In conversation withAnita Ko
Since 2006, Anita Ko has been designing fine jewelry infused with the Los Angeles sun. The easy, bohemian glamour of the look she created has come to define Southern Californian luxury. Classic tennis necklaces and diamond huggie hoops are designed to take the wearer from office to beach and on to a restaurant, while her emblematic diamond-encrusted Safety Pin earrings give even the most elegant of looks a little rebel charm.
But she is best known for her contemporary classics, those easy pieces that look equally at home with a sweater and jeans as they do with an evening gown. Through the now-iconic Palm Leaf motif, she made the baguette diamond her own, sketching out the curves of palm fronds waving in the breeze with the straight lines of a geometric cut. Meanwhile, the sapphire, emerald, and ruby versions of her Evil Eye bracelet prove that colored gemstones can have a go-with-everything appeal.
She's on speed-dial for some of Hollywood's best-known stylists and her jewelry is regularly worn on the red carpet. But whether she is working on a bespoke commission or designing for her core collection, ultimately Anita Ko creates jewelry for herself and the women around her: those vibrant, multi-faceted women living modern lives, who want to feel special, even in the everyday. We spoke to Anita about how she creates her modern classics, why she is led by the stones themselves, and delved into her jewelry style.
What do you think makes a classic piece of jewelry?
A classic piece of jewelry is something that can be worn to almost any occasion, jewelry that looks great when a woman is getting dressed in the morning and then goes straight out to dinner at night. Something you see yourself loving and wearing forever.
What are the biggest inspirations for your work?
I’m always inspired by my never-ending search for amazing diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and all gemstones that are of high quality, with a beautiful life. These stones inspire their settings and the designs that will ultimately be worn by my clients.
What are your jewelry classics? Personally speaking, what do you never take off?
My Evil Eye Bracelet, my Safety Pin Earring, my Graduated Hepburn diamond necklace, diamond coil pinky ring, and my custom-made talisman with a portrait of my french bulldog.
“ I always think about what I would want to wear and if it’s something I would personally buy and invest in. “
You are a favorite of celebrities. Who wears your jewelry the best?
Rosie Huntington Whitely, Hailey Bieber, Charlize Theron, Amber Valletta, and Michelle Obama all wear my jewelry beautifully!
How do you strike a balance between keeping pieces classic yet making sure they are thoroughly modern?
I always think about what I would want to wear and if it’s something I would personally buy and invest in. Modern means 'of the moment', and I think I naturally design what we women want to wear.
What is your favorite upcoming jewelry trend?
Yellow gold mixed with emeralds, and plain yellow gold statement pieces.
Can you share your favorite jewelry styling tips?
Always wear a piece of jewelry for luck, something that makes you feel special, and something you love looking at every day. Buy a great diamond necklace that you can wear just as well with a T-shirt or beautiful dress in the evening… A great ring, and something cool and sexy like a lariat necklace or a diamond anklet. Oh, and I almost forgot: you need a pair of earrings you can wear for any occasion.