If you find yourself unable to break your gaze from an extraordinary piece of jewelry around the neck of an A-list celebrity, chances are it’s a one-of-a-kind jewelry creation by ARIDO. With rarity of materials and exceptionally unique design as its cornerstone, the ARIDO brand was conceived out of an auspicious collaboration between two deeply creative individuals: Thomas Chappell and Jesse Raphael.

Virginia-born Chappell has a background in fashion, art and music history. Now, living in Hawaii, Chappell’s prominent styling career for top celebrities has earned him multiple awards and global recognition. He brings to the ARIDO collaboration, among other things, the ability to curate relationships with an elite, luxury clientele. Jesse Raphael, whose is deeply rooted in the jewelry trade, dating all the way back to the eleventh century, has a comprehensive—to say the least—understanding for precious stones and how to manipulate them into wearable works of art.

Aquamarine, black opal, rubies, pink tourmalines, jade, sapphires and, of course, diamonds are among the rare stones derived from all corners of the world for use in ARIDO’s designs. One might say it was Chappell and Raphael’s mutual love for travel inspired this far-reaching quest for such exquisitely rare stones. Because of the genuine nature of these valuable gems, ARIDO’s price points linger in the neighborhood familiar only to the most discerning clientele.

Like the stones themselves, acquiring a one-of-a-kind ARIDO design can be quite the pursuit. The prestigious brand thrives purely by word-of-mouth and there are no “stores” to speak of where one might peruse the product. Each piece is assembled by hand in the U.S., often New York, and is available to view and purchase by appointment only. The idea of this exclusivity is based on the desire to cultivate personal relationships between the gems and the clients, which was the intention from the very beginning. And, rather than circulating collections that are launched based on trend or season, ARIDO releases pieces one-at-a-time, based solely on availability and time of completion for each, individual creation. Most recently, ARIDO completed for its own personal collection 24 karat gold rings embedded with gem rubies and diamonds.

The collaboration between Chappell and Raphael that matured out of a longtime friendship has now clearly flourished into an iconic brand fit for photo shoots, red carpets, and pure admiration from those who appreciate only the exceptionally rare.

As far as the future potential for finding ARIDO in a store, or perhaps one of its own, we were teased merely with the statement, “To be continued.”

Text by Jennifer Moulaison