Jewelry Fit For a Queen

Eddie Borgo’s Cleopatra fixation.


Eddie Borgo’s inspirations have ranged from New York’s underground infrastructure to Carlyne Cerf De Dudzeele’s over-the-top styling—and the Atlanta-born jewelry designer meticulously researches them all before creating a single piece. For fall, he tackled Cleopatra, using Stacy Schiff’s acclaimed biography Cleopatra: A Life, as a starting point. “What I found interesting about her is that she has a Hollywood persona that’s so fantastic,” he says, “but in reading this book you realize her life—with its riches and power—was even more so.” Simultaneously, Borgo also began looking into the few existing artifacts that the Queen of Egypt might have owned or commissioned, and made multiple trips to the Egyptian wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art to study more closely the stones and closures used on jewelry at the time. The resulting collection is bold and modern, incorporating jade (then, a precious rarity), howlite (a marble-like stone), and onyx (which was more common), as well as powerful iconography such as the scarab, eye of Horace, and solar disc and cow horns on Isis’ headdress, which Cleopatra, wanting to be venerated as a goddess, often wore. “They’re just graphic shapes,” says Borgo. “But they have incredible significance.”