Maria Tash is always up to something. The body piercer and fine jeweler has released a new collection of jewelry, inspired by her college-aged hairstyle.
The collection pays homage to Tash’s larger-than-life mohawk hairdo while she was enrolled at Columbia University. “I was inspired by the music and punk Goth scene of the era. When I thought of ways to iterate on the spikes of my old hairstyle, it occurred to me to put black in the center and white pavé on the sides, just like I’d bleach the sides of my hair,” Tash said.
In recent years, Tash has used new collections as an opportunity to explore innovations in diamond and stone cutting. She has delved into her history within the goth and piercing communities to cut new shapes; like translating the stainless steel spikes popular in ’80s East Village piercing parlors into diamonds that hang from the ear like foreboding icicles.
For the mohawk-inspired collection, Tash wanted to remain authentic to her original hairstyle with long black spikes. Diamonds, however, were not up the task — and were turning out brittle or uneven. Tash turned to Moissanite — a stone that is growing in popularity as diamond prices rise due to a ban on Russian-origin stones.
“They have highly refractive and reflective properties, which make it a good cousin to diamonds. We were having so much trouble with diamonds [while developing this] that someone suggested to me that moissanite would be more doable. I always knew of them in the quiet distance,” Tash said of the stone.
But she doesn’t see moissanites eclipsing diamonds in popularity anytime soon. “Diamonds have so much panache in the market and there is a lot of big money behind them. It’s great though that we have more choices now, with lab diamonds, natural stones and even moissanites.”
The designer’s new styles accompany recent releases like classic Tash styles set with stones that are new for the brand — like emeralds and tiger eye. The designer said the latter stone is part of her larger plan to appeal to more male consumers.
“Tiger eye is something that was popular in the early ’90s and had more of a gender-neutral appeal. Men’s is now growing strong for us, it’s something from the early ’90s that is coming back more and more and we target a lot of male musicians and athletes wearing our jewelry,” she said.
All of Tash’s new styles will be steadily released in drop formats through early next year. The jeweler is also planning new retail rollouts early next year, including a renovated, expanded space inside Harrods and a store in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Despite some analysts’ dim projections for next year, Tash said she “has a more optimistic outlook. I feel like we sailed through COVID[-19] pretty well, although our stores had to be closed and that was an impact. The Middle East is a region I feel strongly about now because of the Russian and Chinese tourists there, I’m very pleased with that region. I feel pretty confident, we are a self-purchasing business and I think people will continue to buy things for themselves.”