Matthew Harris grew up in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and remembers just one critical family rule he was explained to as a baby: “Make guaranteed you constantly have very good jewellery — since if a little something goes incorrect, you provide it.” Harris took that to heart and wore a tennis bracelet on his wrist and a diamond cross on his neck for as extended as he could remember — having gold jewelry was a custom of the Harris household. Spoiler inform: He did mature up to provide jewelry, developing his personal fine-jewellery brand name, Mateo.
But when Harris started out earning jewellery in 2009, it was out of a need to have. “When I looked for men’s jewelry, it was only unsightly cranium-on the lookout parts, which I refused to don,” Harris states. So he headed to the jewelry district in New York Metropolis and taught himself how to put items with each other. He lived in New York right up until 2019, but it “stressed him out.” Now, Harris lives in Lisbon, Portugal, where he’s been for two a long time. “I truly feel at relieve when I’m below,” Harris suggests. And as a designer, a lifestyle of ease would make a difference. Getting a designer was not often in the playing cards for him however. “I did not go to a extravagant manner college. It is been innate expertise and a fall of luck,” he claims. Inside a calendar year, another person from Rihanna’s team pulled a piece for her to don, a 14-karat gold collar necklace. Individuals started off inquiring him for a full collection, a women’s 1. So he imagined, Why not? By 2015, he produced an overall women’s collection employing one special piece: a gold bar. Now, Mateo features 14-karat gold necklaces, rings adorned with diamonds, and exceptional pearlescent pieces. Under, Harris talks Mateo, expenditure jewelry, and drawing inspiration from almost everywhere.
What was the inspiration driving your first piece?
I moved to Bed-Stuy in 2009, and when we were being going, 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 acquired a shit ton of screws and nails. I picked up a toolbox, way too, and arrived household and explained to myself I was going to transform it into jewelry. That’s how the whole idea arrived to lifestyle.
Now that you have expanded into far more elevated parts and women’s as nicely, where else do you attract inspiration from?
I made use of to love New York, but New York stresses me the hell out. It does, even so, inspire me a lot. I was just there final week, and I saw a girl pump onto the practice quite nonchalantly on the lookout badass. I pictured what items would seem excellent on her. That’s how I get inspired. I never have to have to be in a certain atmosphere. I usually wander with a tiny notebook and I’m scribbling down notes. My property, Jamaica, reveals up in my do the job a lot, in my very own own way. I believe when persons assume of Jamaica they anticipate to see bamboo earrings or reggae-coloured jewelry, but my cultural impact is a large amount far more delicate. A good deal of my parts are yellow gold, and we use a large amount of malachite, a daring inexperienced gemstone — each colors are a aspect of the Jamaican flag. There’s also a large amount of black onyx in my work, which signifies the men and women and energy of the country.
What can make a fantastic piece of jewelry and adds that elevated character to it?
For me, what tends to make a terrific necklace, bracelet, or any piece of jewellery is wearability. If you’re shelling out money on jewellery, you need to have to be in a position to dress in it all the time and get your money’s truly worth. A good piece has to generally be timeless, so if I make one thing and you just can’t use it often, it’s not in our collection. We have some items that are a little bit extravagant, but at the conclude of the working day, there is a simplicity about them that permits you to use them all the time.
What is one particular piece of jewellery every person need to start with?
Some thing with an first — it’s present day and own.
You also style and design truly chic baggage. How does your inspiration differ when developing luggage as opposed to jewelry?
I’m not a standard purse designer. I’m not launching a new bag every season, so if I’m going to make a purse, it has to either be timeless or have some impressive shape about it. This is why we haven’t even launched a new bag not too long ago. I’m not hoping to insert yet another bag on the market.