Interview with Designer / Mateo Bijoux | Edition VI

It’s around 8:00 p.m. and I’m sitting on Matthew’s chocolate suede couch reviewing the jewelry pieces for his spring 2009 collection, while smelling the aroma of a home cooked Jamaican meal from his kitchen which I am about to enjoy. Mateo, the names he chooses to go by, resides in an eccentric apartment in Bedstuy that coincides with his personality as well as where much of his Jewelry production takes place. The 23 year old business major, who would have never thought his Master’s degree would lead him to jewelry design, began his own business of jewelry production shortly after a string of making other jewelry businesses profitable. Matthew’s jewelry line, Mateo Bijoux, consists of innovative, versatile, and bold pieces that evoke a sense of masculinity as well as being delicate enough for a fashion forward woman to wear.

Matthew discusses his inspiration, goals, and dreams very frankly; no holding back:

How did you get into the jewelry industry?
After moving to NY from Jamaica with no more than 200 dollars to my name, I began modeling. While modeling, I also worked for an independent jewelry designer as was hired as the director of sales. Unfortunately business with that designer became sour, and I decided to work for myself and myself only.

Describe your jewelry
It is wearable, recession proof, delicate for women as well as masculine enough for men pieces…every piece I have demands attention!

These pieces have so much life to them, what are the inspirations?
(Chuckles) Past experiences, good and bad, such as breakups, relationships with friends, and vintage pieces have all, more or less, influenced my line. For instance, Versace’s showcase of zipper heart dresses of the Spring 2009 collection, inspired my zipper necklace collection.

What exactly are the materials of the various pieces?
To keep the line more cost efficient, I’ve used white sapphire, sterling silver, onyx, and fresh water pearls. However, for the higher line, Mateo Bijoux, materials such as gold, diamonds, along with other precious gems will be used and priced accordingly.

I know, for myself I think it’s absolutely ridiculous when individuals all of a sudden want to play “designer” by just putting their name on their product. Are you hands on in the production of your jewelry?
Of course! I do have a studio and some help, but from conception to construction, I am very much a part of it.

These pieces have to be devastatingly expensive, what are the price points?
To remain recession proof, the Mateo Bijoux line ranges from $50 to $1,000 and the Mateo Luxe line ranges from $800 to $20,000.

Where can your lines be found?
As of March 31st the jewelry can be bought on Mateobijoux.com. IT is also found at Lounge in Miami and Rose Ark in LA.

What are your future goals, ventures?
I would like Mateo Bijoux to be found in 20 retailers worldwide, I would like to become a household name, have longevity, and establish Mateo as a brand.

I appreciate you taking your time out to speak with me, before you go, who is Mateo exactly?
(Smiles and laughs) Mateo is a unique individual who is success oriented and passionate in whatever he does.

Great conclusion.
Please visit Mateobijoux.com to view more of the line.

Words / Toyin Graham