Stark and bold: ‘Sampaloc,’ ‘rosita’ and mobile-inspired jewelry


Jewelry designer Mel Cuevas wearing some of her pieces

Former magazine editor and lifestyle columnist turned jewelry designer Melanie Cuevas has recently come out with two new collections for Cova that bear her mien: clean and minimalist but edgy.

Since venturing into jewelry design four years ago, she has maintained this aesthetic, which has caught the eye of like-minded individuals.

“When I design, I don’t follow trends, although I do try to come out with new collections twice yearly,” Cuevas told Lifestyle. “It can take a while because I’m very particular with how the pieces are put together. Prototypes have to be perfected before I’m satisfied.”

For the Modern Heritage collection, she looked at antique Filipino jewelry and came up with her own renditions of the traditional sampaloc (pod-like) and rosita (floral) designs.

“The original designs tended to be larger and more colorful, so I scaled them down and rendered them in white sapphires with silver settings dipped in gold.”

Many of her pieces are available as earrings because her clients favor how they help complete a look.

Rosita slider with white sapphires dipped in black gold

“One of my regular clients said she wanted to get more ear piercings so she could layer on more pieces,” Cuevas said.

That was music to her ears, because when she first started Cova (a variation of her last name in Catalan), she wanted clients to layer her designs with jewelry they already owned. “In a way, there is a sense of fun and playfulness with my designs,” she said.

Cuevas has also come out with Kinetic, a limited range of chandelier earrings inspired by American sculptor Alexander Calder, originator of the mobile.

Not one to shy away from the dark, she also used silver dipped in black gold; smoky topazes provide muted glimmer.

Seen as a whole, her pieces are definitely stark and elegant. It’s jewelry designed to make a bold statement.

Cova is available at Cura V, Power Plant Mall, Rockwell, and at Firma, Greenbelt 3 mall. Private commissions are done by special request.

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Modern Heritage Tamarind bar ring

Tamarind slider earring

Signet ring with smoky topaz

Modern Heritage Quatrefoil slider earring

Kinetic chandelier earrings with white sapphires

Figura earrings remind one of playful stick figures.

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