N-UE is dedicated to creating sustainable fine jewellery that is like a second skin, easy enough to wear and detailed enough to shine. Let's delve into the mind of Priyanka Mehta and find out what inspired her to start her own jewellery brand.
q: Where did the name ’N-UE’ come from?
a: The name N-UE, is also the word for naked in French. All our pieces are made to feel like a second skin. They are expertly designed and crafted to be featherlight, allowing your jewellery to blend in with your own essence.
q: When was it when you realised that you wanted to be a fine jewellery designer?
a: I don't think I ever thought I would be a fine jewellery designer. I spent my 20's traveling the world and picking up trinkets along the way that represented life's milestones. They were never large or bold, they were more like secret reminders of my own narrative.
I wanted to put together a concise, curated collection of objects that could go with you anywhere and everywhere. I suppose my exposure and experience in the industry propelled me to translate this sentiment into a collection of fine jewellery.
q: Can you explain to us what the process is for creating CVD diamonds, and why you use this method?
a: All our diamonds are created using Chemical Vapour Disposition or CVD technology. We start with a diamond seed or slice and place it in a chamber. Inside, moderate temperatures and low pressure are used to recreate the same circumstances under which diamonds are created in the earth’s crust. Carbon atoms are introduced in the form of gas and they form an isometric skeleton that gives diamonds their crystalline structure. This process takes two weeks.
Once the diamond has formed, it is removed from the chamber and then cut and polished in the same manner as a mined diamond. We use this method because of its consistency and accuracy in creating whiter diamonds with less inclusions.
q: Why is sustainability such an important part of your brand?
a: I've been working in the diamond and jewellery industry for over a decade now, and I found myself always asking questions about mining, and the people and practices involved. The pictures of mines as gaping holes in the earths surface were very unsettling to me.
With a first hand view in the Antwerp diamond market I grew disillusioned. The acquisition of good quality diamonds depended on mining houses, controlling governments and finally financial power. The beauty of the natural element had been diminished by politics and profit seekers, with no consideration towards destroyed eco systems and displaced societies. If we have the technology to avoid this kind of devastation, we should embrace this. After decades of ignoring it, we have a responsibility in fashion to understand the impact we have on the environment. This is a central belief that lies at the heart of N-ue.
q: If you had to choose one piece to wear for the rest of your life, which piece would it be?
a: This one is so hard. I love all our pieces and rotate between them. Right now I am wearing the heavenly necklace and haven’t taken it off in over a month! It’s definitely my current favourite. I love waking up and seeing it glitter in my bathroom mirror as I brush my teeth, as if its reminding me that its still there. That being said, every piece is meant to be worn for the rest of your life. I try to capture simplicity and a sense of eternity in every piece, and once on they really do become your second skin.
q: What or who are your biggest influences when it comes to designing?
a: I was a student of Architectural History at Columbia University in NY. I like clean lines and geometric shapes. Mies Van Der Rohe and Le Corbusier’s floating structures definitely played a part in my balance of heavy and light objects. I think this is really clear in our collection of rings. The lightness of each band is like the pillars that hold up skyscrapers. The diamonds appear to float on your fingers. Dame Zaha Hadid’s fluidity was also at the back of my head. Our bracelets and chains twist and turn with movement, and you get to observe the play of light on both the diamonds and the gold. The other influences are couture brands like Chloe, The Row and MaxMara that have a firm base in subtlety and sophistication.
q: Who is the ’N-UE’ women? What kind of people are they?
a: The N-UE woman is every woman that believes that she is precious. A woman that can celebrate a small triumph and also accept a temporary setback for what it is. She knows how to make a statement, but doesn't always feel the need to.
Inner and outer discovery is equally important to her. She is sophisticated and subdued all at once. She cares about her smaller and larger impact, whether its advice she gives to her daughter or a conference room that she is addressing. Our jewellery is a form of self expression that is personal and meaningful.
q: How did you hear about Curated Crowd?
a: I heard about Curated Crowd from influencers and bloggers that have always raved about their collections and pop-ups. It first came up on my radar during London Fashion Week, and when I saw the designers and selection, I knew it was the place to be!
Starting a brand was never intended, but after years of travelling in her twenties, collecting little trinkets along the way, designer Priyanka Mehta decided that creating her own ethical fine jewellery brand was the way to go.
With travelling comes seeing the world in a different light, and along with the beauty, she unfortunately also saw the damage that the jewellery business has done with mining, slowly destroying our natural world. This was therefore imbedded into her brand ethos, to ensure that a sustainable way of creating diamonds was used.
N-UE very much focuses on the art of simplicity. It is indeed a difficult one to grasp. While it may look easy, so many fail to nail it on the head. However, Priyanka has managed to design jewellery that feels like a second skin. It delicately rests on your collar bone, your wrist and your fingers, feather-light and precious.
Apart from the beautiful designs, N-UE is also sustainably made. All products are made with 18k recycled gold and with CVD diamonds. All their stones are DEF Color and VS+ Clarity. This means that your jewellery contains the whitest and cleanest sustainable diamonds, ensuring 'unparalleled sparkle and resilience'.