Admired for her décor, entertaining and beauty tips, style maven, creative consultant and editor Ria Prieto is trying her hand at fine jewelry design.
Jeweler-friend Candy Dizon invited her to conceptualize a pocket collection for the luxury brand, Jul B. Dizon.
The 18-piece collection is titled “Skewed (Ria Prieto x Jul B. Dizon)” because it celebrates the beauty of imperfections—say, mismatched earrings or asymmetry—an element of visual imbalance that lends an unexpected touch.
Prieto’s collection is distinguished by its modern simplicity—the definitive jewelry trend of this decade that caters to women with hyperactive lifestyles.
Today’s minimalist vogue isn’t just about barely-there pieces such as fiber-thin bangles and itsy-bitsy earrings. The contemporary version plays up small but powerful geometric forms and beautiful materials so that they can be layered to create a dressy or playful look, or dressed down to a single piece for casual elegance.
Prieto’s designs capture this spirit of the times but not intentionally.
“Skewed” reflects her personal style. The simplicity of her jewelry enables her to stack rings on her finger, layer necklaces and bar bracelets, and contour her face with mismatched studs and dangling earrings.
“I’m more on the edgy side,” says Prieto, who is coolly dressed in a sheer white blouse, shirred denim skirt and layers of gold, streamlined jewelry. She believes that jewelry shouldn’t be worn only on special occasions, but for every day even in travels.
A client of Jul B. Dizon, Prieto has her jewelry pieces reworked according to her designs. This included her classic engagement ring, made of white gold, emerald and diamonds. With her husband’s permission, it was transformed into a cocktail ring, the asymmetry shown by the cabochon blue emerald on top of a square diamond.
Prieto favors Jul B. Dizon for craftsmanship. She likens them to high fashion, where everything is fastidiously finished in the front and back.
Last February, Prieto was sick and stayed at home for two weeks. Candy suggested that she design a collection to keep her entertained.
She is no stranger to design, having studied industrial design at the College of Saint Benilde, though she shifted to another course when computer-assisted design came in.
While bedridden, she drew rough sketches of rings, earrings, bangles, necklaces and an anklet. Candy sent the artist’s rendition for her approval.
Gold, diamonds, pearls
In keeping with the minimalist aesthetic, the materials of her collection are limited to 18-karat gold, diamonds, South Sea and keshi pearls. The South Sea pearl is used as a highlight for her ring, earrings and brooches.
Prieto plays a lot with variations. A pair of rectangular earrings are vertically rimmed with diamonds on one side and contrasted with the horizontal placement on the other. The roundness of a gold ring is disrupted by linear upper shank, or a vertical gold crown rimmed with diamonds.
A bar stud and a dangler with a similar bar can be worn as multiple piercings on one ear, or with the stud on one ear and the chain dangler on the other.
Celebrating imperfection, one keshi pearl earring is purposely wrapped with a dangling gold chain, lending an unfinished look, while on the other, the chain is tightly packed on the pearl.
One of the most expensive pieces is a pair of half-moon gold earrings with tasseled chains, punctuated by large South Sea pearls.
Prieto’s asymmetrical and straightforward style contrasts with Jul B. Dizon’s signature feminine ornate styles, which are pricey because of the intricacy and prodigious use of precious stones.
The prices of the “Skewed” collection range from P12,000 to P150,000, which is affordable for fine jewelry, compared with imported high fashion or gold-plated jewelry of global brands, says Prieto.
She is grateful for the opportunity to venture into terra incognita. “The media industry fosters creativity. I like hanging out with designers and artist friends. You get stimulated to produce something new.”
“Skewed” will be launched on Nov. 28, 2-6 p.m. at Jul B. Dizon in Peninsula Manila.