Matthew Harris From Mateo NY

  • Photography Francisco Nogueira

Matthew Harris, founder of High Jewellery brand Mateo, included Portuguese elements in the interiors of his house in Lisbon.

Design Lisboa: When did you start to be interested in designing and creating jewelry? Do you remember what seduced you in the first place?

Matthew Harris: I grew up surrounded by my Mother’s creativity. So, fashion design and interior design truly has just been an innate talented which was inherited. I started my fine jewelry brand in the spring of 2009. My sole purpose at the time was to make jewelry that was timeless, with a point of view, that I could wear every day. Rihanna wore a piece of my work, and the rest was history. My hobby and passion turned into a business.

DL: When did you create Mateo NY? How much has the brand changed until today?

MH: My brand Mateo New York was created in 2009. The company started as a men’s jewelry brand and then we later entered into women’s fine jewelry in 2015. The brand has evolved throughout the years, however we have remained to the core ethos of the brand which is to create great personal fine jewelry to pass on to generations to come.

DL: What inspires you?

MH: I am often inspired by modern and contemporary art. Some of my favorite artists includes Alexander Calder, Wassily Kandinsky, and Brancusi. You can see elements of this throughout my work. I am also inspired by my home country Jamaica and my close friends. But being truly a New York brand, one can only be inspired by the city and its people.

Twelve years ago, I made my first handbag collection in the north of Portugal and fell in love with Portugal. So Portugal, Lisbon will always be home.

DL: Can you tell us about the process of creating a special piece of collection? How long does it take?

MH: Each piece of my work starts from a simple sketch. What I love about jewelry making is how a simple sketch is transformed into something so refine and precious. The sketch is then sent over to our production team who then turns this sketch into a digital drawing or rendering of the piece. Once happy with the digital model, it is then approved and send to casting. Each piece is then casted in solid gold and the goldsmith’s work begins. The gold is tumbled, polished, after which diamonds, gemstones and pearls are set to perfection.Final inspection of the piece is then carried out as we take utmost pride in our work and craftsmanship.

DL: What makes your work so unique and your brand a reference when we speak of contemporary jewelry?

MH: What makes our brand so unique is the fact that we make great personal fine jewelry at affordable luxury price points. I remember when I was much younger, I would be so intimidated to walk into the typical heritage jewelry store. Scared to even ask the price. So, when I launched Mateo New York, I wanted to create a brand that was inclusive and welcoming. I want young people to be able to shop with us and be at ease and to also feel empowered. Our designs also set us apart. Two of our signature collections, the Secret Initial collection and the one-of-a-kind Baroque Pearl collections are still best sellers to this day.

DL: Why moving to Lisbon? Are you planning to stay here indefinitely?

MH: Twelve years ago, I made my first handbag collection in the north of Portugal and fell in love with Portugal. So Portugal, Lisbon will always be home.

DL: How different is it from living in other capitals around the world?

MH: Lisbon is very cosmopolitan so I can’t say it is much different from many other capital cities. Yes, many adjustments MUST be made to live here in Lisbon. But the city is wonderful. Amazing food, culture, quality of life, plus the beach is only a few steps away. What more can you ask for!

DL: What were the main references behind the interior project for your Lisbon apartment?

MH: Well, my Lisbon home is truly an escape. I wanted it to be completely different from my other homes. I normally go with a minimal aesthetic, sharp black and white, almost like a gallery. But with my Lisbon home, it’s like a warm hug!  Still modern, painted in a soft shade of white, beautiful tapestries from Alexander Calder and Jean Cocteau, chic vintage togos, rich emerald green, statement Brazilian furniture and antique Portuguese furniture all makes for the perfect nest to lay one’s head. I also wanted to honor Portugal in my home, so we had an azulejo studio come in and hand paint  the master bathroom. It is truly sublime.

DL: Color plays a strong part in your home interiors. How was the process of selecting the tones – including the bold green wall – and connecting them with the design pieces?

MH: I am really a minimalist at heart and often actually stay away from color. I like to walk into a space and everything softly whispers to me. I hate aggressive colors that SHOUTS! With that being said, I am quite meticulous in choosing colors for my projects. Somehow, they always tie back to jewelry. Lush and rich emerald greens, vibrant lapis blues, deep black onyx to name a few.In the Lisbon home, I truly wanted a decadent jewelry tone office. The team and I painted the room I think eleven times to get the right and precise shade of emerald green. It was well worth it at the end.

DL: How did you find QuartoSala? Which design pieces did you select from QuartoSala’s curation?

MH: I live in neighborhood, so one day when I decided to explore Principe Real, I wandered into the store. From the window, I could see many of my favorite designers such as Michael Anastassiades, among others, I knew I had to go in. Fell in love with the Brazilian collective store  where I discovered designers such as  Jadeer Almeida.

DL: Which room is your favorite and why?

MH: Hmmmm, this is always a tough question as I truly love every facet of my Lisbon home. The master bathroom has a special space in my heart as it was hand-painted and it’s a tribute to Lisbon.

DL: What are your plans for the future?

MH: The plan for the near future is to open the MATEO boutique, Lisbon flagship store in Principe Real this summer. Officially opens this June, 2024

Born and raised in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Matthew Harris arrived in the US at the age of 16 to attend college. After completing his studies, he discovered his true passion in New York City – the art of Jewelry making. After honing his craft, Mateo New York was launched in March of 2009. The brand began solely focused on men’s jewelry, with the first collection pulling inspiration from the concept of a working man’s toolbox. In 2014 the women’s fine jewelry collection was launched. The fine jewelry collections bares our true aesthetic of simplicity and minimalism, drawing inspiration from modern art for the modern woman. Today the brand is sold in some of the best retailers worldwide including Net A Porter, Matches Fashion, Browns, FarFetch 1stDibs, to name a few.

Matthew Harris From Mateo NY

  • Photography Francisco Nogueira

Matthew Harris, founder of High Jewellery brand Mateo, included Portuguese elements in the interiors of his house in Lisbon.

Design Lisboa: When did you start to be interested in designing and creating jewelry? Do you remember what seduced you in the first place?

Matthew Harris: I grew up surrounded by my Mother’s creativity. So, fashion design and interior design truly has just been an innate talented which was inherited. I started my fine jewelry brand in the spring of 2009. My sole purpose at the time was to make jewelry that was timeless, with a point of view, that I could wear every day. Rihanna wore a piece of my work, and the rest was history. My hobby and passion turned into a business.

DL: When did you create Mateo NY? How much has the brand changed until today?

MH: My brand Mateo New York was created in 2009. The company started as a men’s jewelry brand and then we later entered into women’s fine jewelry in 2015. The brand has evolved throughout the years, however we have remained to the core ethos of the brand which is to create great personal fine jewelry to pass on to generations to come.

DL: What inspires you?

MH: I am often inspired by modern and contemporary art. Some of my favorite artists includes Alexander Calder, Wassily Kandinsky, and Brancusi. You can see elements of this throughout my work. I am also inspired by my home country Jamaica and my close friends. But being truly a New York brand, one can only be inspired by the city and its people.

Twelve years ago, I made my first handbag collection in the north of Portugal and fell in love with Portugal. So Portugal, Lisbon will always be home.

DL: Can you tell us about the process of creating a special piece of collection? How long does it take?

MH: Each piece of my work starts from a simple sketch. What I love about jewelry making is how a simple sketch is transformed into something so refine and precious. The sketch is then sent over to our production team who then turns this sketch into a digital drawing or rendering of the piece. Once happy with the digital model, it is then approved and send to casting. Each piece is then casted in solid gold and the goldsmith’s work begins. The gold is tumbled, polished, after which diamonds, gemstones and pearls are set to perfection.Final inspection of the piece is then carried out as we take utmost pride in our work and craftsmanship.

DL: What makes your work so unique and your brand a reference when we speak of contemporary jewelry?

MH: What makes our brand so unique is the fact that we make great personal fine jewelry at affordable luxury price points. I remember when I was much younger, I would be so intimidated to walk into the typical heritage jewelry store. Scared to even ask the price. So, when I launched Mateo New York, I wanted to create a brand that was inclusive and welcoming. I want young people to be able to shop with us and be at ease and to also feel empowered. Our designs also set us apart. Two of our signature collections, the Secret Initial collection and the one-of-a-kind Baroque Pearl collections are still best sellers to this day.

DL: Why moving to Lisbon? Are you planning to stay here indefinitely?

MH: Twelve years ago, I made my first handbag collection in the north of Portugal and fell in love with Portugal. So Portugal, Lisbon will always be home.

DL: How different is it from living in other capitals around the world?

MH: Lisbon is very cosmopolitan so I can’t say it is much different from many other capital cities. Yes, many adjustments MUST be made to live here in Lisbon. But the city is wonderful. Amazing food, culture, quality of life, plus the beach is only a few steps away. What more can you ask for!

DL: What were the main references behind the interior project for your Lisbon apartment?

MH: Well, my Lisbon home is truly an escape. I wanted it to be completely different from my other homes. I normally go with a minimal aesthetic, sharp black and white, almost like a gallery. But with my Lisbon home, it’s like a warm hug!  Still modern, painted in a soft shade of white, beautiful tapestries from Alexander Calder and Jean Cocteau, chic vintage togos, rich emerald green, statement Brazilian furniture and antique Portuguese furniture all makes for the perfect nest to lay one’s head. I also wanted to honor Portugal in my home, so we had an azulejo studio come in and hand paint  the master bathroom. It is truly sublime.

DL: Color plays a strong part in your home interiors. How was the process of selecting the tones – including the bold green wall – and connecting them with the design pieces?

MH: I am really a minimalist at heart and often actually stay away from color. I like to walk into a space and everything softly whispers to me. I hate aggressive colors that SHOUTS! With that being said, I am quite meticulous in choosing colors for my projects. Somehow, they always tie back to jewelry. Lush and rich emerald greens, vibrant lapis blues, deep black onyx to name a few.In the Lisbon home, I truly wanted a decadent jewelry tone office. The team and I painted the room I think eleven times to get the right and precise shade of emerald green. It was well worth it at the end.

DL: How did you find QuartoSala? Which design pieces did you select from QuartoSala’s curation?

MH: I live in neighborhood, so one day when I decided to explore Principe Real, I wandered into the store. From the window, I could see many of my favorite designers such as Michael Anastassiades, among others, I knew I had to go in. Fell in love with the Brazilian collective store  where I discovered designers such as  Jadeer Almeida.

DL: Which room is your favorite and why?

MH: Hmmmm, this is always a tough question as I truly love every facet of my Lisbon home. The master bathroom has a special space in my heart as it was hand-painted and it’s a tribute to Lisbon.

DL: What are your plans for the future?

MH: The plan for the near future is to open the MATEO boutique, Lisbon flagship store in Principe Real this summer. Officially opens this June, 2024

Born and raised in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Matthew Harris arrived in the US at the age of 16 to attend college. After completing his studies, he discovered his true passion in New York City – the art of Jewelry making. After honing his craft, Mateo New York was launched in March of 2009. The brand began solely focused on men’s jewelry, with the first collection pulling inspiration from the concept of a working man’s toolbox. In 2014 the women’s fine jewelry collection was launched. The fine jewelry collections bares our true aesthetic of simplicity and minimalism, drawing inspiration from modern art for the modern woman. Today the brand is sold in some of the best retailers worldwide including Net A Porter, Matches Fashion, Browns, FarFetch 1stDibs, to name a few.