Matthew Harris grew up in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and remembers a person essential relatives rule he was told as a kid: “Make absolutely sure you generally have good jewelry — for the reason that if some thing goes improper, you offer it.” Harris took that to heart and wore a tennis bracelet on his wrist and a diamond cross on his neck for as very long as he could keep in mind — obtaining gold jewelry was a custom of the Harris loved ones. Spoiler notify: He did increase up to sell jewellery, making his possess fantastic-jewelry manufacturer, Mateo.
But when Harris began building jewellery in 2009, it was out of a will need. “When I appeared for men’s jewelry, it was only unappealing cranium-on the lookout items, which I refused to dress in,” Harris claims. So he headed to the jewellery district in New York City and taught himself how to place items together. He lived in New York right up until 2019, but it “stressed him out.” Now, Harris life in Lisbon, Portugal, wherever he’s been for two years. “I really feel at simplicity when I’m in this article,” Harris says. And as a designer, a everyday living of simplicity can make a difference. Starting to be a designer was not usually in the cards for him nevertheless. “I didn’t go to a extravagant trend school. It is been innate talent and a drop of luck,” he says. Inside a 12 months, an individual from Rihanna’s crew pulled a piece for her to use, a 14-karat gold collar necklace. People started out inquiring him for a complete assortment, a women’s one. So he assumed, Why not? By 2015, he established an total women’s assortment making use of a single unique piece: a gold bar. These days, Mateo functions 14-karat gold necklaces, rings adorned with diamonds, and distinctive pearlescent parts. Under, Harris talks Mateo, investment decision jewelry, and drawing inspiration from everywhere you go.
What was the inspiration powering your initial piece?
I moved to Bed-Stuy in 2009, and when we had been transferring, a screw fell out the wall, and I was like, Why isn’t a screw a necklace or a bracelet? I went to Dwelling Depot and bought a shit ton of screws and nails. I picked up a toolbox, much too, and arrived residence and explained to myself I was likely to rework it into jewellery. Which is how the complete notion came to everyday living.
Now that you have expanded into more elevated pieces and women’s as very well, wherever else do you attract inspiration from?
I made use of to enjoy New York, but New York stresses me the hell out. It does, nevertheless, inspire me a lot. I was just there past 7 days, and I observed a woman pump on to the teach quite nonchalantly searching badass. I pictured what items would appear good on her. That is how I get motivated. I really do not require to be in a individual environment. I normally wander with a little notebook and I’m scribbling down notes. My household, Jamaica, exhibits up in my perform a large amount, in my individual particular way. I believe when men and women believe of Jamaica they count on to see bamboo earrings or reggae-coloured jewelry, but my cultural influence is a large amount extra refined. A large amount of my parts are yellow gold, and we use a good deal of malachite, a daring green gemstone — each shades are a component of the Jamaican flag. There’s also a lot of black onyx in my work, which represents the people and power of the country.
What would make a fantastic piece of jewellery and provides that elevated character to it?
For me, what would make a good necklace, bracelet, or any piece of jewellery is wearability. If you are investing funds on jewellery, you need to have to be in a position to use it all the time and get your money’s worthy of. A terrific piece has to normally be timeless, so if I make one thing and you simply cannot wear it often, it is not in our collection. We have some pieces that are a bit extravagant, but at the finish of the day, there is a simplicity about them that lets you to put on them all the time.
What is one piece of jewellery anyone need to begin with?
Something with an first — it is modern day and personal.
You also design truly stylish bags. How does your inspiration differ when designing luggage as opposed to jewellery?
I’m not a normal handbag designer. I’m not launching a new bag every year, so if I’m heading to make a handbag, it has to either be timeless or have some modern form about it. This is why we have not even introduced a new bag not long ago. I’m not attempting to increase a different bag on the marketplace.