For generations, jewelry brands have sought to dictate who should do the buying, and who should be on the receiving end of fine forever pieces. In recent years, though, women have discarded these conventions — adorning themselves in beautiful gems and metals instead. As Kerry Washington, Emmy award-winning actor and women's rights advocate, puts it: "It's no longer a man saying 'Buy this beautiful necklace for your wife'," she tells TZR over the phone. This is thanks to brands like Aurate, who began turning the tide five years ago by creating fine jewelry pieces by women, for women. Aurate x Kerry Washington's Lioness collection is the embodiment of this seismic shift, all focalized through one symbol: the Egyptian goddess, Sekhmet.
Of course, this all started somewhere. "I first met Sophie [Kahn] and Bouchra [Ezzahraoui] a few years ago, and I became obsessed with them," Washington shares effusively over the phone. "They were so smart and so beautiful, and I also became obsessed with the jewelry." The three kept in touch over time, and eventually landed on the perfect conduit for their collaboration: the lioness. "Sekhmet is a warrior goddess and the Egyptian goddess of healing ... [whose] name translates to 'she who is powerful'," says Washington. Recognized for having a women's body and lion's face, Sekhmet is a universal symbol of fierceness, healing, and feminine power — all of which the trio sought to immortalize through the Lioness collection.
The line has three core silhouettes — a chain bracelet, a chain necklace, and gold hoops — all of which can be decorated with the Lioness pendant. An added bonus of modular pieces? You can shop them in complete sets or individually, allowing you to customize and change up your look from one day to the next.
Take the Lioness Pendant Earrings ($480) for example, which thread the medallions ($150) onto each of its delicate hoops ($180). As desired, you can remove the medallions and link them onto the collection's chain necklace or bracelet, making for an ever-evolving look that you can slowly build upon over time. Need styling inspiration? Washington personally likes wearing them solo, or pairing them with other statement pieces from her jewelry box.
Apart from its sustainable focus and high standard for quality, the Lioness pieces are cost-effective, too. "We have our pendant which is $150, and it's a price point I'm really proud of in the fine jewelry space," says Washington. Included in that price tag is a 20% donation to Supermajority, an organization that is close to Washington's heart (and previously spotlighted through her hot pink suit moment). Dedicated to helping women collectively find their power and organize around change, Supermajority aims to ensure a more equitable future for women — which Washington and Aurate's founders both firmly believe in.
A few things to keep in mind while shopping: Washington says that self-gifting is fair game, as is gifting to other women in your 'pride' — or circle — of lionesses. "I love the idea of giving it to your mother, or your sister, or mentor or mentee."
Shop the 100% recycled gold pieces ahead.
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