Usually, jewelry collaborations cross disciplines — like Stephen Webster’s designs with the artist Tracey Emin — but the new one between Moussaieff and the Taiwanese designer Anna Hu crosses generations, regions and aesthetics.
“I’ve got some important stones, and she has got some good ideas — new, fresh ideas,” said Alisa Moussaieff, the 91-year-old owner and chairwoman of the family business, which has been buying and selling gems since the 19th century. (The company has worked with designers in the past, but only under the house’s name.)
Called Moussaieff by Anna Hu, the eight-piece collection features a diamond butterfly ring that can be worn five ways, including with the central 8.22-carat stone on its own (the choice of Maria Bakalova, a star of the “Borat” sequel, who wore it at the Oscars last month).
There is also an Art Deco-inspired titanium necklace, with a 102.81-carat brown diamond, in a golden yellow hue that was created with a mix of chemicals. “Usually, this technology is only in the very high-tech racing cars, you know, like Ferrari or Lamborghini, and we’re trying to apply that into jewelry,” Ms. Hu, 44, said from her home in Taipei.
The women had neighboring booths at the 2017 La Biennale Paris, the antiques, art and collectibles fair. But it wasn’t until last fall, when Ms. Hu was invited to London to meet Mrs. Moussaieff, that they agreed to work together. “I made myself show up pretty fast — in a week,” Ms. Hu said. “She opened up this conversation, and I nodded my head, yes, from beginning to end.” Since then, they have spoken daily by phone.
Prices for the one-of-a-kind pieces, which were made in Ms. Hu’s Paris workshops, are available on request. The collection, along with about 25 Moussaieff designs, was introduced Thursday at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Taipei, and there are plans for it to travel to Beijing and Shanghai in June. Any unsold jewels would then go to Moussaieff’s New Bond Street shop in London or its Hong Kong showroom.
Thomas Chauvet, head of luxury goods equity research at Citigroup, viewed the collaboration as a canny move by Moussaieff. “With the pandemic, 95 percent of the spending by Chinese is now done domestically,” he said. “And that’s also why Moussaieff perhaps considered an Asian designer — to have the opportunity, obviously, to accelerate the brand’s visibility in China.”
Moussaieff, which generally has an older clientele, will also benefit from Ms. Hu’s understanding of younger tastes, according to the diamond industry analyst Edahn Golan. “Anna’s in her 40s, so she is catering to her age group, which is one of the premier drivers of demand for high-end jewelry today,” especially in China, said Mr. Golan, who is based in Tel Aviv.
He also said that the collaboration showed that Moussaieff, which has relied on personal relationships with royalty, was establishing itself “more as a retailer and seeking a more popular approach, but still remaining high- end.”
Ms. Hu, who has published two books of her creations, said she planned to dedicate the next one to the collaboration. “Usually, I have been devoted to work on the technical innovation,” she said. “For example, how to make the organic shape very soft, but I didn’t have the opportunity to work with such exceptional stones — so, a perfect duet.”