capsule collection of silver pieces plated in white, yellow or rose gold is clean, spare and meticulously edited.

THE HIVE cuff is all sleek lines and tactile studs.

Over lunch, she talked about the eight pieces that comprise her debut collection for Cova, a variation of her last name in Catalan. A portion of all purchases of the jewelry coursed through the online shopping site will be donated to Unicef to support victims of Supertyphoon “Yolanda.”


“I decided to stick to necklaces, bracelets and cuffs first because I was told by my supplier that we might have problems with ring sizes. I didn’t want to end up overstocked, especially since the pieces are made only upon order,” Cuevas said.


The three necklaces and five bracelets are all very much her style—minimalist luxe.


“My pieces are easy and can be worn alone or layered with other pieces from the line. In a way, there is a sense of fun and playfulness because you can pile it on with jewelry you already

THE CLEAN lines of the Bar cuff appeal to both women and men.

own,” she said in a statement.


Since Cuevas took inspiration from the work of famous architects like Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid, most of the jewelry in the line looks industrial and sculptural. Some exhibit the kind of curves found in nature.




The Hive cuff was inspired by the shape of beehives but not literally. Instead, there are two pyramid-like pieces connected by bar with a very tactile quality. This is also evident in the Ball cuff with its twin hammered spheres that rest gently on the wrist, and the Bar cuff that Cuevas says might also appeal to some men, particularly those with slim wrists. For them, she offers a fourth type of finish: sand-blasted white gold.


The fledgling jeweler piles on some of her designs.

In the more than 10 years that I’ve known her, she hardly ever takes the sweet and feminine route so it was quite a surprise that one of the neckpieces she designed is a single-strand pearl choker made with freshwater pearls.


The drama, however, is in the clasp designed to look like a nail. Instead of hiding it at your nape, the clasp is left to dangle in front, like a warning: I may be wearing pearls but I’m no pushover.


A second choker has that unfinished appeal but look closer, the tips are paved with tiny, white sapphires.


Before she added jewelry designer to her CV, Cuevas was the editor in chief of Inquirer’s Look Magazine. Before that, she was the editor in chief of Metro Magazine. Now, Cuevas works for her family’s business and is a style columnist for Inquirer Lifestyle.


This is not the first time she has tried jewelry design. When she was starting out at Metro years ago, she took a course in jewelry design and began stringing beads and metal components. Her finished pieces were then consigned at Firma and the defunct Souk.

“I had to stop when work began piling up,” she said.


Several months ago, Cuevas began sketching ideas for her pieces. She was introduced to a jewelry maker she felt comfortable dealing with. Prototypes were made and when Cuevas was told that some pieces would be too expensive to produce, changes were made.


THE HINGE cuff and pearl choker with nail clasp look deceptively simple.

“When I look at the pieces, I ask whether I would buy them myself and at what price points?” she said. “It continues to be a learning process.”


The Cova jewelry line is now available at but because Cuevas continues to edit, she has decided to put three of the eight pieces on hold.


“I’m still not satisfied with the way they look and that is a nonnegotiable for me.” Once an editor…

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