Get on first name basis with MARLI New York.
Maral Artinian is a designer and entrepreneur hailing from a family whose history in fine jewellery goes back a century.
MARLI New York was born out of wanting to give modern women an opportunity to wear fine jewellery every day. Inspired by the buzzing energy of the big city, her pieces have an architectural feel with all the classic codes of exquisite craftsmanship.
Having lived in Asia, Europe and the Middle East, she recently opened her first GGC flagship store in the Dubai Mall fashion avenue and already has a loyal celebrity following including Kylie Jenner and Jennifer Lopez. Below, she talks us through her creative process and why the women in this region are so savvy when it comes to jewellery.
How has your family background in jewellery shaped how you design today?
My family has been in the jewellery business for over a century, thus I was born in this industry and I feel it is part of my DNA. I used to spend my afternoons after school working at my father’s jewellery store. I loved watching the craftsmen in our factory creating masterpieces with such an impressive attention to detail. I still spend a lot of my time in our factory monitoring the production and creating new designs. It is such an inspiring place!
What prompted you to launch your very own line?
During my travels, I realised that women of my generation are independent and dynamic and that there was no fine jewellery designed to be readily worn for what could happen next. With that in mind, I created MARLI New York and started creating fashion-forward and versatile pieces that make women feel confident from morning to evening, whether it be at work, dinner or a red-carpet event.
What makes it unique?
There are several factors that make MARLI New York unique, but I would say the magnetic relationship between our pieces and the customers is the most unique. When a customer sees the MARLI pieces, she has an immediate instinct to try them on and layer them, creating her own personal story. She may have seen a number of combinations on other people but when she sees all the options, she feels attracted seeing the different gold colours on her skin, how the pieces reflect her personality, and how the different stones layer with each other. For me, it’s always a gift to look at a customer experiencing the MARLI pieces and to see the sparkle in her eyes when she discovers the magic behind MARLI.
Describe your design process, from an idea to the final result.
Everything starts from an idea or an inspiration that may come from anywhere. One of my inspirations has always been New York City and the dreams this city uniquely represents. However, my main muse has always been the women I encounter. I am fascinated by the variety of their styles and instantly feel the instinct of finding the perfect way to compliment each of their looks. I then sit with my design team and start creating sketches, followed by 3D imagery. The focus is on the precise understanding of materials and proportions. We manufacture every piece exclusively in-house so I spend a lot of time finding the perfect ingredients to properly reflect my vision. The best reward for me is to hear people love the pieces because bringing a design to life takes a lot of work shaping all the proportions and details to perfection.
How much does the Middle East inspire your pieces?
The Middle East has a special place in my heart, so it was no wonder I chose Dubai to open the first MARLI New York flagship store in the region. The women from the Middle East inspire me more than the place itself. They are incredibly sophisticated and truly understand the quality and craftsmanship that fine jewellery entails. This is a constant exciting challenge for us: if a Middle Eastern Woman doesn’t believe in the quality of the pieces, they just won’t buy it but, if they believe in it, they will withhold their loyalty to you and will find your pieces no matter what.
How do you want the women to feel wearing your jewellery?
I want women to feel like themselves. The MARLI pieces are not meant to empower women but are made to celebrate women, their individuality, and to exalt those women that captivate because they are authentically themselves and are relaxed and confident about expressing that.
Sustainability has become important for many brands, what is MARLI doing to be more sustainable and ethical?
Fine jewellery is my life and I have high ethical standards, therefore promoting more environmentally, socially and ethically conscious manufacturing is embedded in the ideals of our brand. In general, I believe that jewellery is among the most sustainable form of fashion since they are timeless and last not only for a lifetime but can pass through generations and generations.
Which pieces from your collections do you wear on repeat?
The pieces of the MARLI collections are made to be layered together, so I like combining pieces of different collections. For example if I want to tell a different lengths story, I wear the Rock Charm Necklace and the Avant Pendant Necklace with either the Avant Long Chain Gold Necklace or the Cleo Long Chain Necklace or the Cleo Love Pendant. I also love to layer the bracelets from our Cleo by Marli collection because they are the same distinct design but come with many different colours and sizes, so it’s always a unique combination. Currently, I wear a lot of the Cleo Long Chain Necklaces. I like mixing multiple necklaces from the signature line with different stones and diamonds depending on my outfit and my mood.
What should we keep in mind when styling jewellery?
I would say, surprise yourself. I do not like predictability in life or in style, so I do not like obvious combinations. For example a ‘bon ton’ look (such as a little black dress) may be expected to be seen with stud earrings, while I would wear it with a cuff earring. Feel good – a person feeling good, looks good, so feel free to express yourself, feel free to irradiate your audience, and wear what makes you feel like you are owning your look. Have fun – enjoy the moment while picking your combination and enjoy building your look. There is no right or wrong, there is only you telling your personal story.
We love to layer and stack jewellery, what are your tips?
The key rule is to create a story, not a list. In this period, I love playing with hoops earrings, combining different sizes, gold colours, and stones. To give you an idea I find it super cool to wear the Cleo Diamond Huggie Earrings in all the three gold colours on the same ear. The idea of mix and match with all the different gold options is why all our pieces come in yellow, white and rose gold. If you want to create a different length story, I like to wear the Cleo Diamond Hoop Earrings with Cleo Diamond Huggie Earrings on the same ear.
What I love about mixing and matching earrings is that these hoops are fun and cool, you can wear them with T-shirts and jeans, with a more elegant outfit, or any look will gain that unique personality. The key things to consider when choosing the right rings to layer are to make a balanced combination which may include having a statement finger and having the others framing it. An example may be wearing the Cleo Full Diamond Statement Ring balanced with a smaller Cleo Wrap Ring on the pinkie. I also like to add a pop of colour (for example with the Cleo Wrap Ring or the Cleo Statement Ring which has many stone colour options) or play with different diamond shapes. I love the Rock Twin Ring for example, which has the duo of the oval and pear diamonds with the Chelsea Diamond Ring. Don’t be afraid and have fun!
MARLI New York boutique can be found in the Dubai Mall fashion avenue.