Editors

Designers to Watch in 2023: Boochier

EditorsFeb 01, 2023

Designers to Watch in 2023: Boochier

Behind the playful and nostalgic brand lies deeper meaning.

20230201_Boochier-header.jpg
A bracelet from Boochier’s “B-Boy” collection in 18-karat gold with pearls, 1.1 carats of diamonds and enamel ($7,180) and a ring from the “Slinkee” collection in 18-karat gold with diamonds and rhodium plating ($9,250)
It was in what felt like the first legitimate post-pandemic year—2022—that my Boochier fixation took hold. 

I was freshly back to New York, with the city as alive as it had ever been, feeling like I had wakened from some sort of fever dream after living nearly two years in Miami, when I met the brand’s designer, Melinda Zeman. 

For Zeman, who lives and produces her fine jewelry line in Hong Kong, the return to travel must have been an even greater shock to the system. After three years under some of the world’s most stringent COVID-19 regulations, Zeman was traveling for the first time, making a world tour of fashion capitals as Boochier made its global debut. 

And what an emergence. Boochier was even better in person than in my frequent Instagram scrolls. It drew me in with its 1990s and 2000s era sentimentality. The “Slinkee” bracelet, was, to me, reminiscent of a telephone cord, like the one my family had in the basement in the ‘90s in case one of our cordless phones should run out of battery.

 
 In Miami, I had become an internet scourer of vintage furniture and décor, sourcing laminate pieces, most likely from a 1980s teenage girl’s bedroom. I collected things I would never use or had no need for, like kitschy figurines and ashtrays, and looked at vintage pictures of shopping malls in their heyday on social media. The Slinkee collection was modern and artfully designed but emitted a visceral nostalgia I couldn’t get enough of during so much uncertainty.

A lot of us were glorifying the recent past during the pandemic, and still are, as we navigate unprecedented world changes. Zeman is a millennial and as a mother of four, undoubtedly has easy access to her inner child, but Boochier’s playfulness is universal without belonging to one specific era.

There’s joy in its many enamel and rhodium shades and an easiness in its looping, curving lines.

20230201_Boochier-insert.jpg
Boochier designer Melinda Zeman. She launched her jewelry brand in 2019.

While on its face lighthearted, just as I ascribed a certain melancholic meaning to the collection, Boochier was born out of a deeper, yet empowering, message.

The first piece Zeman created, the “Ties” ring, is a representation of embracing two sides of one’s identity.

Born to a Chinese mother and Ghanian father but primarily raised in China with her mother’s family, Zeman’s mixed-race heritage was unique among her family and peers. It was only in adulthood that she grew to appreciate her multicultural background and accept herself.

“The Ties collection is about embracing your differences, owning who you are, and celebrating it to its full extent,” she said.

I caught up with the designer this year to talk about balancing fun design with classic elements, her relationship with color, and her latest pieces.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Ashley Davis: I think the “Ties” motif says a lot about your origin story as an artist. Can you explain the message behind this signature piece and what inspired it?

Melinda Zeman: The Ties collection will always hold a special place in my heart because it is the collection that I launched the brand with and the collection that continues to be our best seller. I think it is because so many people can relate to the inspiration and the story behind it.

Boochier is very much an extension of me and I wanted a collection that told my personal story. I was born in the U.K. to a Chinese mother and a Ghanian father. My mother and I moved to Hong Kong during my childhood to be closer to her family. I then moved to the U.S. after high school.

I think my story is no longer one that is unheard of in today’s world. It is a story of navigating your identity and who you are in a world where we are made up of so many interweaving “ties” or elements, be it geographical, racial, or in relation to gender or religion.

AD: What was your professional background prior to launching Boochier?

MZ: I worked in marketing and content creation. My job was finding people with interesting stories to tell and giving them a platform to tell those stories. My favorite interviewee was an incredibly charismatic young guy who was a flight attendant during the week and a drag queen on the weekends.

AD: How did you decide to launch your line?

MZ: I have always loved jewelry and have been fascinated by the way something so small can tell such a vivid story. 

Especially when you look back at the kinds of jewelry that were traditionally worn by royalty, the designs and materials used paint a picture of who they were and what they did. I love that stories and memories can transcend generations through family heirlooms. 

This love combined with my personal story and all the stories I had the pleasure of encountering through my job led me to the creation of the Ties motif. 


AD: What would you say inspires your design aesthetic?

MZ: Boochier is all about celebrating your journey, so I take a lot of inspiration from my childhood moments in the ‘90s and early 2000s. 

Our “Slinkee” for example is a total throwback moment. A lot of my clients tell me it reminds them of a phone cord back when teenagers didn’t have cell phones and would spend hours twirling the cord while on the phone with their best friends. 

“I love that stories and memories can transcend generations through family heirlooms.” –Melinda Zeman

I’m not someone who takes myself too seriously and it is so important for me to reflect this in all my designs. I want my jewelry to be something people can have fun with. I want to create jewelry that people feel comfortable wearing for all occasions.

I like to be playful with my designs yet also classic enough that they can be worn every day and passed down for generations. I hope to create something that I could pass down to my granddaughter one day that says something about me, that I’m someone who is playful, daring, and independent in her choices, but also appreciates quality and craftsmanship.

AD: Where is the collection made?

MZ: Our pieces are made in a small workshop in Hong Kong. 

 Related stories will be right here … 

AD: What are the materials you work with the most? Can you explain your relationship with color?

MZ: I work mostly with 18-karat gold and diamonds, but color has been a huge part of the brand from its inception, mostly because I am such a colorful person owing to my extremely colorful cultural background, but also because I genuinely believe that color can uplift anyone. I love being able to bring sparks of instant joy and happiness through my jewelry.

AD: Can you tell me more about the inspiration behind the “Slinkee” collection? It was the first collection that put Boochier on my radar.

MZ: The Slinkee is a tribute to childhood hopefulness, joy, and nostalgia. The collection draws inspiration from childhood objects that transport us to a carefree time, a time where nothing seems impossible, the sky is the limit, and no dream is too big.

The shape is a reminder of childhood resilience, the ability to bounce back stronger and continue to grow. It is the ultimate reminder of that childhood bravery we all possess inside us to get right back on that bike after falling off.

AD: What about the new “B-Boy” collection?

MZ: The B-Boy collection is one of our latest collections and is really my personal reinterpretation of a traditional pearl necklace. 

I grew up watching my grandmother put on her pearl necklace every day and always wondered how I could make it a bit more playful yet still luxurious. I use only the best Akoya pearls for the necklace, combined with high quality diamonds, 18-karat gold and enamel beads. 

 “I hope to create something that I could pass down to my granddaughter one day that says something about me, that I’m someone who is playful, daring, and independent in her choices.” – Melinda Zeman

AD: Who do you view as the Boochier customer?

MZ: I view our customer as someone who is confident in themselves and their decisions; a leader.

Someone who is looking for something different and untraditional. It is for someone that invests in quality, craftsmanship and details because it brings them personal joy knowing the attention that went into creating their pieces. 

The Latest

Alfred W. DeScenza
IndependentsApr 15, 2024
Alfred W. DeScenza of DeScenza Diamonds Dies at 95

He is remembered by loved ones for his loyalty, integrity, and kindness.

Joyce’s Jewelry
TechnologyApr 15, 2024
Judge Rules Jeweler’s Lawsuit Against PNC Bank Can Move Forward

Joyce’s Jewelry sued the bank after cybercriminals drained its accounts of nearly $1.6 million through a series of wire transfers.

Madeleine K. Albright
AuctionsApr 15, 2024
Madeleine K. Albright Jewelry, Pins Coming to Auction

Hosted by Freeman’s | Hindman, the sale will take place May 7-8.

1-(3.18).JPG
Brought to you by
The Blueprint for Success in Scalable, Personalized Jewelry Retail

With Ho Brothers, you can unlock your brand's true potential and offer customers the personalized jewelry experiences they desire.

Audemars Piguet circa 1985 emerald car watch
AuctionsApr 15, 2024
All of Sotheby’s ‘Rough Diamonds’ Sold in Less Than an Hour

The auction house said all 24 timepieces offered in its underground sale of rare and avant-garde watches quickly found buyers.

Weekly QuizApr 11, 2024
This Week’s Quiz
Test your jewelry news knowledge with this seven-question quiz.
Take the Quiz
AGS Conclave 2024 logo Austin
Events & AwardsApr 15, 2024
10 Can’t-Miss Sessions at AGS Conclave 2024

From lab-grown diamonds and AI to the inevitable Taylor Swift mention, here are some of Conclave’s most intriguing educational offerings.

My Next Question webinar
Recorded WebinarsApr 12, 2024
Watch: What Jewelers Need to Know About Insurance

From cybersecurity liability to trade show coverage, insurance experts share tips on how to build the right policy.

Jewelers of America Fly In Washington, D.C.
Brought to you by
How Jewelers of America Represents Your Business

For over 30 years, JA has advocated for the industry, fought against harmful legislation and backed measures that help jewelry businesses.

Evil Eye Charm with Turquoise Disc
CollectionsApr 12, 2024
Piece of the Week: Lionheart’s Evil Eye Gemstone Charm

The charm is a modern rendition of the evil eye amulet that has been worn for thousands of years.

The Jewelry Symposium scholarship winners 2024
Events & AwardsApr 12, 2024
The Jewelry Symposium Announces 4 Scholarship Winners

Ahead of its trade show next month, TJS awarded free registration and accommodations to one jewelry professional and three students.

SRK Empire and SRK House
Policies & IssuesApr 11, 2024
SRK Exports’ Journey Toward Net Zero Impact

By the end of this year, SRK’s diamond manufacturing complexes will achieve net zero emissions, one of an impressive array of achievements.

AGTA logo
Lab-GrownApr 11, 2024
AGTA Bans Lab-Grown Diamonds, Gemstones at GemFair

Members can still sell lab-grown stones, it said, but only natural gems are allowed on the show floor.

Steven Rosdal
IndependentsApr 11, 2024
Steven Rosdal, Co-Founder of Hyde Park Jewelers, Dies at 77

He is remembered for his charisma, passion, integrity, kindness, and wit.

Macy’s Herald Square store
MajorsApr 11, 2024
Macy’s Opens Books for Possible Buyout

The retailer also appointed two new board members, avoiding a proxy fight from a potential buyer.

Sylvie Jewelry model
CollectionsApr 10, 2024
Sylvie Launches New Nature-Inspired Collection, ‘Tulira’

The bridal collection consists of 35 engagement rings and seven wedding bands.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Deepsea in 18-karat yellow gold
WatchesApr 10, 2024
These Are Rolex’s New Watches for 2024

The crown introduced a dozen timepieces in Geneva, including a heavy metal version of its deep-sea divers’ watch.

Levy’s Fine Jewelry diamond education
IndependentsApr 10, 2024
Levy's Fine Jewelry Explores Diamond History

The family-owned jeweler has a new education section on its website dedicated to the history of diamond cutting.

With Clarity NFL wedding bands
CollectionsApr 10, 2024
With Clarity Partners With NFL on Wedding Bands

The limited-edition men’s rings can be customized with one of 12 team logos.

Asian Star’s diamond manufacturing facility in India
SourcingApr 10, 2024
Compliance, Caution, and Concern: The Current Outlook of Indian Diamantaires

There is a willingness to comply with new government-mandated regulations, with an insistence that they should be practical and realistic.

Chrono24 watch inspection lab
WatchesApr 09, 2024
Chrono24 Debuts Pre-Owned Watch Authentication Program

The program, now live in Europe, will roll out to the U.S. this summer.

6.21-carat fancy vivid pink diamond
AuctionsApr 09, 2024
Phillips to Offer 6.21-Carat Vivid Pink Diamond

Colored gemstones and signed jewels are the focus of its upcoming Geneva sale.

Lucapa rough colorless and pink diamonds
SourcingApr 09, 2024
Former De Beers Exec Appointed to Lucapa Board

Stuart Brown, who was De Beers’ CFO and interim CEO, is now Lucapa’s independent non-executive chairman.

Jewelers for Children POS System Donations
MajorsApr 09, 2024
Jewel360 Announces New POS Integration, JFC Partnership

The point-of-sale software can now prompt customers to round up their credit card purchases as a donation to Jewelers for Children.

Bharat Ratnam, a Mega Common Facilitation Centre (CFC)
SourcingApr 09, 2024
Reinvigorating SEEPZ, the Epicenter of India’s Studded Jewelry Exports

The zone’s modernization will enhance and increase India’s jewelry manufacturing capabilities while aiding small and mid-sized businesses.

Charles & Colvard moissanite bypass engagement ring
SourcingApr 08, 2024
Charles & Colvard Debuts B2B Portal for Moissanite

Select independent jewelers and retailers can now purchase moissanite through Charles & Colvard Direct.

Amber Rank
Events & AwardsApr 08, 2024
AGS Announces First Recipient of ‘Women in Leadership’ Scholarship

Amber Rank of Exclusively Diamonds will receive mentorship, registration to AGS’s 2024 Conclave, and $500.

Jaeger-LeCoultre citrine pinky-ring watch
AuctionsApr 08, 2024
Sotheby’s ‘Rough Diamonds’ Sale Is All About … Watches

The auction will take place Thursday and is underground, literally.

×

This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy