Behind The Design: Almasika’s Veni Vidi Vici Necklace

Chicago-based fine jewelry brand Almasika‘s new Veni Vidi Vici Medallion lariat necklace is part of its latest collection, Sagesse (which means wisdom in French), a series that explores symbolic proverbs related to life and human aspirations.

But even within that uniformly striking collection, the 18k yellow gold medallion necklace stands out, both for its timeliness (symbols and talismans are very trendy in these divisive times) and its clean-lined sophistication.

We asked Almasika founder and designer Catherine Sarr to give us the 411 on this elegant piece.

JCK: What inspired the necklace’s design?

Catherine Sarr: Traditional wise adages have shaped my approach to life, so my intention was to reinterpret these timeless concepts with the hallmarks of Almasika jewelry, including sculpturally rounded shapes and [symbology]. I have always been fascinated by the cultural aspect of jewelry…. I wanted to explore further the duality of jewelry as adornment and spiritual object.

What do the symbols on the necklace mean, and how do they work collectively with each other?

The whole collection has Latin names, but I was inspired by the popular Latin phrase “Veni, Vidi, Vici” (I came, I saw, I conquered) for these three medals. The symbols represent our journey through life and how we all overcome adversity at some point.

Veni, with its distinctive diamond pattern, is a simple celebration of life. Referred to as the four moments of the sun, the lozenge has protective significance in African cultures, from the Americas and the Caribbean, and is a symbol of feminine power in the West.

Vidi, the eye, is an omnipresent protective symbol across religions and throughout time. Almasika’s version embraces the visual representation of protection as a ray of sunshine veiling a double crescent moon, representing divine totality of the universe.

Vici, adorned with a comb, encompasses a feminine force of nature, often associated with patience, prudence, and care. From ancient Egypt to contemporary times, the combination of beauty and power has been captivating.

What was the biggest question you had to answer or challenge you encountered when designing this? 

 It feels obvious now, but it took me a long time to decide whether the symbols on the medals should be a relief or not. I decided that they wouldn’t, to keep a smooth feel.

Were there any challenges you had to surmount during the necklace’s fabrication? If so, what were they?

The design of the bales has been an iterative process. They are custom and very much part of the design and not just “findings.” They were either too small or too big, and it took us several trials to find the balance with the medal.

Catherine Sarr Almasika portrait
Almasika designer Catherine Sarr

Where is Almasika jewelry made?

I am lucky to be able to rely on a global network for my jewelry, from Mumbai, with my first production partners, to Paris. But being able to work with a local Chicago-based workshop [where she is based] has been life-changing. The collaboration enables me to have a hands-on approach with the craftspeople. I can go down and check things myself.

Did the necklace turn out how you initially thought it would? 

Yes, absolutely. I am very proud of this piece. It’s overtaking the Stella and Universum necklaces as my favorite piece in the collection.

What type of wearer do you envision donning this?

Thoughtful acquisitions [drive] our clientele. The fusion of design and culture has been at the forefront of our creations since inception. I hope it is embraced by women in all fields who are curious, independent thinkers, and are looking for that meaningful piece that will stand the test of time in terms of design, but also craftsmanship.

Top: Veni Vidi Vici Medallion lariat in 18k yellow gold with diamonds, $3,900 

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JCK Magazine Editor