The fiery spirit and magnetic personality of a client of Erica Courtney’s prompted the Los Angeles–based designer to create a collection infused with her vivacious spirit. Enter the Mahenge—aka Jennifer (the client)—collection of one-of-a-kind spinel jewels.
“Jennifer is such a unique person with such a powerful presence (in all the best ways, of course), which is all the properties of Mahenge spinel,” explains Courtney. “The color of a Mahenge spinel is so unique and powerful, it literally can stop anyone in their tracks. What’s a more powerful statement piece than a Mahenge to compliment such a woman? It is the perfect combination of femininity and power.”
Nine pieces officially debuted last spring, and Courtney brought what she had to Couture, but seven items sold quickly. Just two pieces—a ring and a pendant necklace—remain for purchase.
The designs themselves speak to Courtney’s signature style of feminine scrollwork and diamond pavé and don’t require further embellishment because of the focal-point stones. “The color of the Mahenge spinel speaks for itself,” she notes.
According to GIA, red spinel was discovered in Tanzania near the Mahenge plateau in Tanzania, and “in the Uluguru Mountains of the Morogoro province in the late 1980s, and around Tunduru after 1994,” according to author Vincent Pardieu in a piece for GIA. “The deposit near Mahenge became famous after the discovery of giant spinel crystals (up to 54 kg) during the summer of 2007 (Keller, 1992; Pardieu, 2007; Weinberg, 2007; Hughes, 2011).”
The two remains of Courtney’s Mahenge inventory are no runts of the litter. The center stone of the Interstellar pendant necklace features a 3.6 ct. Mahenge spinel surround by diamonds, while the chain features 11.62 cts. t.w. Mahenge spinel. A ring, meanwhile—made in Courtney’s Emily Ann style—has a 3.02 ct. Mahenge center surrounded by diamonds. At press time, both were still available for purchase for $58,000 and $29,000, respectively, and serve as one hell of way to kick off the holiday shopping season.
Emily Ann ring in 18k gold with 3.02 ct. Mahenge spinel center and 0.8 ct. t.w. diamonds is part of the Jennifer/Mahenge collection and retails for $29,000.
Interstellar pendant necklace with 3.6 ct. Mahenge spinel, 1.88 cts. t.w. diamonds, 11.62 cts. t.w. Mahenge spinel, and 4 cts. t.w. diamonds on the chain is from the Jennifer/Mahenge collection and retails for $58,000.