Fashion / Style

A Paris Partnership Blossoms Into a New Type of Jewelry

Eco-Friendly Baubles Bring a Conscience to Luxury

BY Karlie Morris // 05.25.16

With resumes that list Harry Winston, Boucheron, Fabergé and Donna Karan’s new Urban Zen collection, jewelry designers Mark Kroeker and Isabel Encinias have created their fair share of beautifully unique couture pieces.

The duo met in Paris, nearly two decades ago, and bonded over a love of fashion and travel. They recently launched their own jewelry label, Tejen, which merges the worlds of luxury and sustainability. (Tejen refers to an ancient Egyptian obelisk that is believed to eliminate negative energy.)

We caught up with the designers to chat about the significance of their eco-conscious pieces, handmade in the French region of La Lorraine and available exclusively in Dallas at Grange Hall.

What were the challenges of launching a sustainable fine-jewelry brand?
We knew it would be challenging to create a conscious luxury brand. First, we vetted and sourced the best-quality sustainable materials and affiliations to provide the level of product we demand. Second, we had to ensure supply-chain traceability. We aligned ourselves with one of France’s top ateliers, one that has developed a program of traceability, which guarantees our gold is 100 percent first-cast ethical gold.

How do you mix the latest trends but still keep the eco approach?
Some may think an eco approach is a trend. For Tejen, it’s a necessity. A modern luxury brand must embrace sustainability. Our design philosophy, “ancient/modern,” focuses on the way we work on a piece, a collection — we aspire to reach that perfect balance, an inherent timelessness that will inspire our clients now and in the future. Ultimately, we see these pieces passed from generation to generation.

How does your love of travel inspire your pieces and collections?
We have spent most of our lives traveling the world. As children and adults, these travels have informed everything we do as designers. The culture, food, art, history and craft of the world are a never-ending source of inspiration to us.

What is the most memorable piece you have created?
Our current favorite is the Diamond Capstone Arc Earrings. They address so many of our aspirations in one piece — the juxtaposition of ancient/modern, minimalism, proportion and our signature capstone setting, which encases five diamonds in gold, creating the illusion of a diamond in a cage.

How do you define beauty?
Self-confidence, individual style and feeling good about the choices we make, the things we put on and in our bodies and what we choose to surround ourselves with. Tejen’s beauty comes not only from its aesthetic or ornamentation but also from the way it is sustainably and ethically made. it is our challenge to create beautiful and desirable luxury products made in a meaningful way, embellishing the world we live in, responsibly.

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