Read Style

Notte Jewelry’s Euphoric Blend of Childhood Memories and Contemporary Style

An ethos to spread joy guides this retro-inspired brand

Suffused with bright pastels, freshwater pearls, dolphin-shaped gems, fruity charms and more cheery details, Notte Jewelry is a celebration of life, the beach, childhood and anything that can induce a smile. Their collections of chunky and colorful Y2K-inspired rings, necklaces and earrings are nostalgic but not dated, from the past but not passé. This is owed to founder Jessia Tse recreating sensations from memories of childhood (like the thrill of entering a toy store or arriving at a seaside vacation) through stainless steel and mother of pearl.

Two years ago, when Tse was working as a trend forecaster in Italy, spare time and the sea inspired her to start sketching designs. “When I was living there, we would do a road trip every summer,” she tells us. “We would go to the beach and all those souvenir stores at the beach. I loved seeing those— and seeing each beach with its own seashells, or other places that would be more floral. That heavily inspired my memories.”

A sense of la dolce vita permeated her sketches, which eventually manifested as a small collection. When that range began gaining traction, Tse decided to go for it and, during the pandemic, launched Notte. Color and nostalgia turned out to be the perfect combination for a brand born during a pandemic, as more people longed for little things that spark joy.

Odes to old dolls and toy boutiques in New York’s Chinatown play a large part in Notte’s comforting aspect. “Fun charms go back to Polly Pockets, dolls from the ’90s that I used to play with, and really just bring back childhood memories,” Tse continues. “In the early 2000s I used to go to Chinatown and in Elizabeth center, downstairs, they sell all these toys like Hello Kitty and accessories. A lot of that type of Y2K inspiration came from that time for me.” Those early recollections carried over to Notte, where Tse explains, “We’re not afraid to use more childish combinations: gold mixed with pastel pink, baby blues and lavenders.”

Though the designs are retro, they do maintain refreshed, unique elements. Details like hand-painted florals, visible gems or Swarovski crystals elevate Notte’s fun, relaxed vibe and blend the collection with finer materials. Other times, Tse innovates the way the jewelry is worn. With their signature “Necklacearrings,” for instance, the pendant on the chain can be taken off and worn as a single earring or mixed and matched with another to keep the multitude of styling options from each piece fluid and ever-changing.

Unexpected moments and asymmetrical pairings often appear in Notte’s pieces as a way to maximize its bold, playful style. Tse tells us, “Jewelry, for me, is just an expression. I never take my jewelry to be like, ‘I can only do a set or I can only have like the necklace a certain way.’ I want the customer to be able to choose whatever they want. A lot of our styles are sold as singles, so they don’t have to commit to a pair or they can mix and match different color options.” Often, the earrings that are sold as a pair feature differing elements, like the Hand On My Heart Earrings which see one side with a heart pendant and another with a hand or the Moody Baby Earrings which have one smiley face heart and another frowning face. At the end of the day, Tse tells us, “We just want the customer to have fun.”

When it comes to production, the majority of Notte’s jewelry—and all of the beaded pieces—are hand-made in the brand’s New Jersey-based studio. For glassmaking or casting, Tse looks to small, independent crafters on Etsy in order to support other small businesses while offering new projects. As many of the materials are natural, limited in inventory and finished with hand-crafted elements, Notte rarely produces the exact same pieces, further endowing finer aspects to their whimsical line.

As Notte continues expanding, the brand will keep striving to be a source of joyful expression and comfort. In May, Tse plans on releasing a collaboration with Find Me Now The Label, a women-of-color-owned fashion company, to produce a collection that pays homage to AAPI heritage month and immigrant narratives.

The most important criteria for Notte’s new collection, past ranges and all their pieces going forward: it has to make people smile. “We always call our jewelry ‘happy jewelry.’ When people see it, they just smile—that’s the most rewarding moment,” says Tse. “One of our big messages is really to bring joy to people. A lot of the pieces, we make them because it just brings so much joy. What else can you do to kind of brighten up your your day and bring back childhood memories?” Guided by this optimistic ethos, Notte Jewelry accessorizes comfort with retro, colorful panache.

Images courtesy of Notte Jewelry


More stories like this one.