The power of the personal

by Emily Hodgson

At me.mi, we know that jewellery is much more than merely decorative – it’s deeply personal. There’s a kind of intimacy to wearing it – it rests against our skin, is warmed by our body, and perfumed by our natural oils. It’s no wonder, then, that personalised jewellery is the season’s biggest trend. And customisation is catching fire both within and beyond the jewellery world with everyone from Tiffany & Co. to Tesla co-creating products with their customers. But for us, it will always be the stories behind the self-styled pieces that matter most.

Making a statement

Jewellery is a badge of personal expression and pride. It draws the eye and tells a story before we’ve even said a word. And it’s a talisman of sorts, part of the social armour we put on to help us face the day.

Big brands and high-end fashion houses understand this, and they’re catering to their customers’ need for highly individualised items that make an instant statement. From Nike to Nutella, Louis Vuitton to Levi’s, Starbucks to Sephora, customers can now inscribe their initials and names on a product or style it themselves from scratch.

This is a real departure from the traditional, passive producer-consumer relationship between customers and their best-loved brands. It builds a collaborative and interactive brand experience – and it’s what consumers have come to expect.

So, it’s no wonder that haute joaillerie houses are hopping on board. Bulgari’s senior jewellery director Giampaolo Della Croce believes that bespoke jewellery “is an excellent opportunity to sustain and nourish relationships with our loyal clients.” And Tiffany & Co.’s Make it My Tiffany service shares the same sentiment: “Creating rare, bespoke jewellery pieces… provides us with opportunities to maintain and enhance the relationships we have with our most esteemed clients,” says chief gemmologist Melvyn Kirtley.

And for those who are constantly in the public eye – the pantheon of celebrities! – personalised jewellery has become the mode of self-expression. Taylor Swift sports a curlicued monogram that resembles an ancient totem or protective amulet. Lucky charm or symbol of defiance, it’s a statement piece that speaks volumes.

And Kate Middleton’s initial necklaces are a nod to her growing brood of tiny royals. The simply fashioned first letters of her children’s names, strung around her neck, humanise her and make her seem less remote and reserved, more maternal and relatable.

By opting for such personal pieces in the public domain, celebrity jewellery choices can be seen as an attempt to reveal their real selves to the world, to say ‘this is me. See me’. Which is what me.mi is all about: our ethos is embedded in giving expression to our clients’ emotional lives, and our process, like our slogan, is all about ‘making it yours’. And yours alone.

There’s both vulnerability and strength in that – the most delicate set of letters can make such a powerful statement. Think of Michelle Obama’s reinvention of the name necklace: her finely wrought V-O-T-E necklace took bespoke jewellery from personal inscription to political intention, from wearable art to wokeness.

A moving memento

Activism aside, there is also something solid and sustaining about jewellery – it’s an heirloom, a transgenerational token, something precious to be passed down from mother to daughter, father to son, sister to sister. It has the power to crystalise a moment or capture a memory in the durable form of precious metals. It will outlive us and carry our story with it – as a keepsake, passed from palm to palm, handed over as a matter of heart and heritage.

Ariel Gordon, jewellery design darling of A-listers like Jennifer Lawrence, Charlize Theron, Kate Winslet, Beyonce, and Selena Gomez, believes customised creations will outlast any other items because they’re rooted in the most personal rituals: “Personalized jewellery will always stand the test of time because it will forever have meaning to you. All of the jewellery that I wear is symbolic of a treasured moment in my life: a birth, the passing of a loved one, a wedding.”

Ariel Gordon personalised pieces

Stories told in gold

At me.mi, we’re mindful of this. Each piece we produce is a signature in itself, engraved with the essence of the wearer. We see our jewellery pieces not as products, but as stories told in solid gold or sterling silver.

Like Loren Young’s story. When she lost her mother, a letter from mother to daughter was all she had to hold on to. She wanted something more permanent, more present than paper and ink; she wanted a tangible token of her mother, something that would serve as a daily reminder. So, we captured her mother’s handwriting in a nuanced necklace: “I’m completely overwhelmed by this necklace. It brought me to tears to see something created in my mom’s writing.”

Letters of love

Me.mi pieces are not just a source of solace in times of loss, but serve as a celebratory expression of love. When Jenna McArthur became a mother, it was a transformative experience, and she wanted to capture what motherhood meant to her in a meaningful way. She approached us to custom-create several pieces centred around her love for her children.

What resulted, she said, was “an everyday reminder of my purpose and passion as a mama. When I wear these pieces of jewellery, I am reminded of the little people I am shaping and how beautiful they are inside and out. Motherhood is a gift and a privilege that I hold close to my heart. Nothing compares to this love.”

Tokens of time

Personalised jewellery offers us the opportunity to celebrate those we love, and to consecrate those we have lost in a more concrete way, in the form of keepsakes. And what better way to track those milestones than by fashioning markers for each moment – which is what we did for the cutest baby and our youngest me.mi customer. Our tiny little gold bracelet is something she’ll treasure all her life.

Making it yours

These me.mi stories mean the world to us. They bring our brand promise to life, and really push us to come up with new designs that celebrate the self – and all the little daily things that move us.

We like to think that each piece we produce is a talisman. A love token. A measure of time. And each piece is part of a deeply collaborative and co-creative process with our clients.

So, in keeping with the current customising trend, we’ll come up with anything from morse code bracelets, monograms and medallions to cufflinks, crescents, and collar pins. Whether you’re searching for a stacking ring or a signet with your star sign, birth stone or religious symbol, a name plate, rod, or bead on a necklace, or engraved, etched, and pre-inscribed pendants, we’ll fashion it for you.

Whether it’s a preschool drawing or a personal mantra, a loved one’s signature, a significant date, or a soulful saying, we’ll make sure it finds its way into our work. Our creations are not just material possessions but matters of the heart.

Connecting and caring

But besides that, personalised jewellery is a way to be seen when our new WFH way of life has robbed us of opportunities to own a look at the office or make a statement at a music festival. A little bit of bespoke bling can go a long way, busting through the bland version of ourselves we see on our Zoom, Teams or Meet screens. It’s a gentle sign of self-reinvention.

And customised jewellery is also a conversation starter, a way to connect at a time of disconnection. And that’s what me.mi is all about: connection, caring, and the sharing of stories of ourselves.