Jewellery designer MARYAM HAROON is on a mission to make pearl jewellery appealing to all.
Tell us a bit about yourself and what brought you to Singapore.
My background is actually in finance, nothing to do with jewellery! My first job was on the trading floor of a brokerage house. It was intense. When I was pregnant with my first child, my doctor advised me to “get out of the boiler room”, which I did.
It turned out that finance wasn’t my true calling anyway. After a short stint as a kindergarten teacher, I discovered a knack for fashion, colours and jewellery. My friends say that I can see potential where others can’t.
Why pearls, and why Maarz Pearls?
In our travels, I observed that pearls were often viewed as boring, or only for older women. My vision is that they can be worn by anyone, at any age, and so I became inspired to make them funkier and more exciting by combining them with other materials. When I started this project in 2009, I named it Maarz Pearls because my husband calls me Maarz for short. Since then, I haven’t looked back.
Tell us something about your collections and what inspires you.
I release two to three seasonal collections a year at key times like Hari Raya, Christmas and Deepavali, as well as one special limited-edition collection. Although I’m strongly inspired by the vibrant culture of Southeast Asia, inspiration can come at any time and from anything around me. Sometimes it is personal, and the brand feels like an extension of my own style and emotions. My designs combine lustrous freshwater pearls with semi-precious stones, silver and 18-carat gold. I design each piece, which is then crafted by skilled workers in China, Pakistan and Cambodia.
Which is your favourite piece and why?
Though I gravitate towards combinations of pearls and turquoise stones, my favourite piece is one of the very first necklaces that I made for myself, and it doesn’t follow that theme. I combined a simple square coin pearl with a circular coin pearl for the design – pearls of different shapes, each unique in its own way; perfect geometrical contradictions bound together by their similar shades. It’s the necklace that started my brand, and it still gets many compliments.
Tell us how your designs can be worn.
They can easily be dressed up or down, and pair well with anything from casual weekend outfits to office wear or formal evening attire. I believe there’s something for everyone, whether you like big, chunky jewellery or prefer something more subtle. Through Maarz Pearls, I want to break the mould and show that you can wear pearls however and whenever you want to. My mantra is: if it feels good, it looks good!
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