Months after Maria Tash brings her jewellery line to the Middle East, the designer and fine jewellery retailer talks to a&e about expanding into the region, her earliest memories with jewellery, and the trend she is loving right now.
Maria Tash opened a store in the Dubai Mall in late 2018
From the moment she attended a jewellery making class as a child accompanied by her mother, Maria Tash had found her passion in life. After years of studying abroad and exploring her options, she decided 21 years ago to make it her profession, too.
In 1993, she opened her first studio in Manhattan, New York. And now all these years on, she has stores in London, Dublin, Rome and Dubai, too. Not long after opening up shop in The Dubai Mall, Maria talked us through her decision to launch in the region, and what makes it unique.
A&E Interviews Maria Tash
You launched into the Dubai Mall in December – what has the expansion into this region been like for you?
I am particularly proud of my expansion into the Middle East because we had to figure out medical licensing, as well as the training, vetting, and visas for the international staff, along with all the challenges of establishing a freestanding location. I am thrilled with the design of the store, and it is one of the most beautiful we have, worldwide. It is also one of our top performing stores and the majority of sales are from Emirati women.
Why was it important?
To have a store in such an important and international location as The Dubai Mall’s Fashion Avenue and to be alongside other luxury houses was a very important expansion in terms of brand positioning. It is important as it allows me to work with the wonderful local Emirati clients and other clients located in this important part of the world that we couldn’t easily reach before. Reaching these clients gives me the freedom to design pieces with larger stones, which I find liberating as a designer.
Moving into The Dubai Mall was the natural first step into the Middle East, as it is a hub for international travel, as well as a centre for luxury fashion. I love Dubai for modern architecture and it has such a great link between East and West.
Born in New York with stores all over the world… What’s unique and different about the market and audience in this region?
I am thrilled to be able to design bold jewellery pieces and have an audience for my work in Dubai. The clients in the Middle East appreciate the same pieces I wear myself – pear and marquise diamonds, charms, and groups of these stones. Clients are not afraid to go bold.
What else do you like to do when you touch down in Dubai?
When I first touch down, I like arriving at a luxury hotel to freshen up and then go for a quick swim. But I really look forward to getting to the store as soon as possible. It is very important for me to see the dynamic between the clients and staff and make sure the experience for clients is optimal. I need to spend a lot of quality time with management, and whenever I’m in town there are press appointments. Outside of swimming and spending time at the store, I like shopping!
Tell us about how your fascination with jewellery began?
As a child, I would layer on many of my mother’s necklaces to wear simultaneously. I took an evening adult education jewellery making class with her at age nine, and we had fun and I made basic bracelets. Eventually, on my own, I would purchase silver wire and make finger rings, and then as a teenager, I crocheted a purse out of silver wire.
As I got older and was inspired by the fashion rule breaking punk and goth music scene as well as Indian jewellery, my interest in jewellery mixed with piercing and I started making single earrings and navel jewellery. Living in Manhattan and London I’ve been privileged to have access to some of the best jewellery in the world, and I’ve attended many fine jewellery conventions which had a large impact on my evolution as a designer. Over twenty-five years later, this interest has evolved into a signature jewellery and piercing aesthetic.
What’s the most sentimental piece of jewellery you own?
There are two pieces. The first is a large yellow gold bracelet from my grandmother. She wore it all the time and I remember as a child watching her cooking and kneading dough in her kitchen. With each movement mixing ingredients, the bracelet would make noise and move around her wrist. I would admire it, play with it, and associate it with her wonderful cooking. I inherited the bracelet and I treasure it. The second piece is a large black diamond bead necklace I bought for my mother. Unfortunately, she only got to wear it once. I think of her every time I see it.
What’s a piercing trend that you love right now?
I love the hidden, non-interactive location of the high conch placement, as well as the quick healing and flattering high placed stacked first ear lobe piercing.