This Quirky Jewellery Collection Imagines Burgers, Spaghetti, and Cutlery Into Dazzling Accessories
An original if ever, Nadine Ghosn’s work celebrates the ordinary.
BY P.Ramakrishnan  |  May 7, 2024
5 Minute Read

It’s a good-looking burger; the bun is perfectly round and fluffy, the phalanx of sesame seeds on top are crunchy, the lettuce looks crisp, and the slice of tomato succulent and pulpy. Delicious, and yet distinctly inedible—the bun’s made of gold, the seeds are diamonds, the tomatoes rubies, and the tsavorite lettuce should not be eaten under any circumstance.

“My three bestsellers are my veggie burger, my pencil, and my bike chain. My surprise bestseller was definitely the fork-and-spoon combo that sold the moment it launched,” says jeweller—not chef or mechanic—Nadine Ghosn, who offers something in the jewellery department that we rarely encounter: an original drop with a dollop of humour.

In fact, there’s a sense of joy permeating most of the work produced by this young Lebanese designer that’s caught the eye of notable names across the board, be it Karl Lagerfeld or Beyoncé. In town during the thick of Art Basel Hong Kong for a trunk show, many found respite from paint and canvas at the designer’s pop-up at The Upper House to peruse and shop her bejewelled accessories—small, wearable sculptures made of precious metal and stone. “It is nice to see clients who have different preferences as well as some clients that begin with one and follow suit; the best feeling is to see clients make a bold decision to buy their first piece and quickly come back for another piece, as my pieces spark dialogue.”

The Bling Block Ring.

How can it not—the standout pieces beg for conversation, like that Lego-shaped, diamond-encrusted piece that retails for roughly HK$219,190, for example. “More and more men are choosing to accessorise with jewellery and keep their watch company. I have been very fortunate my clients are really kind; both men and women are quite understanding and… opinionated,” the designer says in conversation with Robb Report Hong Kong.

In a city that prefers the security and comfort of conventional designer brands or traditional family jewellers, to be a fresh-faced new designer in the mix comes with its own challenges. “I think big brands are part of a very different ball game; the smaller [and] freer the brand, the more the creativity can unfold and be at the forefront of creation. I find big brands quite stale at the moment, offering constant reinterpretations instead of novelty.”

Over time, as the brand gained a reputation for its novel take and tongue-in-chic individuality, Ghosn found among her discerning clientele an openness to trying something new. When it comes to who wears her brand, the answer comes swiftly, “Empowered tastemakers who are comfortable being different while offering a fresh perspective! I would hope that innate sense of joy exists in all my pieces, and I try to rekindle our inner children—the purity, curiosity, and simple humanity that exists within and gets stifled for most as we grow older.”

A pencil bracelet from the Too Cool For School collection.

See that bent pencil studded with diamonds, the burger-and-fries cufflinks, the earring which simply reads “shut” with an arrow pointed up—there’s an overriding tone to the collection that says, “Life is short, have a little fun.” Eschewing trends and fads to focus on her own themes and collection, Ghosn’s sails don’t sway or bend according to what’s in vogue each season. “I try to stay quite isolated to not absorb my surroundings, instead to focus on the theme or collection I am building out. I have a weakness for what used to be deemed as the ugly ducklings, the diamonds with unexpected non-white hues. My favourite are natural olive and peachy diamonds. I love 18-carat rose gold—that hue is my favourite.” In her collections, you can see a pop of colour playfully interjected throughout, made through “carefully cutting different semi-precious stones” and balancing them together. 

Even with this whimsical approach, it’s not all fun and games—jewellery is serious business. From a humble little gem to five-figure accessory, this is not for the faint of heart nor faint of wallet. Ghoshn’s work has been worn by celebrities of note, and she’s repeatedly collaborated with a few as well. Working with fame comes with its own minefield and challenges, but she has managed to sidestep them with grace. “Karl Lagerfeld, Nigo, and Little Yachty have all been extremely relaxed and easy to work with,” she says. “They have a strong opinion, but delegate the creation to me. I would say the only pressure is to get it to them sooner. I think they are used to getting things to the highest level of service.”

Ghosn’s latest collection—Youtensils—delivers the tongue-in-chic vibe her fanbase loves to touch on. She says that “the idea behind it is to celebrate the hidden heroes we come across every day—the spoon, the fork, chopsticks—and the ‘you’ in the title gives freedom to make it your own, with clients choosing to create their own customised pieces, [such as a] fork with spaghetti and caviar. Food brings us together, utensils span across cultures, [and] this collection is about celebrating the ordinary and making it extraordinary.”

As fun as it sounds, the finesse and savvy it takes to pull it all together comes from experience, as there is a “technical difficulty of creating a shape that sits well on the wrist, [plus] the fact that every order has its own technical obstacles—for example, the spoon bracelet with 12 carats of same-coloured brown diamonds. I am very likely continuing to move in the direction of everyday objects that touches on our childhood nostalgia.”

As much as we’ve been ingrained with the idea of jewellery as investment, most people don’t, in fact, purchase jewellery as a safety net. As Ghoshn succinctly concludes, “I love the emotional attachment existing in jewellery as mementos of moments, people, and life chapters. I also loved how jewellery was a marker of our time, capturing the zeitgeist.”

All images courtesy of Nadine Ghosn.