Meghan Markle wears Natalie Marie jewellery. Image credit: Dominic Lipinski – Pool/Getty Images
The Meghan Markle effect is now a well-documented phenomenon. When the Duchess of Sussex chooses a particular coat or dresses in a favoured designer, it’s not by accident and is, in fact, a carefully thought-out and strategic move by the royal.
Markle often makes a statement with her wardrobe choices—from colours to ethically-minded designers—and a lot of research goes into what the royal wears. Even the final touches, such as a pair a diamond earrings, have meaning.
And while Markle owns one of the most famous engagement rings in the world and a pretty pair of pearl earrings that are now practically priceless, the duchess is also a keen investor in up-and coming-jewellery lines, choosing to fill her jewellery box with boutique designers. Vogue spoke with three such jewellery designers, whose businesses have keenly felt the Markle effect and, thanks to the royal, are now in the sartorial spotlight.
Meghan Markle wears Maya Brenner jewellery in 2016. Image credit: Instagram.com/maya_brenner
Whimsical, sentimental and feminine: that’s how Maya Brenner describes her eponymous jewellery line, which was made famous by Markle before Prince Harry confirmed his relationship with the then actor. Markle was spotted out and about in Brenner’s 14k Yellow Gold Two Letter Necklace with the letters ‘H’ and ‘M’ on it—sending the world wild and all but confirming the royal love story was more than just a rumour.
“Our jewellery has to be versatile, durable, comfortable and it has to make sense with the overall collection,” says Brenner, who notes the range is focused on customisation and offers a range of metals in rose, white and yellow gold as well as birthstone touches. “Getting the perfect combination of those aspects can take several months of trial and error. We may start with 100 ideas in our initial design meeting but end up launching only two to three pieces.”
Maya Brenner jewellery. Image credit: Maya Brenner jewellery
Natalie Marie jewellery. Image credit: Natalie Marie jewellery
Similarly, Australian-based jewellery designer Natalie Marie is drawn to a mix of metals as well as precious and semi-precious stones when creating her minimalist line. “I am trained as a jeweller rather than a designer, so my approach to design has always been an organic one which involves getting hands on with materials. I have a fairly minimal style, but gravitate towards traditional goldsmith techniques to achieve the level of detail and character which has become synonymous with our brands aesthetic,” Marie says of her eponymous line. The Duchess of Sussex owns several of Marie’s pieces including the Precious Initial Necklace, Diamond Sun Studs and a range of stackable rings. Most recently, Markle wore the brand on her first royal tour of Australia, New Zealand, Tonga and Fiji.
Meghan Markle wears The Hamsa ring by Kismet by Milka Jewellery in 2018. Image credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images
If you’re sensing a theme with Markle’s jewellery choices, you’re not alone. It’s clear the royal opts for sentimental pieces and that a ring, while pretty, is never just a ring. It should come as no surprise then to hear that Markle was also drawn to Turkish designer Milka Karaagacli’s line Kismet by Milka, a brand similarly favoured by Beyoncé and Bella Hadid. Punctuated by sapphires, rubies and diamonds, iconography is at the centre of Kismet by Milka’s focus, with the line drawing inspiration from protection symbols like the evil eye as well as fruit, stars and the zodiac.
The Hamsa ring by Kismet by Milka Jewellery. Image credit: Kismet by Milk Jewellery
“She wore two pieces by us, both of which were given as a gift to her from Prince Harry,” Karaagacli says of her pieces owned by Markle. “One was our Hamsa Ring which is a protective sign that brings its owner love, luck and happiness in many beliefs, and the other was our Seed Bracelet.”
“We actually had no idea beforehand. We woke up one day to our phones blasting with pictures of Meghan with the ring and bracelet and news from all around the world. It was incredibly exciting!” Karaagacli recalls of waking to the news that Markle had worn the Hamsa ring on an official royal visit. “Then one of our followers, who turned out to be the person who sold the pieces to the prince in one of our stockists in Bodrum a while ago, reached out to us and told us the story of it. She said that Meghan first saw the ring and was moved by the meaning of it, and a couple of hours later Prince Harry came to buy it as a gift to her, along with the bracelet.”
Meghan Markle wears The Seed bracelet by Kismet by Milka Jewellery at the 2017 Invictus Games. Image credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images
So how has the Meghan effect touched these three businesses?
“Within two days of the duchess being photographed in the necklace our office began to be flooded with calls and orders, lots and lots of orders from all over the world. We actually had to shut down our website because we couldn’t handle the production of that many custom necklaces. Since then the upwards trajectory has not stopped,” Brenner recalls of Markle’s influence after the now royal was spotted wearing the 14k Yellow Gold Two Letter Necklace in December 2016. “We will be forever grateful to the now duchess, not just for putting our piece in the international spotlight but for being an exceptional woman. We are very proud to have a small place in their love story. And maybe we will be able to make her a necklace with her baby’s initial after the birth!” Brenner continues.
Likewise, Marie says Markle’s choice to wear her label has been invaluable. “Being someone who is vocal and sincere about her considered style choices, and her preference towards brands and causes she feels personally connected to, the duchess’s support has translated very honestly and authentically to her global following. We have certainly seen a flow on effect in terms of an influx of clients wanting to replicate her style,” says Marie.
“Well of course, the news came with a lot of attention from the media globally, and our customers,” says Karaagacli of the Meghan effect, noting the Hamsa ring had a real boost in sales after being photographed on the duchess. “There’s a lot of hard work between each design and it’s incredibly motivating to get that kind of appreciation from all these icons,” says Karaagacli.