Time travelling with William & Son’s MYA jewels

Ancient mineral formations are at the heart of William & Son's surprisingly contemporary new MYA jewellery collection, reimagined in emeralds and diamonds.

William & Son MYA emerald and diamond jewellery

Launched in London this season, William & Son’s seven-piece MYA jewellery collection invites us to travel back in time to the early days of the churning heart of our planet. It was here that, aeons ago, the mineral building blocks of the shimmering diamonds and the vibrant emeralds we see today began their journey.

This ancient appearance of mineral structures is celebrated in the seven different MYA jewels, which combine pear and oval-cut diamonds, and emerald-cut emeralds, to create irregular forms. Thanks to the minimal use of gold settings and claws, the jewels, though heavy in carat weight, are surprisingly delicate.

As for the name, well the story is just as engaging. MYA is an acronym for the geological term “million years ago”. So while an emerald could be dated as 200 MYA, a diamond would be 1.3 BYA or “billion years ago”. Pronounced “maya”, the name is both apt and pleasingly sonorous. Taking the geological analogy a step further, the undulating shape of the jewels further echoes the waveform of the forces that pushed gems to the surface of the Earth.

MYA was the work of both Nicola Sanderson, Head of Jewellery Design, and Clémence Devaux, Head of Jewellery at London’s luxury emporium, William & Son. Working hand in hand, gemologist Clémence assures Nicola has the best stones at her disposal as well as overseeing the crucial production stages of each jewel. Nicola, a Central Saint Martins graduate, sets the production process in motion the time-honoured way with a hand-drawn gouache rendering of each jewel.

Nicola Sanderson, Central Saint Martins graduate and head jewellery designer at William & Son, sets the production process of the MYA collection in motion the time-honoured way with a hand-drawn gouache rendering of the jewels. 

“The MYA collection is inspired by the unique nature of each stone and how it was formed many millions of years ago,” explains the jewellery duo. “We went to the Tucson gem show in the USA and it got us thinking about how long it took for them to be formed in the Earth and how we could celebrate the uniqueness of each gem. We looked at the jagged shapes created by crystals when they are formed. They seem random, but they’re not, and no two are the same. We were particularly intrigued by the crystal structures, which is reflected in the way we have arranged the diamonds and emeralds in these jewels.”

MYA diamond bracelet
Just in time for Christmas, William & Son's MYA collection offers present options for different budgets as well as the chance to start your own MYA universe of gems.

All the diamonds in the collection were carefully selected in an F colour or above for maximum sparkle while the vivid green emeralds came from Gemfields’ Kagem mine in Zambia. “The fact that Gemfields place such an emphasis on the ethics and sustainability of their mines is very important to us,” says Clémence. “It is at the heart of what we do at William & Son. We are committed to excellence in every sense, from design to sourcing of our materials responsibly and, of course, the highest levels of craftsmanship.”

MYA emerald and diamond ring
Wraparound emerald and diamond ring from William & Son's new MYA collection. MYA is an acronym for the  geological term “million years ago”, referencing when these precious gemstones were formed deep within the Earth (£21,400). 

The collection consists of seven different jewels including two ring, earring and necklace designs – with or without emeralds – as well an all-diamond bracelet. Prices range from £9,740 for the diamond ear climbers to close to £150,000 for the hero necklace, which boasts 21.11 carats of diamonds and 2.95 carats of emeralds.

Clever little details abound in this collection. Designed to be worn up or down, the wave-shape diamond ring wraps 1.44 carats of diamonds around the finger with the lightest of touches. But there is more: should you be so lucky to have two, the rings lock together to form a chunkier stack or can be worn on two fingers to form a rippling shape across the hand.

MYA diamond ring
Designed to be worn up or down, William & Son's wave-shape diamond rings wrap 1.44 carats of diamonds around the finger with the lightest of touches (£10,740).

In both the earrings and the necklace, the emeralds are set to move with each twist or turn of the body allowing you to fully admire their rich green colour, which is reminiscent of light shining through jungle foliage.

Just in time for Christmas, the MYA collection offers present options for different budgets as well as the chance to start your own MYA universe of gems, each with a story as old as time itself. 

MYA diamond and emerald earrings
William & Son's MYA earrings combine pear-cut diamonds and emerald-cut emeralds to create intriguing irregular forms (£31,195).

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