Blogs: On Your Market / Designers / Fashion

Holiday Must-Have: The AX-MENA Collection By AuXchange


For those looking for something that’s a change from the every day—but also highly wearable for every day—the newest collection by AuXchange could resolve that conundrum.

The San Francisco jeweler has introduced AX-MENA, with pieces that pay homage to the designs and patterns originating from the MENA region of Africa—that’s Middle East and North Africa.

AuXchange Shamshir earrings
Shamshir earrings in 14k rose gold with 0.15 ct. t.w. sapphires and 0.2 ct. t.w. diamonds, $999

Founder and designer Azra Mehdi does an exquisite job of bringing the region’s architecture, traditions, and cultural icons to life. The Shamshir earrings, for example—shamshir means “sword” in the Persian language—showcase the signature curve that translates to jewelry beautifully, resting on the ear with a flourish of blue sapphires. A matching pendant is also available.

AuXchange Takouba necklace
Takouba necklace in 14k yellow gold with 0.45 ct. t.w. emeralds and 0.05 ct. t.w. diamonds, $1,650

The Takouba necklace—another sword, this time one traditionally associated with North African Saharan nomads—glows in green emeralds, electrified by its blackened metal setting. If you visit the brand’s website, you can see how the pieces look when worn (something all jewelers should do with their products, right?), and it’s just exquisitely placed. Again, in the interest of a set, matching earrings are available.

AuXchange Khamsa necklace
Mini Blue Khamsa in 14k rose gold with 0.03 ct. t.w. sapphires and 0.1 ct. t.w. diamonds, $1,350
AuXchange Window to the Soul pendant
The reverse side of the Window to the Soul pendant (shown at top), featuring black diamonds and peridot

The collection displays the hamsa and evil eye, talismans that have been dominant in the market during the last several years. The evil eye pendant is significantly larger than most of what we’ve seen, however, it’s not the only quality that makes it a standout. A one-of-a-kind piece, the Window to the Soul necklace is reversible—a 1 carat peridot sits at center, surrounded by rubies on one side (pictured at top), and black diamonds on the other. There’s only one peridot, so the piece showcases two views of the stone depending on which way it’s worn. The piece was made in collaboration with another San Francisco jeweler, Eric Kitagawa of K Go & Co., who assisted with the engineering aspects of the piece.

AuXchange Arabian Nights rainbow band
Arabian Nights rainbow ring in 18k yellow gold with 0.75 ct. t.w. multicolor sapphires, $3,250
AuXchange Arabian Nights matte ring
Arabian Nights matte ring in 14k yellow gold with 0.7 ct. t.w. diamonds, $4,200

Other pieces from the collection are more abstract, but their inspiration remains intact. Gorgeous, thick gold bands named Arabian Nights represent the folk tales of the Middle East and South Asia, in diamond and rainbow gemstone versions (diamonds in matte gold are particularly pretty). There is also a gorgeous cuff bracelet that reflects a similar, though not identical, design.

AuXchange Blue Burj necklace
Blue Burj one-of-a-kind necklace in 14k rose gold with 0.5 ct. aquamarine and 0.5 ct. t.w. sapphires, $1,950

Travel buffs may recognize the architecture that inspired the Blue Burj necklace. A representation of the iconic Burj Al Arab, a hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, designed to resemble the sail of a ship, the pendant surrounds an aquamarine in bowing blue sapphire sails.

AuXchange Crescent Moon necklace
Crescent Moon necklace in 14k yellow gold with 0.28 ct. green diamond (irradiated) and 0.15 ct. t.w. diamonds, $9,800

The Crescent Moon pendant is another somewhat unexpected take on a popular design trend: A gold dog tag pendant is decorated with a star cradled in the crescent of a diamond-dotted moon, a nod to the moon’s role in Middle Eastern culture. It’s a beautiful design, but what’s notable is the size of the pendant—quite a bit larger than your typical dog tag but a wearable statement for every day.

You can see the full collection on AuXchange’s website, where the pieces can also be purchased. From December 17 to 19, the brand will donate 20% of the sales of AX-MENA to the Malala Fund, an organization dedicated to educating girls all over the world.

Top: Window to the Soul one-of-a-kind necklace in 14k rose gold with 3 ct. peridot, 1.9 cts. t.w. rubies, and 1.15 cts. t.w. black diamonds, $14,500; AuXchange

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By: Brittany Siminitz

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