There’s no shortage of fine jewelry brands on the market. But what sets self-taught designer Malyia McNaughton’s brand, Made by Malyia, apart is the Brooklyn-based creative’s belief that every piece should be as uniques as each of her Jewels, her affectionate nickname for her loyal fans.
A former fashion buyer, McNaughton never intended to design. But in 2013, her fruitless search for the perfect body chain led her to make her own. Queries from friends and followers about where they could by one let her start an Etsy shop, and thus her brand was born. Today, her instantly recognizable pieces have been seen on everyone from celebrity stylist Law Roach at the 2021 Met Gala to Issa Rae on her hit HBO show Insecure.
Thanks to retail background, McNaughton understood the importance creating a strong brand DNA. “I really wanted something that would be an anchor piece and that people could immediately identify as my own,” she tells BAZAAR.com. “I love Elsa Peretti’s bone bracelet and that no matter where you go in the world if you see it, you know that it’s her piece. I wanted to create something that would be identifiable for me as a designer.”
Among her most recognizable pieces are the Progression Hoops—a statement-making pair of earrings composed of spiraled discs. “This piece is very directly inspired by nature,” she explains. “It was a combination of the solar system and the way that they get progressively smaller. I also wanted a piece to represent the growing power that we all possess within us.”
With a substantial gold and sterling silver core collection under her belt, McNaughton is now working with diamonds. During New York Fashion Week, she announced her new partnership with the Natural Diamond Council (NDC) on an Only Natural Diamonds capsule collection.
“What excites me most about this partnership is that they really trusted me to challenge myself as a designer,” McNaughton says about working with the NDC. “When they approached me, they had an overview of what they wanted the collection to encompass, but I appreciated that I was still able to have my vision be seen and draw from elements that I’m inspired by. As a designer, you want to be challenged.”
The new lineup offers something for every Jewel from a unique take on the timeless gold signet ring, as well as a pair of concave diamond hoops, each featuring a single stone hanging inside and an encrusted sun pendant.
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