Crush Of The Week

Meet Maïssa Zard, founder of Loyal.e | The jewelry brand putting self-expression and eco-responsibility at the forefront

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“Passionate about jewelry since forever, I felt I sometimes had to compromise between what attracted me and my values. As an answer to an opaque industry and traditional distant luxury, I founded Loyal.e to offer a responsible, warm and more inclusive luxury (…) At Loyal.e, beauty expresses itself through transgression, elegance through originality, creativity through liberty.” These words from Maïssa Zard, founder of Loyal.e, incite curiosity and spark interest in a competitive industry where creativity alone doesn’t suffice anymore.
More than just a jewelry brand, Loyal.e believe in a new kind of luxury, with authenticity and responsibility at its core. Insisting on the notions of “feminism, love in all its forms and self-expression beyond conventions”, Loyal.e also operates an eco-conscious production, working with certified eco-responsible raw materials. We talked with Zard to know everything about the brand.

By Cynthia Jreige

Hello Maissa, can you tell us a bit about you and where does your passion for jewelry come from?

I’ve always been passionate about art and design, and my fascination with jewelry stems back to those times I would go through my grandmother’s jewelry boxes. I remember always being dazzled by the beauty of the pieces I found in them and the stories they inherently carried within them.
Every piece of jewelry has a story to tell and, unlike fashion, jewelry carries forward the amazing memories of its wearer from one generation to another. It’s really the only object you carry with you, time and again, through the years – it never really loses its appeal. And every time you look down at a piece of jewelry, you are reminded of the special moments and occasions in life in which you wore it; that’s the beauty of jewelry. I believe that jewelry allows you to express your individuality and, with the right piece, you can radiate your emotions and confidence in a subtle, eloquent manner.

How did you launch your brand and what have been the most rewarding moments so far? And the challenges?

Jewelry has always been my passion and I was tired of having to compromise between beauty and ethics. When I discovered lab grown diamonds and the incredibly ethical, sustainable and accessible proposition they offer, I decided to create a brand that brought together my love for jewelry with the values I hold dearest.
Loyal.e was created in response to an opaque jewelry industry and a distant traditional luxury, presenting a new, conscious and empowered stance on what luxury should be today; authentic, responsible, liberated.
The most rewarding part is seeing my clients wearing our creations. Every piece of jewelry has a story to tell, and every time you look down at it, you are reminded of the special moments and occasions in life that is symbolizes. It is such an honor to see our clients marking these special moments that they will cherish forever with our creations.
I would say the most challenging part is getting your vision, idea, message and story eloquently across to connect and resonate with people. With jewelry design, it’s not just about creating something that is visually appealing, but it’s about channeling the emotion behind the piece that will make people fall in love with it.

Loyal.e directly sources its stones from state-of-the-art diamond laboratories; can you tell us more about that?

A diamond is, without a doubt, the most celebrated precious stone, with an incomparable brilliance that reflects and refracts light like no other. Every diamond is unique and eternal, reflecting the essence of its wearer.
Lab grown diamonds offer an ethical and sustainable alternative, without compromising on quality or beauty. The decision to work with lab grown diamonds was a no-brainer for me.
Our lab grown diamonds are carefully selected according to the highest quality standards following the traditional 4Cs scale: carat, colour, clarity, and cut.
All our diamonds have a colour rating of D, E, or F (colourless), a clarity rating of IF, VVS, or VS, and an Ideal or Excellent cut (grading table below).
We deliver an IGI (International Gemological Institute) certificate for all diamonds of 0.5 carat or above.

Each Loyal.e Paris lab grown diamond is certified climate neutral by SCS Global Services*, and therefore carbon neutral, which is of course not the case for all diamonds on the market. This certification is important for Loyal.e because it is part of a global approach to responsibility which is integrated throughout our value chain. We believe it is our duty to protect our planet’s precious resources whilst offering the highest quality to our clients.
Contrary to the widespread practices of the mining industry, our sourcing is direct, with no middlemen involved. This allows us to secure the highest quality of diamonds at the right price.
When choosing a Loyal.e lab grown diamond, you are assured to get the finest quality of diamonds, grown ethically and sustainably, with full traceability. Your diamond shines without any compromise.

*SCS is an independent and globally recognised certification body which, since 1984, has contributed to the development of environmental standards in all sectors of industry. In order to be certified climate neutral by SCS, the diamond lab commits to eliminating or offsetting its entire climate footprint. This requirement goes further than the other standards because it includes all greenhouse gas emissions and climate pollutants (such as carbon but also methane, for example).

Who is the Loyal.e customer? Do you have anyone in mind you’d dream to see wearing your pieces?

Every person who wants to express their style and individuality!
Each Loyal.e collection has its own story, energy and style. With each collection, I try to tell a new story, one that is inspired by the people around me, but that I hope will, in turn, inspire them and empower them. I imagine the people who will wear the Loyal.e creations, how they could wear them, but also what each of the pieces will bring them. Each of our creations carries meaning and values.
For example, with Intrépide, I wanted to celebrate all women. I wanted to take on the challenge of reinventing that timeless classic, the solitaire diamond. A solitaire that a woman could gift herself. A ring that will be by your side every day, reminding you of your strength, audacity, poise, and elegance. There are endless reasons to celebrate yourself with a diamond. Personal or professional achievements, successful and unsuccessful attempts, friendship, love.
With Toi+Moi, I wanted to tell a new love story.
Perpétuel.le is all about freedom, creative freedom. I wanted a collection that is free and spontaneous, that represents energy and movement. It’s a call to express who you really are, and dream about who you will become.
Loyal.e’s unique designs perfectly embody a style of edge and timeless elegance, to express every person’s individuality.
So whether you have a minimalist, classic or avant-garde style; whether you wear your jewelry as a centrepiece or a subtle wink, our fine jewelry reveals your inner elegance!
It is already a dream come true to me to see any women wearing my pieces, specially the Intrépide ring which is so dear to my heart!

If you had to only wear one piece of jewelry forever, which would it be and why?

My Intrépide Stack without a doubt.
A beautiful piece of jewelry is the one that expresses your individuality and makes you radiate self-confidence. That is how I feel when I wear my Intrépide ring. Unique and empowered.
This design is so unique, original and timeless; elegant yet empowering all at once. I love playing with my stacks, and I always curate them based on my mood and style on any given day. The personalisation aspect of this collection is really unique as it offers a multitude of styles.
I created the Intrépide ring as an ode to all women out there. Fearless, empowered, determined, daring, capable of going all the way to achieve their goals.
This ring is a strong statement, a ring that will be by your side every day, reminding every woman who wears it of her strength, audacity, poise, and elegance.

“At Loyal.e, every creation is hand-made within our atelier in the heart of Paris, safeguarding Parisian craftsmanship excellence.”

As an Arab woman entrepreneur, what would be your advice for the other women out there, especially in our region who want to launch their brand?

If you believe in yourself and your ideas, you should fight for them.
And, surround yourself by the right people. I personally would not have been able to launch Loyal.e and be where we are today without the help and support, whether personal or professional, of so many people around me that guided throughout this journey.

You were born in Beirut and live in Paris – does this cultural mix inspire you to create?

Yes of course. Paris is like a precious gemstone, and so is Beirut. We are all the result of our culture and heritage, I wanted to merge these two cities, these two cultures and values, into one. Loyal.e stands out for its transgressive beauty, playful elegance and creative freedom, and that is thanks to this cultural mix.
Also, Paris is worldly famous for its fine jewellery savoir-faire. Today, very few jewelry houses, including those of Parisian origin, have maintained their manufacture in Paris – because of the high costs that are associated with it. At Loyal.e, every creation is hand-made within our atelier in the heart of Paris, safeguarding Parisian craftsmanship excellence.
To choose Parisian handmade jewellery is a guarantee of quality that not only carries forward some of the most revered traditions in the fine jewellery industry, but also encapsulates the city’s rich history and cultural heritage.

Where can we find your pieces?

Loyal.e currently has a showroom in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris where people can book an appointment for a private meeting to look, try and buy the pieces (we offer also tax-free).
All of our creations are available on our website, we ship internationally!
A selection of our creations are also available at: Mad Lords Rue Saint Honoré in Paris, Farfetch and Ounass (with exclusive pieces for the Middle East on Ounass)!
We also take appointments through video call with some clients that are not in Paris and want to get some help and advice from our diamond experts.

Where do you wish to take Loyal.e? Any goals in particular you’d like to share?

Loyal.e has seen and is seeing great success in France and in Europe, and I cannot wait for it to blossom the same way in the Middle East!
We also just launched our latest collection Ride & Love, and I am so thrilled to witness the excitement clients are having around it!

Discover more about the Loyal.e universe and shop it here!