Saturday, March 1, 2014


18K Gold Plated Crescent Earrings (Top Left);
18K Gold Plated Chaos Ring (Top Right);
Oxidized Sterling Silver Castro Ring (Bottom Left); and
Sterling Silver 1925 Necklace (Bottom Right)
At just over 100 years old, The Little Mermaid sculpture, located in Copenhagen, Denmark, is a popular tourist site.  

In fact, Copenhagen is ripe with a variety of places to see whether media related or scientific.  Denmark is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Maria Black.

If you are looking for jewelry design with a little grit then look no further than Black’s fashion jewelry brand MBJ (a/k/a Maria Black Jewellery).  

MBJ boasts what I believe is the signature Danish aesthetic: classic form with nuance.

Black’s designs of 18-karat gold vermeil and oxidized sterling silver highlight strong geometric shapes with punk or tribal details. 

Items like her Art Deco styled 1925 Necklace or Chaos Pendant Necklace are beautiful representations of clean structure; while her stunning ring collection is a showcase of versatility. 

When worn alone the open cuff-like design of the Peak Ring provides subtle edge. However when combined with the flat pyramid setting of the Zoe Ring the visual becomes tougher; more rock-n-roll.  To me the combined ring styles particularly reflect the duality of the wearer: smooth and rough; gentle and harsh; placid and unforgiving.

A master goldsmith, who apprenticed with seasoned metalsmiths from 2005 to 2009, Black developed an appreciation for clarity of form.

“You will probably never see flowers or bright stones in my collection,” the designer admits.  “In general my design approach is very pure.  I prefer the precious metal to be the medium without the distraction of gemstones.  I do use tiny, white diamonds in some of my pieces but it is minimal.

I focus on uncluttered lines, geometric formations, subtle textures, and repeated patterns.  I think of my aesthetic as street chic elegance.”

Black’s love of repetitive patterns is powerfully displayed in her Diamond Cut Collection.  Items from this collection showcase a special technique that “allows up to 460 facets” on the surface of 14-karat white and 18-karat yellow gold metal.  The end result is the “illusion of tiny, sparkling diamonds.”

Black’s seamless blend of ferocious sophistication is perfectly aligned with the haute and gritty imagery of feature film The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.  Actors Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss), Jena Malone (Johanna), Meta Golding (Enorbia), and Lenny Kravitz (Cinna) each wear one of Black’s pieces.

“Seeing these characters in my designs is a thrill!  They are fighters and my designs easily move between delicate to dramatic to feminine to fierce.”

With prices currently at $72.50 for her exotic Goma Ring and $1,268.79   for her Diamond Float Reverse Earrings, there is a design to fit different budgets and personalities.

In fact the MBJ woman ranges from the simply sexy Scarlett Johansson to the down-to-earth beauty of Norah Jones to the unpredictable style of Rihanna.

“Interchangeable designs are my signature concept.  Pieces can be combined in different ways, forming new shapes and patterns.  My aesthetic is the love child of gritty London and cool Scandinavia.  My pieces appeal to women who are playful and have an innate love of clean design.”

Oxidized Sterling Silver Zebra Ring
2014 Jewelry Trend AlertBlack’s sexy cool jewelry brand is not without some of the year’s style trends.  They include chains, punk details, layered rings, and ear cuffs.

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