The collective pause from the world led to the contemplation of the bigger picture.
“My sleepless nights were greeted by a sight of the moon breaking across the muted New York skyline as the still hours passed,” she said.
“At a time of great isolation, I found great comfort in the fact that this celestial body connects every being on our planet, and as such reminded me of something we all too often tend to forget: our unity.”
El Khalil started to imagine her latest collection, “Conversations with the Moon”, but she didn’t start working on it right away.
His workshop in his family’s native Lebanon was closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, and El Khalil took the opportunity to put his energy into various charitable initiatives.
After the massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon in August 2020 that killed over 200 people and devastated the city, she organized a fundraiser alongside other artists and creatives connected to the country.
“The break was important,” she said reflectively. “It was a time to be present with others in the face of adversity and also with oneself in the face of uncertainty.”
As restrictions eased in El Khalil’s New York City, she began to turn “Conversations with the Moon” into a tangible reality.
She calls it the “highlight” of the past two unpredictable years, filled with “the love and inspiration I’ve gathered along the way.”
The collection is by turns ethereal, daring and festive. Geometric shapes and sharp angles are El Khalil’s signature, while chandelier earrings are an exuberant and festive addition to the designer’s key motifs.
If cocktail-ready jewelry is representative of coming alive, then simplistic pendants and rings featuring specimens of raw gemstones like dioptase, spinel and opal are representative of inward-looking and connecting with its universal essence, just as El Khalil did at the start of the pandemic.
“Conversations with the Moon” is a collection centered on exquisite gemstones, which El Khalil chose to reflect “the colors, textures and luminosity of the moon”.
It features apatite, which El Khalil described as the reflection of the moon on water at night; morganite, a reference to the color of rare “pink moons”; chalcedony, similar to the dark side of the moon; matte gray jade, similar to the surface of the moon in shadow; tourmaline is akin to “moonlight reflecting the glass buildings of New York;” and faceted topaz to represent the moon when it is at its brightest and brightest.
The “Topaz Crest Ring” was a particular design feat in the collection.
El Khalil designed the size of the stone to optimize its light reflection, she explained. It is faceted to have two main planes, “imitating a flat briolette”. The facets are long and diamond-shaped, and the stone is set in rose gold, with no prongs.
“The idea was that the topaz, representative of moonlight, would float above the diamonds the way the moonlight reflects and illuminates the sea crest. The gold was meticulously and skillfully hand carved to create this effect.
The pieces are set in repurposed 18k gold with diamond accents throughout.
“Conversations with the Moon” just launched at Moda Operandi, Roseark and June Simmons.
The collection sells for between $1,200 and $21,000.