By Ashley Davis
Reem Mobassaleh, the designer of R.Y.M. Jewelry, focuses on making fine jewelry functional and versatile.
Reem Mobassaleh, the designer of R.Y.M. Jewelry, focuses on making fine jewelry functional and versatile.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates--Reem Mobassaleh, the designer behind the brand-new line R.Y.M. Jewelry, might be an elegant and accomplished globe-trotter, but her mission is to make fine jewelry more wearable and accessible.

R.Y.M. Jewelry is intended to fill what Mobassaleh feels is a gap in the market--high-quality fine jewelry at affordable prices that women will wear over and over.

Not one to underachieve, the Dubai- and London-based designer, who holds a BA from Brown University and an MBA from Columbia University, has introduced three separate collections under the umbrella of her fledgling brand.

One, R.Y.M. Essentials, focuses on dainty stacking rings and studs and ear jackets bejeweled in bright gemstones, meant for mixing and matching.

Diamond Digits is R.Y.M. Jewelry’s take on personalization. Mobassaleh has assigned simple shapes, ranging from triangles to stars, to each numerical number. Customers can commemorate a date that is meaningful to them with these coded symbols, layering each shape across a bar necklace.

20160615 One-to-Watch-R.Y.M.-Jewelry-1This “tag” from R.Y.M. Jewelry is designed to be worn in multiple ways: as a ring, earring, pendant or on a bracelet. It is shown here in 18-karat yellow gold with blue and pink sapphires and white diamond pavé ($8,250) on an 18-karat yellow gold ring ($1,350).

Lastly, Purely Portmanteau features a “tag” with an Art Deco-esque design that can be worn in multiple ways. Each tag can be affixed to necklaces, bangles, rings or an earring for a truly versatile piece.

National Jeweler caught up with the R.Y.M. Jewelry designer after her debut to U.S. buyers and press as part of the Design Atelier at the Couture Show in Las Vegas.

National Jeweler: Tell me about your professional background. What brought you to jewelry design?
Reem Mobassaleh: Over the years, I’ve dabbled in handbag and furniture design.

The first sort of jewelry I ever made was eight or nine years ago and it grew into a hobby. When I would travel I would source stones and make personal souvenirs from my trips, whether it was gifts for friends or wedding gifts or baby presents. I really liked the personal aspect of jewelry, which is really important to me and I liked the meaning behind bespoke pieces.

I was working at an investment fund focused on computer micro-chip manufacturing; that was my day job. So I took my time before launching my own brand full-time.

NJ: What is the inspiration behind your collection?
RM: I design with three things in mind: [my jewelry] has to be aesthetically beautiful, it has to have something functional about it and there is the personalization aspect. Each piece must have its own design integrity, but I want it to also function in some way.

NJ: Where is your jewelry made?
RM: I have both French and Armenian producers.

NJ: What should retailers focus on, or what story should they tell, when showing your line to customers?
RM: Certainly the functionality and personalization. I want customers to be able to add to the personalized pieces over time.

NJ: How much inventory must a retailer invest in to carry your brand?
RM: It depends on the collection. For either the Diamond Digits or R.Y.M. Essentials collection it’s a minimum order of $7,000, and for the Purely Portmanteau collection it’s a minimum order of $8,000.

NJ: What retailers are currently carrying your line?
RM: We just launched this year and presented to buyers at Couture. Our e-commerce site will go live soon and the collection will be available there. I hope to have some outside retail accounts confirmed by the end of the month.

NJ: What is the price range of your pieces?
RM: (They are) $250 to $17,000 retail. The average piece is about $1,500.

NJ: At which trade shows do you exhibit or are you planning to exhibit?
RM: We just exhibited at the Couture show; I hope to be back next year. We’re also involved in Fashion Forward Dubai.

NJ: What are your plans for upcoming collections?
RM: I’m working on a collection called Au Beau Ciel, pulling from different astrological traditions. I also have another in the works that, similar to the Diamond Digit Collection, uses symbolism to create a subtle and elevated approach to personalization.

NJ: Complete this sentence: “People would be surprised to learn that I …”
RM: Have no formal background in design. My background is in technology, which I think has informed my designs.

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