BLOUIN SHOP: Inside an alternative jewelry box

“There’s an emerging fine jewelry market today, with customers who want to express themselves by wearing more alternative jewelry that will affirm their taste, their style, and show a part of their personality,” said Marie Lassagne, accessories director for Le Bon Marché department store in Paris. But making it as a smaller, or emerging independent designer in the fine jewelry business has never been easy. Luckily for their customers, the easy route is not what these designers are after. BlouinShop interviewed a handful of them to learn what inspires their designs. Some have just gotten their break, others are more established, but have hit a growth spurt in recent years. All express a passion for their craft.

It’s very comfortable to work for the grandes maisons, and the more you’re comfortable, the harder it is to set out on your own, I think. So it was the moment for me,” said Marie Cabirou, the 28-year-old French designer behind the one-year-old brand Marie Mas. In her debut collection, “Swinging Stones,” the designer — who previously worked under Raf Simons at Christian Dior Couture — developed a mechanism that allows gems to swing in a domino motion, revealing a new stone and color with each turn or fall that is sparked by the wearer’s own movements. The highly personal creations are often expressed in quarts, topaz and amethysts in graduated shades of pastel pink and light blue on pink gold, and are literally defined by the wearer’s own gestures. Some pieces can be snapped into place to maintain one type of look, and explore different designs. The domino movement of the stones remains soft and sensual, while capturing a sense of playfulness in the materials. These are jewels that beg to be touched, remaining delicate, despite their technical complexity. “I wanted to work on jewelry that felt alive,” said Cabirou, who added that she’s always been fascinated by kinetic art. “Because there’s this movement, you feel a lot more connected to the jewelry.” She continued, “I always look for that added soul that we can find in an object.” The brand is named after the Cabirou’s grandmother, who showed the designer “how to make your ideas into reality.” Prices range from €900 for the swiveling clip earring made of rose gold, topaz, amethyst and diamonds, and reach up to €57,000 for the swinging choker made with rose gold, and 486 stones including quarts, topaz and amethysts."

On this article Marie wears Swinging Earrings.