Gigi Hadid wearing Messika jewelry

BRIGHT LIKE A DIAMOND: Messika has tapped Gigi Hadid as its first ambassador, kicking off a push into the U.S. by the rapidly expanding French jeweler.

Valérie Messika, who established the brand a dozen years ago, selling modern settings geared towards younger women, told WWD that she selected star model Hadid for her youth and connection to fashion.

“She exudes a certain warmth,” said Messika, who plans to open the brand’s first stores in the U.S. in Miami and Los Angeles this year, as well as a shop-in-shop at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York.

“It’s the market that has scared us the most,” she said of the U.S., citing its size and the number of competing brands.

“It will either be a fiasco or an enormous success, because there’s nothing like us,” said Messika, who once noticed on a visit to Bergdorf Goodman that many of the gems sold in the store were colorful, contrasting with her brand’s focus on diamonds.

Valerie Messika and Gigi Hadid during the making of the ad campaign.  Courtesy

For the campaign that will appear in magazines this fall, Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott shot shadowy images of Hadid with splashes of red lighting. The Move Addiction collection, a collaboration with Hadid, features diamonds set in pink, white or yellow gold and will be available in the brand’s stores next month. Rings start at around $980 and the high-end range, made up of four pieces, includes a $60,000 choker.

The daughter of a diamond dealer, Messika founded the brand based on the idea that women could buy themselves jewelry, like they would buy a handbag or a pair of shoes.

“I didn’t want diamonds to be stuffy, I wanted to break the norm and show they’re not just for brides,” she said.

Present in 55 countries, including Russia and in the Middle East, the brand has 400 points of sale.