Photographed by Jake Jones

Photographed by Jake Jones

 

MARIA
BLACK

IF NECESSITY is the mother of invention, then jewelry designer Maria Black’s fear of ear piercing certainly helped her create her iconic ‘twist’ earring.


MARIA BLACK HAS AN IRRATIONAL FEAR: ear piercing. For a jewelry designer with a penchant for creating beautiful earrings that veer away from the traditional, this seems like an ironic proposition. But for Copenhagen-based Black, that’s exactly what she’s afraid of most. In fact, her signature ‘twirl’ earring (which twists through the lobe to look as though you have a second piercing), was created so she didn’t have to face the piercing gun. “My thing is to come up with really weird stuff for the ear," she says. "You need a doctor’s degree just to work out how to wear the jewelry.”

"MY THING IS TO COME UP WITH REALLY WEIRD STUFF FOR THE EAR. YOU NEED A DOCTOR’S DEGREE just TO WORK OUT HOW TO WEAR THE JEWELRY."

After following her friends to Ibiza, Black started dabbling in jewelry making, creating basic, string pieces perfect for days spent nude on the beach and nights dancing under the stars. An apprenticeship with a Scandinavian designer followed, before Black created her line of delicate and petite jewelry and introduced it to fashion boutiques in London, where they pounced on the delicate and different jewelry line. Consider her pieces the antidote to that thin line between fashion and fine jewelry that is currently taking over the accessory world. Her delicate earrings twist and twirl around the ear like vines, and their exquisite craftsmanship elevates everything they’re paired with—from a simple black t-shirt to a crisp white blouse.

Photographed by Jake Jones

Photographed by Jake Jones

For Black, earrings have always been an obsession. “In the ‘80s, animal-shaped wooden earrings were really big, I had a whole aquarium of them," she recalls. "My mum was always buying me earrings and dressing me up. I drew a lot and wore my grandmother’s earrings.” 

"I kind of work in the old school Georg Jensen tradition, which is using metal as your means of communication..."

 

Black’s silver and gold pieces are paired only with black or white diamonds—she prefers to keep color out of it. "I kind of work in the old school Georg Jensen tradition, which is using metal as your means of communication. You use different color metals to convey something, especially shape and texture. I’m not a multicolored rainbow wave girl.”  As such, her sophisticated gold and silver pieces are standouts on their own, relying on chic and elegant design to set them apart from the crowd. For Black, beauty lies in discovering the design tweaks that give her pieces a quiet kind of elegance—without the extra piercings.

 
1. What do you eat for breakfast?
Coffee. It’s just the only thing I want when I wake up.

2. What's the last thing you do before you go to sleep?
Kiss my boyfriend.

3. If you could have any super power, what would it be?
I would definitely want to fly.

4. What is your spirit animal?
A golden retriever. Enthusiastic, but a bit daft.

5. What is your greatest creative achievement?
I feel like I’ve just peaked every time I finish a collection. It’s a happy and sad moment every time a design leaves the nest.

6. If you could swap lives with anyone in history (alive or dead), who would it be?
The life and legend that was David Bowie.

7. What is your favorite song?
It changes all the time! At the moment I am back to Hey Now by London Grammar.

8. Favorite artists?
Rodchenko, Le Corbusier, Bowie and Else Neuländer. Among others...

9. If you could wear one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A smile :-)

10. Any hidden talents?
I am incredibly talented at getting lost. If it weren’t for the phone GPS I would still be roaming the streets of London in bewilderment.