Text By: Mirvat Ghanem
Interview with the Fine jewelry designer and celebrity piercing expert, Maria Tash.
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How would you describe the Maria Tash brand?
Fine jewellery and jewellery styling that leaves the wearer feeling beautiful, creative, and daring with luxury piercing services that are best in class. I want everyone to leave a Maria Tash store feeling more beautiful via a fun styling and precision piercing experience.
What led you to jewellery? Earrings and piercings in particular?
I’ve always been attracted to jewellery. As a child I would raid my mother’s jewellery box and wear most of her pieces simultaneously to her amusement. Sketching jewellery ideas also started early, approximately age twelve. I attended my mother’s adult education night jewellery class with her when I was a child. The focus on earrings and piercings in particular derives from my youthful participation in the punk and gothic subcultures. They were liberating and I was able to experiment with asymmetric looks. Piercing played a big part in the punk/goth aesthetic and music.
How do you translate the history of the brand in to your designs?
In all of my pieces you can see the traditional body piercing philosophy of “low profile” meaning all jewellery lives very close to the skin so it can live there for years if desired without catching on clothing or hair. I also spent much of the time in the 1990s designing elaborate navel jewellery. Now some of these designs which were once joined by curved barbells, live apart, are scaled down, and reside in different parts of the inner ear. The individual curved barbell components and navel ring designs, were miniaturized and improved. Then I found new places on the body to put them, like worn together in the Tash rook and the high conch. Specialty curved bars I developed for the navel have also been scaled down and applied to the ear, and as a result we have been able to pierce new inner ear locations and create effects not seen before, like a Tash daith.
What have been your career highlights so far?
Opening my freestanding store in Dubai was a significant milestone for me and I am very proud of it. Building a global team that makes my brand’s worldwide expansion possible is what I’m really thankful for, and we’re an extended family.
How would you define the spirit of Maria Tash?
Self-celebrating, confident, courageous, edgy, daring, unique
What makes Maria Tash unique, how have you diversified from other fine jewellery brands?
The attention to detail found in the delicate, small, and sturdy designs. The uniqueness of the types and sheer range of sizes of rings and studs create a wide palate of styling and curation options for true custom fitting and unique combination styling. I created a thin internal threading to apply to the body, invisible diamond setting in studs and rings, and applied the latest in laser technology applied to diamonds to create elaborate and floating diamond effects applied to the body in ways you have not seen before.
What in your opinion is currently the biggest trend in the industry?
I dislike the word “trend” as it implies a temporary condition. I’ve been in the piercing and jewellery industry since 1992, and multiple lobe piercing has always been popular, and rightly so. I would say at the moment “stacked” lobes and staggered lobe designs with tiny studs placed in creative ways around traditional earlobe piercings is having a deserved moment.
How is Maria Tash approaching this trend?
I am working on invisible setting new shapes of diamonds to apply to the stacked and staggered looks so the effect when worn with a traditional lobe piercing is novel and exciting.
How does Maria Tash cater to the celebrity market?
I have been very fortunate in that my brand, located in Manhattan since the early 1990s, was able to reach a lot of stylists, models, and actresses just from organic walk in traffic basis. Working seven days a week in Manhattan for years, enabled the word to spread. I do give a lot of credit to the early stylists I met and worked on, as they would introduce celebrities to my brand. Celebrities would ask their stylists where they got their personal Maria Tash jewellery, then they would come into the store, and the brand grew. This effect was all before social media. Now, I have the privilege to be able to think what pieces would look great on certain celebrities and work with them directly to create a look they love.
What is the short-term and long-term vision for Maria Tash?
Creating new jewellery for our next campaign, and simultaneously grow and expand my retail stores. I’m very excited for the future.
What does success mean to you?
Creating value and meaning in the lives of the people I work with, in the lives of our clients, and for me having fun doing that creation. I love and feel honoured to be able to bring the ideas in my head into physical form, and then having people incorporate these pieces into the body to feel more beautiful, confident, and happy. It is also very significant to me when I hear how the jewellery and piercing experience created a memorable bonding event between two people. This can be between mother and daughter, father and daughter, friends, or partners. Being able to do this globally and have people around the world feel this way while loving the jewellery is humbling and satisfying.
How do you feel when you meet a professional achievement?
I feel a deep sense of accomplishment with a pinch of “ok, now what’s next?”. I think it is always important to set goals and reach high. By the time there is a professional achievement, there is usually years of work or thoughts behind it, so thinking about how to expand to the next achievement keeps my world exciting.
What’s next for Maria Tash in the Middle East?
Store expansions, and more custom jewellery pieces designed especially for the region. I feel like I can design with freedom for the Middle East and feel proud to create bold pieces to have there for an exclusive period of time. Please stay tuned!.