Los Angeles-based Anita Ko is redefining the world of fine jewellery with bold and edgy creations that have caught the eye of A-list celebrities including Cameron Diaz, Rachel Zoe and Victoria Beckham.
What inspired you to pursue a career in design? "I designed handbags after I finished studying art history at New York University. I wanted to see what it would be like to start off with something small and learn about the business. I'd always been drawn to jewellery and spent a lot of my free time making rings and necklaces for myself. I felt why not do what I love? I launched my line in 2006 from Los Angeles, where I am based."
How would you describe your designs? "I'm not thinking about what's missing [in the jewellery world]; I try to create jewellery I myself would want to wear. When I started my business I felt the jewellery being offered was classic, so I started making pieces that I thought were cool and luxurious. I think, because I'm Korean, I learned about quality and how important it is. I would much rather have a two-carat perfect diamond than a 20-carat stone of bad quality."
What inspires you? "I start with the stones and then I think about how I would like to wear them. I take inspiration from my environment so I don't design thinking about collections but collaborating the stones with a cool design. I try to create pieces that I hope will be worn 200 years from now."
How do you balance creativity with commerciality? "It's a fine balance but you must have both. You hope that whatever you create is received well commercially but if it isn't, you can't let it bother you. You just have to keep on creating. One of my most challenging pieces was my Arc de Triomphe ring. It's 95 per cent baguette diamonds. I kept scrapping it until I felt the [stones] looked like bricks."
How are you redefining the industry? "I do love vintage Cartier, Bulgari and David Webb but I feel I design jewellery that the women of today want to wear. The established houses created in a time when many pieces were worn on special occasions and purchased by men. This is the opposite of how I design. I want women to connect to their luxurious side and treat themselves with a beautiful piece that makes them feel special."
Anita Ko jewellery is available through net-a-porter.com.