Since leaving French Elle, where she spent 12 years as a fashion editor, Marie Lichtenberg has been building her own brand of jewelry and apparel, pouring her 1970s-style aesthetic and irreverent style into a highly original range of fine jewelry that’s rooted in the traditional jewelry of her mother’s Martiniquan culture. She’s best-known for her Love Lockets, the finely crafted 14k gold locket clasps featuring symbols and phrases chosen for their emotional value; love tokens designed to be handed down the generations. Paris girls stack them high, and she’s now stocked in Bergdorf Goodman and Twist amongst others, alongside her own thriving ecommerce outlet.
“My love of jewelry came from my mom,” Marie tells me, describing the hollow gold forçat chain that her mother gave her as a teen, that are traditionally worn in Creole culture to represent emancipation. “There’s a very deep symbolism in there,” she says, “and I wanted to be able to give my own daughter the same piece of jewelry that I had. Launching my jewelry business wasn’t easy, but it was a natural step, it was about doing something for myself.” Her most recent addition to the range, are her scapular rings, rectangular, ridged gold and diamond rings with the same brand of whimsical enamel and gemstone motifs as her emblematic lockets.
Designed by Marie in Paris, Maison Marie Lichtenberg appeals to the need for jewels with meaning, that reflect aspects of the wearer’s identity and are charged with sentiment. Her uncompromising approach to quality has led her to source best-in-class craftsmen around the world; her chains are hand-made in Italy, and she has sourced artisans skilled in intricate arts like guilloché, enameling and ciselure, to bring her colorful aesthetic to life.
To her Love Lockets, now sadly much-copied, she has gone on to add all jewelry categories, including poetic feats of engineering like the Orb necklace, a gold globe that opens to reveal an enamel heart quivering on its trembleuse, good luck charms designed to be worn with her ever-expanding range of chains, cords and hand-threaded strings of beads and pearls, and earlier this summer, colorful diamond and enamel double-sided scapular pendants.
In June, Marie took her soulful jewelry to Couture Las Vegas, and came away with the Best in Debuting Couture Award, for recent work including the Vivons Heureux and Every Little Thing is Going to Be Alright lockets, which both open to reveal a carefully crafted surprise inside. In a continuation of her distinctive, witty approach to design, her new scapular rings are bold and irreverent, chunky yet feminine, featuring heart and Evil Eye motifs, as well as the D*ick in a Box ring, which comes with a tiny yet perfectly formed diamond treasure nestled inside. A cheeky illustration of what happens when French sensibility meets haute craftsmanship.