Sarah Lahbati wears her diamonds to the beach

Marbbie C. Tagabucba - The Philippine Star

Sarah Lahbati is that girl who roughs it out camping and free-diving one day, keeps up with her kids the next, then gets her glam on for a presscon at night. Whatever she does, she’s in diamonds.

“I have dreamed of wearing my very own diamonds since I was a little girl and now I never take them off,” says Lahbati. What started out as a purchase of a Tessera tennis bracelet is now a deeper relationship as brand endorser.

In an increasingly unstable world, a privileged few turn to the remarkable sparkle and strength of diamonds. One Tessera regular owns a ring of over 30 carats in a single stone to wear at home when she gets stressed out.

Symbolically, powerful figures like Catherine The Great piled on the bling as one would wear an armor in a show of stability and even invincibility. Superstitiously, they are believed to give its wearer long life and good heart health. Romantically, it’s a popular choice for engagement rings as a promise (or hope) that your love will last forever. Practically speaking, in a shaky economy, it holds its weight as an investment. Trend-wise, diamonds are no longer reserved for dressed-up affairs; Lahbati is pictured here dripping in diamonds with a tank top. Stylesetters like stylist Liz Uy wear a Tessera tennis necklace with sweats while Jinkee Pacquaio pairs hers with a lace cami.

“I always keep it classic,” says Tessera co-founder Carl Fider over sushi at Manila House during the event launch. They have a large collection of tennis necklaces and bracelets as well as studs and their best-selling rings. “That way, you can wear it with everything.”

It was with this rationale that the brand grew. While Tessera was founded in 2011 as a one-man business, creating personalized monogrammed pendants and nameplate necklaces (which explains its name, taken from the uniquely-designed Roman mosaic tiles) from home, they didn’t carry diamonds until 2016. They now have over a thousand diamonds in their collection as retailer, seller and jeweler — all-natural, conflict-free, and internationally-certified. Fider buys the diamonds from Hong Kong and Belgium. If you’d like them in jewelry, you can shop them readymade or customized. You can have fun customizing your own piece at their website. They will be then handcrafted at their own factory in Bulacan with a lead time of three weeks.

That doesn’t mean Tessera can’t get experimental. Catriona Gray’s Bb. Filipinas 2018-winning “Three Stars and The Sun” ear cuff and “Alab at Dangal” ear cuff and “Pearl of the Orient” drop earrings that she wore when she was crowned Miss Universe 2018 are all by Tessera. At once intricate yet comfortable enough to be worn all night during the high-pressure environment of a pageant, they’ve proved what Filipino craftsmanship can be capable of on an international stage.

Co-founder and wife Papat Aquino envisions the Tessera woman as someone like Lahbati who “juggles different facets of her life, like mom life and being a girl boss. with an eye for beauty and quality and sophistication.” What more can she do with the power of diamonds? 


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