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De Novo: Jewelry by Design

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I’ve never been the type of person to stick to one thing. I’ve always wanted to try everything! In terms of my career, I’ve been in hotel catering sales, a graphic designer, a magazine editor, a fashion boutique owner, a housewife and marketing consultant. When I dress up, sometimes I feel glam, sometimes I feel boho and sometimes I feel classic. I don’t wear a uniform. I can’t eat the same food everyday. I believe this is what bonds fellow gypsetter Stephanie and I together. We both enjoy trying many different things, from food, to fashion, to travel, to work (this blog is a testament to that!).

So I appreciate this eclectic quality in other people I meet as well. When I was invited to preview a new line of jewelry designed by our friend, Lifestyle Asia’s deputy editor, CNN correspondent and blogger Cheryl Tiu, of course I had to attend the De Novo Lifestyle Asia event to support her and also to ogle her beautiful collection.

A newcomer to the jewelry scene, De Novo Jewelry brilliantly tasked non-jewelry designers (sans one) to come up with their own collections for the brand. Aside from Cheryl, I was happy to find out other “designers” included good friend, Maureen Disini, who has successfully transformed herself from magazine editor to in-demand fashion designer as well as my cousin, the ultra-talented textile and visual artist Olivia D’Aboville. Other designers included texture artist and sculptor Leeroy New, furniture designer Jinggoy Buensuceso and jewelry designer Neil Felipp San Pedro.

La Colleczione Promessa in Lifestyle Asia

La Colleczione Promessa in Lifestyle Asia

I always believe that anyone who is creative can use their aesthetic and apply it anything else – including jewelry. I’ve asked my friends how they feel designing jewelry for the first time and what inspired their collection.

Maureen’s collection of wedding bands and engagement rings, La Collezione Promessa, celebrates Italian beauty and charm. “It felt natural to design a bridal line especially after I got engaged,” she says. “It was an exciting time for me because I got to design my dream rings. I chose rings because I love to wear them on a daily basis.”

Maureen and her muse, Camille Villar; La Colleczione Promessa

Maureen and her muse, Camille Villar; La Colleczione Promessa

Cheryl’s Global Collection gleaned inspiration her many travels abroad. “I was really honored to have been asked to come onboard and design my first jewelry collection. My family always tells me that I’m a “creative” person but I guess I’ve expressed this the most to the public in the form of the written word. I’m very excited because I always wondered how I could translate my travels into something tangible, and here I have my first jewelry collection inspired by my travels!” she says. She has several pieces in her collection that she considers her favorite. “I love The Fisherman’s Bastion diamond ring because my time as an exchange student in Budapest, Hungary was one of the most memorable times in my life. The ring was inspired by the spires and the fairy-take staircase of the Fisherman’s Bastion, thus the pointy and curvilinear silhouettes.”

“I also love The Three Stars and A Sun, which I have both as a bangle and neckpiece. It’s the only piece that doesn’t represent a landmark but rather our country as a whole. After Typhoon Yolanda/ Haiyan happened– the worst typhoon in the world ever– I was inspired by the hope that surged throughout our country despite what happened. The sun rising is a universal symbol of hope, and I wanted to make it more Filipino by incorporating the elements of the Philippine flag into it. So I took the sun and three stars in the Philippine flag and turned it into a piece of jewelry (it has 8 rays too, and the three stars are interlaced on each other on the core of the sun). I hope this piece of jewelry can continue to be that symbol of hope– that we can all wear to remind us, that whatever we go through in life, as the old adage says, hope always dies last.”

Cheryl Tiu; Global Collection

Cheryl Tiu; Global Collection

Olivia, whose organic artwork almost always depicts nature, such as sea creatures, dandelions or oceanic waves, offered the ethereal Crystal Dew Collection. As an artist, I asked her how the process of designing jewelry is different from designing artwork. “I always enjoy juggling between mediums and scales in my work, it feeds my creativity. So when I was asked to create a commercial high end jewelry collection, I was thrilled. I have created jewelry pieces before, but I would consider them more as wearable art since the pieces are not you’re usual jewelry type, they were made of nylon and fishnets,” says Olivia. 

Olivia D'Aboville; Crystal Dew Collection

Olivia D’Aboville; Crystal Dew Collection

A lover of the ocean, Olivia decided on her theme by centering in on the diamond. “Being deeply connected to the ocean and water in general, I thought to myself that the diamond could only represent nature’s most precious element: water,” she reveals. “I designed an organic-looking collection inspired by nature, I visualized the scenes at dawn during the cold season in Europe where you would find delicate water droplets on twigs, plants and flowers in the morning. Crystal Dew seemed like a poetic title to the collection. The lines of twigs are very beautiful and the way they are used in the collection enhanced the neckline and collar bone of women, parts that I find the most attractive.” 

We hope you too enjoy these lovely jewelry collections designed for De Novo by even lovelier ladies.

The Crystal Dew Collection in Lifestyle Asia

The Crystal Dew Collection in Lifestyle Asia


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The Author

"For mine is a generation that circles the globe and searches for something we haven't tried before. So never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite and never outstay your welcome.” - Alex Garland


We are two friends who were former magazine editors. Having moved onto other things, we both realized that the creative flow the publishing world used to offer us was missing from our lives. Armed with a common love of travel to the exotic and familiar, a penchant for the bohemian, an obsession with food and a lust for writing, we decided to collaborate our unique and fashionable journeys through life together in one passion project.

We are The Gypsetters.

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