Paris-based Marie Cabirou, Founder and the Creative Director of jewellery brand Marie Mas, breathes life and soul into her kinetic fine jewellery creations.
A young brand, born in 2017, Marie Mas has already caught the attention of critics and connoisseurs of the jewellery world.
Marie talks to Solitaire about her knack for developing new patented techniques that help her to introduce movement in her chic lines, her journey from Dior to the present, and her recent collaboration with the Indian jewellery collective brand Ruani in Mumbai.
Marie Cabirou’s jewellery offers fun, frolic and surprise. The Paris-based designer is obsessed with movement and most of her kinetic designs are patented for special technical effects.
A graduate from the prestigious École Duperré (college of art, design and fashion) and IFM (French Fashion Institute) in Paris, Marie joined Maison Christian Dior Couture with Raf Simons in 2012, where she honed her jewellery designing skills.
A few years later, Marie decided to launch her own fine and haute couture jewellery brand Marie Mas, as a tribute to her maternal grandmother, Henriette Mas, who influenced her artistic bent of mind.
Tell us about your early years. What was the turning point for you to move on to designing?
I have always loved to imagine things and create them. My grandmother Henriette Mas — my brand name is a tribute to her— was really gifted and she loved embroidery, knitting, sewing; she taught me how to generate ideas and make them come true.
We used to make patterns out of newspaper and create presents for everyone in the family; and we would go into hiding to create things for them all year long, as it was always someone’s birthday. So, I naturally always have wanted to work in a creative area.
When I started studying design, every project I worked on ended up being a piece of jewellery. That’s how I knew it was my path.
You started your brand as recently as 2017, and you have catapulted to fame and are an artist to watch out for. Did you expect your rise to stardom in the jewellery world to be so quick?
That’s so sweet of you, but I honestly don’t really feel famous. But I am very grateful and happy that my brand caught attention and is followed in the world of jewellery.
It’s just the beginning of the journey and I still have a lot to do to keep building the brand in the long term. It’s an exciting adventure!
What were the learnings while working with Dior? And what made you branch out on your own with your eponymous brand?
It was a fantastic job, and I was very lucky to have it as my first work experience. I learned a lot on how things work in a professional environment, the way a major fashion company is structured etc… The fashion shows were also a fantastic moment, seeing the jewels you’ve worked on and developed exhibited in a Dior show is very exciting!
I decided to start on my own because I wanted to work on more technical and sustainable pieces. At Dior, I worked on custom jewellery pieces with 8 to 10 collections a year. It was very, very intense but we didn’t have time to really develop new techniques due to lack of time. Now I develop a completely new patented technique per year and that makes me immensely happy. I love the technical side of fine jewellery and I am grateful to have time to develop it.
I also like the idea of doing timeless designs and I’m glad that work on each collection gets better and better with the passing years.
Using precious material allows me to be more sustainable as well. If you think about it, gold is the only material that no one has ever thrown away, and I use only recycled gold to avoid the process of mining as well.
Your lines are based on diverse inspirations like travel, techniques like swinging stones and more. Tell us about your process from concept to creation.
I mainly work around a concept and a decide on the technique of movement, which leads me to an inspirational theme. Then, I create the colour palette, which, in turn, leads me to the choice of gemstones. It’s a fun process!
What inspires you?
I’m pretty much inspired by nature and everything that moves and is alive around us. I also love the underwater world and it’s an endless source of inspiration for me. The way the fauna and flora move and evolve is very fascinating.
How have you evolved as an artist over time?
I think I take more care about detail now than I used to in the beginning. I think I have also improved on the jewellery side of my work. Earlier, I used to think only about the creativity and concept. But now I have a better vision of the art of making fine jewellery as well.
You love making kinetic jewellery. Tell us why.
I have always been obsessed about movement. For me, a good design has to be alive. I think that designing is not only creating jewellery but creating objects with a soul.
As a designer your hold over technical aspects of jewellery-making is fantastic. How important it is for a jewellery artist to balance the act between being a designer and a technically sound metalsmith?
I think it really starts to become something interesting when you give another perspective to the craftsman, and think of the jewellery in an unusual way, so the technique is twisted by the creative ideas and that’s when it becomes wonderful!
The 18-karat rose gold Queen Wave earrings are set with 354 diamonds totalling 2 carats. The earrings feature reversible settings that allow them to be either worn as a fringe or as a wave with a tumultuous motion.
How long does it take for each piece to come to life?
Generally, between a few months and a year for the realisation of the perfect piece. But in terms of design, I have ideas in my head that are evolving for years until I decide to develop them in the workshop, so from the first idea to the final piece, it generally takes years.
Where does one buy your jewellery?
There are different avenues … but you will have the best brand experience if you visit us at our Parisian showroom. We just moved this year to a brand-new location in the heart of Paris, close to Palais Royal.
Our jewels are also available online in our website www.mariemas.com where you can see our full collections, and you can also find the list of retailers which represent us all around the world.
We actually just started a wonderful partnership in Mumbai with a new store called Ruani Jewellery collective, hope you’ll have a chance to go there. They have a fantastic selection of designers!
What is a day in the life of Marie Mas?
To be honest, my days are more of entrepreneur’s kind of days … every day is different, and that’s what is exciting!
When you have a brand, there is so much to be done in different departments – from design to sales, and from marketing to production. But my goal in the future is to dedicate more time to creating pieces and developing new techniques.
What are your hobbies?
I am very lucky to live in Paris and to have access to amazing artistic productions of all kinds … I love to watch dance and music shows, discover new exhibitions … it’s all very inspiring. For example, last week we went to see the dance show “Pixel” with kinetic light games from artists Adrien M and Claire B, it was fantastic!
If not a jewellery designer, what would you be?
That’s a good question. I think might have been a kinetic sculptor or maybe an oceanographer.