Roque's delicate pieces are simple, sophisticated and sustainable.
If you're someone who has a lot of jewellery, you know storing it can be a pain—cheap pieces tarnish on your bathroom counter and intricate chains tangle together in your drawers. And if you've ever been late to a dinner party because your nimble-fingered nine-year-old couldn't unknot your 17 necklaces fast enough, maybe you've considered that when it comes to jewellery, less just might be more. But simple necklaces, earrings and rings that go with everything—and won't break or tarnish—can be difficult to find. Michelle Addison, stylist for Nordstrom and CTV News knows first-hand the struggle of tracking down well-crafted, versatile jewellery: "There was only feminine jewellery," she says of trying to source accessories for her clients, "and our style was all changing to more structural pieces—there just wasn't a lot of jewellery to go with these beautiful blouses or cool jumpsuits." Addison was seeking high-quality, simple and stylish jewellery that was handcrafted and sustainable—and when existing labels couldn't give that to her, she partnered with designer Negar Khatami to create a brand all their own. In November of last year, the two founded Roque, a fine jewellery company that uses recycled materials and ethical production to create contemporary necklaces, rings and earrings that are both accessible and versatile—and easy to wear with most wardrobe staples. Take the Tamara necklace, for example, which has two simple components: a sterling silver chain threaded through a 14-karat yellow-gold circle. "It's not earth-shattering or anything like that," laughs Addison, "but I can tell you, it goes with everything." The Tamara necklace was named for Tamara Taggart, a big fan of the line. (Photo: Roque) Roque's founders insist that the minimalist designs can be worn at almost any event, from formal galas to casual dinner parties—even just lounging around at home. And although the products aren't exactly a steal (prices range between $55 and $1,500), they can be worn so often and with so many outfits that they become a clear (accessible) investment. "Maybe you won't have as much jewellery, but you'll have better pieces that aren't going to rust in your bathroom," says Addison, who admits to wearing the Jane hoops almost every day ("They're on constant rotation in my wardrobe"). Though the pieces are super-versatile, Addison is also the first to admit that (as much as they wish you could) you can't quite get away with wearing them everywhere. Case in point: long earrings and exercise don't mix. "I tried to wear the Diane earring at the gym and it didn't work out well...too much jumping," she recalls about the long ball-and-chain design. Addison often assumes the role of guinea pig for the brand's newest designs: "I've been wearing all of our samples daily," she says, "so I know if the length of an earring starts to bug me, or if a necklace is too long." The Diane earring. (Photo: Roque.) All of Roque's products are handmade, and Addison and Khatami use recycled gold, diamonds and gemstones whenever possible, which helps to keep products sustainable and below $1,500. Their newest collection, which dropped last Wednesday, feature a few more upscale pieces (including a triple diamond baguette solitaire necklace) as well as revamped versions of their debut collection. The solitaire necklace was inspired by a similar one owned by Addison's grandmother, but the revamped original designs were informed by consumer feedback; the hoops, for example, are now available in smoky quarts after fans of the brand requested a silver version of the original gold design. Though the local startup is less than a year old, the founders have already made a big commitment to craft, quality and the environment. All of their products are handmade in North America, and nothing is put into production until it is deemed flawless by Addison and Khatami. According the Addison, anything less than perfection just won't do: "If I'm going to put all my time and effort into making beautiful things, well, I want to do it right."