All fashion is personal, but our attachment to jewelry is sentimental, just ask Kerry Washington. The actor, producer and entrepreneur is a passionate collector whose creative process is inextricably linked to the balls. “Part of the way I create a character is thinking about their jewelry,” Washington shared over the phone from Los Angeles. “Our relationship with jewelry is so intimate; we sleep there, that’s how we commemorate great moments. When people ask me what my favorite piece of jewelry is, I have to say my engagement ring and wedding ring because they have changed my life. In many ways, jewelry serves as an extension of who we are.
Washington’s interest in the category goes beyond the personal. Since 2020, she has channeled her expertise into the collections of the sustainable luxury brand Aurate. The latest, titled “Be the Lead”, is inspired by the cinema of the jazz era and the great ladies whose joie de vivre gave the 1920s its roaring reputation. “He might be the history nerd in me, but I had thought a lot about the last time the world faced dark and difficult times because of a virus and its aftermath. “Washington said. “In the 1920s, people started partying again; they wanted to bring back some of the glamor they had lost.
In his designs, Washington captures the exuberance of the era through diamond rings with geometric details and flapper-like chains adorned with golden fans. “We wanted that Art Deco vibe,” says Washington. “As we went through the shapes we could draw from, we kept coming back to them. There is something architectural about the style that gives its elegance an edge. This concept comes in pieces like the spectacular “Lead” earring accented with white topaz and the matching oversized hoops, which present an attractive mix of past and present.
However, the collection is not just a step backwards. Created from 100% recycled gold vermeil and ethically sourced diamonds, it responds to current fashion concerns. “We adhere very strictly to the Kimberley Process, which is so important when sourcing diamonds and gems,” Washington said, referring to the global commitment to remove conflict diamonds from the supply chain. , which started in 2000. “When most people think of recycling, its aluminum cans, not jewelry, but recycled gold is an incredible resource. You can reuse gold over and over without diminishing the quality or create environmental degradation Even pearls are cultivated with care and come from family farms with respect for the marine environment.
Aurate executives were part of the draw from Washington, which first met with founders Sophie Kahn and Bouchra Ezzahraoui as they researched companies to invest in or advise. An active start-up investor, Washington saw Aurate’s goal of democratizing fine jewelry as a laudable cause. “A lot of the time the companies I take focus on fairness,” she says. “As a kid from the Bronx who now works in Hollywood, I think everyone deserves to have beautiful things at an affordable price. I believed in business ethics, which is women-centered, sustainable and works to empower women in leadership roles. “
The dynamic women also played a role in the artistic perspective of the collection. Longtime fan of artist and civil rights activist Josephine Baker, Washington kept her in mind during the design process. “She embodies the spirit of this collection,” says Washington. “She was unstoppable, one of the first multi-cuts. She had her own makeup line, a hair care company. She sang, danced, produced and was a phenomenon professionally, but she was also a spy for the resistance in Europe during WWII and a badass! “
Baker’s journey from Saint-Louis vaudevillian to headlining the Folies Bergère and one of the most famous artists of all time is inspiring, but in Washington’s eyes such tenacity resides in all of us. With her designs arriving today on Aurate’s e-commerce store, she hopes women from all walks of life will be inspired to put themselves first. “A lot of our customers are women who buy jewelry for themselves, and I love that they find pieces that allow them to boldly travel the world,” she says. “I play the main role in [fictional] stories all the time, but becoming the leader in your life is different. You must be prepared to become the center of your story. No matter who you are or where you are from, everyone deserves this opportunity, and that is the purpose of this collection.