New bride Nicky Hilton designs practical, variable jewelry for Filipinos | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

NICKY Hilton wears the sapphire-and-diamonds earrings from her collection for Denovo Diamonds.

When Nicky Hilton set out to design jewelry for a young Filipino firm called Denovo Diamonds, the American heiress and fashion designer made sure that the pieces would be suitable not just as engagement rings but also as personal statement pieces.


Essentially, what Hilton—who just wed James Rothschild, her European banking-heir beau, in London—is saying is that, if there’s someone special who wants to buy the ring for you, then lucky you. But if you just want it for yourself, go ahead and buy it.


“True to my philosophy, the rings are also designed to be statement pieces you can purchase and wear for any occasion as you see fit,” Hilton, 31, wrote Inquirer Lifestyle in an e-mail.


There’s a certain practicality to the way Hilton designed her Denovo collection, such that the earrings, for instance, have detachable parts so that you can wear them two ways: studs for the day and chandelier-style for evening.


Multitude of ways


“I think the beauty of jewelry and accessories is that there are a multitude of ways to wear them,” she said. “My philosophy is that style is unique and personal; to develop your style identity is to recognize your preferences and select what works for you.


“In my book (‘365 Style’), I’ve talked about how true style is all about being the best version of you and feeling good about who you are. If you feel comfortable, know you look your absolute best and, most importantly, are staying true to the look you love, you will leave a lasting and stylish impact wherever you go.”


The collection has three lines: the classic Romanesque-inspired pavé diamond rings; modern and Art Deco-style earrings and bracelets, her nod to New York where she grew up; and sweet, vintage styles in bow and heart motifs that include a locket necklace.

The collaboration with Hilton was an idea of Robbie Antonio, managing director of Century Properties and a friend of the Hiltons.


Denovo, founded only in July, is headed by young husband-and-wife team Caryll and José Benitez, who set up their first boutique at Century City Mall in Makati.


“I’ve always wanted to do a line,” Hilton said. “I’ve been collecting jewelry since I was in my teens, but I partner only with projects I believe in. I was confident in developing it with Robbie and his team as I’ve known Robbie for a while and, as you may know, he has had a successful collaboration with my sister Paris on their luxury property project in Manila.”


Caryll Benitez, 34, said Denovo’s art director, Georgina Teng, flew to New York in November to work with Hilton. The line debuted in time for Valentine’s Day.


Unique approach


Denovo’s unique approach has been collaborations with local artists and designers, apart from offering classic and timeless jewelry. The brand has designs by the likes of Olivia d’Aboville, Jinggoy Buensuceso, Maureen Disini and Leeroy New.


“That’s how we wanted to distinguish our brand from others, by marrying art and wearable pieces,” said Benitez, who’s the creative director. “You can play around with Nicky’s pieces. In her book, she says, ‘Fashion is what you buy, style is what you do with it,’ and that’s how her collection is. There’s not just one way to wear them.”


“I believe a great piece of jewelry can make any outfit extraordinary,” Hilton said. “I’m an avid jewelry collector and I like diamonds, vintage-inspired pieces and one-of-a-kind accessories. I also believe in the powerful sentimental value that jewelry holds. Some of my most treasured pieces were given to me by my mom and loved ones, and wearing them every day reminds me of them.”


Hilton has been photographed wearing a large Asscher-cut diamond engagement ring, estimated to be between 5 and 8 carats, set in a platinum band.


The new Mrs. Rothschild (the wedding took place last week) has some advice for men who are on the lookout for The Ring.


Advice on engagement rings


“When it comes to engagement rings, my advice would be to focus on: 1) Quality and source of the stone. Look for a reputable jeweler who can provide certification that it is genuine and comes from ethical sources, and identify the cut, clarity, color and size of the stone used.


“2) Understand the type of design or style that your partner would be happy to wear. After all, it will be worn for many years to come.


“3) Identify your budget. Again, a good jeweler should be able to work with a range of prices, so set a budget you would be comfortable with.”


Hilton’s Denovo pieces are priced from P21,000 to a high of P435,000 for the 1.08-carat round, brilliant-cut diamond ring.


Like the design but way out of your budget? Denovo will happily customize to adjust the size of the diamond, said Benitez.


“Don’t be scared to buy diamond jewelry because you think it’s expensive,” Benitez says. “Diamonds last a lifetime, and they increase in value.”

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