Noa Sadé, designer of Lionette, never studied fashion or jewelry design. In her native Israel, Sadé studied music, though working with her hands always came naturally. She came to New York after traveling in Australia, Africa and Asia for two years, where she discovered an insatiable attraction to stones. The designer began her career at the Mulberry Designer Market in NoLiTa, and her good friend Vanessa Lee soon fell in love with the jewelry and started selling it for her. A glorious partnership of two strong women was born; one with a passion for fashion, the other with natural talent for creating it. Lionette’s high-end designs, made of metal and semiprecious stones and named after the people and places Sadé loves, have been worn by celebrities like Rihanna and featured in many leading magazines, including Marie Claire, InStyle, Glamour and Sports Illustrated, but Sadé isn’t letting her work become her life. Her top priorities remain travel and enjoying life.
MadlyJuicy: Your jewelry is very bold, out there.
Noa Sadé: My designs reflect my inner aesthetic. I’m hardly ever exposed to any trends. Strong, sexy women inspire me. I don’t like the notion that if a woman is strong or bold she isn’t feminine or gentle. The jewelry merges those ideas, allowing funky women to be elegant and vice versa. There’s an emotional connection between a woman and her jewelry.
MJ: When did Lionette become a sought-after brand?
NS: It was a process. Since my market days I had faith in what I did. Designing from my heart attracted industry people. I was also privileged to have a partner who could sell me really well, so I didn’t need to. Vanessa is a big dreamer, like me. She never puts me down, only helps me fly higher. Lionette is based on love and respect, and that’s in the DNA of the jewelry. Our reward is being able to do what we love. Being in magazines is just an added bonus.
MJ: Tell us about the gorgeous bikini you made.
NS: Sports illustrated contacted us for a tiny necklace called “Avish,” and immediately I thought of designing a bikini, because my jewelry is very flexible, mesh. I sent some samples and the editor invited me to her office. They really loved the idea.
MJ: Are you for or against bejeweling your bikini look?
NS: I’m totally for it. As opposed to any other thing we wear, jewelry is only about beauty, it isn’t about functionality, size or comfort. With a strapless bikini I’d go for a round chocker. For a triangle bikini, I’d wear something longer that goes into the cleavage. For a full bathing suit, I’d choose a bracelet. Generally, any layered, skinny necklace would be perfect for the beach. From our collection I would choose the “Avish,” “Tribeca,” “Santiago” or “Dana.” They’re made of metal so they do heat up in the sun, but wouldn’t burn since they’re not too big. I suggest not sitting in the sun, or taking off the jewels when you do.
MJ: You have a new line coming out, Glow by Lionette.
NS: A friend requested glow in the dark jewelry, so I made her a piece. The idea was great, so we perfected the stone, an alloy of different materials, making it less bright, childish and tacky, but maintaining its effect. People love to see change and process, things that start at one point and end at another. It’s surprising. My next Glow collection will be a play on the negative of the glow against the metal, with shapes appearing in the dark.
MJ: What kinds of women wear your jewelry?
NS: Confident ones, who aren’t afraid of attention, or ones eager to become that. Women who don’t normally feel comfortable wearing big pieces feel comfortable wearing Lionette because they’re elegant and symmetrical, bold but not too busy. My favorite piece is the Andaman Hand Bracelet. My musical background made me think of microphone gloves. There’s a confidence that comes with holding a mic, presenting your fashion. It makes me feel empowered. I think fashion is a way to express who you are.
MJ: What’s next?
NS: Two different lines of rings. Stay tuned for details.
MJ: You’re a big hit on Instagram, with over 15K followers.
NS: Shooting the jewelry all over the world gives them another dimension. When you shuffle the cards of your life, new things happen. I’m inspired by new places.
MJ: Anything else you’d like to tell us?
NS: We’re great supporters of artists, so we encourage and welcome musicians or any other artist to borrow jewelry for their performances.
@lionetteny on Instagram
Originally published March 2014. Updated May 2016.