Based in Portugal, Catarina Militão is the brains, power and creator behind MIL Jewellery. After living in London for years perfecting her jewellery making skills, she moved back to Portugal and launched her brand in 2018, fulfilling a lifelong dream. Catarina loves the creative and design process of making her pieces. Using sustainable and responsibly sourced materials, all of the MIL collections are handmade in her studio, using traditional and manual techniques. The collections are a combination of modern design and craftsmanship, expressed in simple and elegant lines, geometric shapes and minimalism.
Inspired by numerology, Catarina names her pieces and collections after numbers. The ONE Collection symbolises the motivation of action and birth of creative ideas. The SEVEN Collection hopes to inspire its wearers to “seek happiness, think deeply, search the truth.” The NINE Collection is inspired by the tagline: “let it be magical, let it be sacred, let it be heaven...” and the TWELVE Collection aims to make its wearers “stay positive, be confident, let your dreams come true…”
How did your brand begin?
After finishing my degree in Product Design and specialization in jewellery, I went to live in London for 6 years and worked with different designers, did courses and perfected many techniques. After moving back to Portugal, I felt the need to create my own brand and give shape to this lifelong dream of mine.
When did you first fall in love with jewellery and knew you wanted to become a designer?
Since very little I've always been involved in the artistic world, inspired by my parents and grandmother. When I was 12, I had a WOW moment after finding out how jewellery was made - from that moment I knew that I wanted to be a jewellery designer.
The ONE Collection
Where do you get inspiration for your designs?
I love the design process, from the first drawings to the final piece. I'm inspired mostly by geometric shapes, simplicity, patterns, and I'm fascinated by numerology. That's why all MIL collections are named after numbers and their meanings.
How is your jewellery made?
All of the collections are handmade in our studio, using traditional and manual techniques.The collections are a combination of modern designs and craftsmanship, expressed in simple and elegant lines using sustainable and responsibly sourced materials.
The SEVEN Collection
How do you want someone to feel when they wear your jewellery?
I would like them to cherish and love their jewellery - feel sophisticated, confident, adventurous and special.
What has been the highest and lowest point of your career so far?
Having my work recognized is always very satisfying - from an award to a customer's feedback, any recognition has the same impact. The only down side of the job is that sometimes is very lonely - you need to be very persistent and focus on your goals.
The NINE Collection
What music do you play in the studio whilst you’re working?
It really depends on my mood and what I'm doing on that day. It could go from jazz on office days to more commercial music or funny podcasts when I'm on the jewellery bench producing.
What's your favourite quote?
I always try to see the positive and the learning experience from everything in life, so often I have to remember that "Not all storms come to disrupt your life. Some come to clear your path."
The TWELVE Collection