Designer and maker Maria Dorai Raj has become known for her bold, striking designs which fuse traditional and modern techniques to produce beautiful items of jewellery which are influenced by nature, art and other design disciplines such as architecture.
Maria recently returned from International Jewellery London, a trade-only jewellery fair, where she launched her new Siren collection garnering positive feedback from buyers and designers alike.
Maria says that her new collection draws inspiration from “the darker side of femininity” and explores “the powerful allure of the femme fatale figure”.
The collection is characterised by sleek, elegant curves which are informed by the sea; the curves then flow into sharp, knife-like points and glistening surfaces which Maria describes as revealing “silhouettes of a captivating predatory allure”.
All of Maria’s past collections have played on the notion of strength in various guises －either in the themes behind the collections or through the making process itself.
Her previous Plexus collection was inspired by the muscles of the human body in the sketches of Leonardo da Vinci while her Celestial collection drew on the beauty and splendour of the cosmos for inspiration. With the Siren collection Maria wished to align that notion of strength with a female figure.
“For the Siren collection I sculpted each piece from wax and then had them cast in sterling silver or gold, using an ancient technique called lost-wax casting,” she explains. “I work in a very intuitive way when sculpting the wax and, while I have an idea of what I am looking for, I let the form emerge and follow its flow, rather than work closely to a plan. I find this helps to capture some movement and energy in the final piece.”
When asked to choose one key piece from her new jewellery collection Maria selects her Cascade earring － a beautifully curved earring that flows down the ear.
“I like its versatility,” says Maria. “You can wear it with or without the long chain that loops from the back giving you the option of a more edgy or more glamorous look.” The removable chain is attached with two small jump rings that loop onto the back bar of the earring and can be removed to achieve an alternate look.
Statement and mismatched earrings have continued to be a major trend in recent seasons with international design houses such as Alexander McQueen, Fendi, Balenciaga and Marni creating single statement earrings or pairs of earrings which are mismatched yet complementary in terms of gemstones, shape or style so that they can be worn together or as individual pieces.
In keeping with this trend,Maria Dorai Raj suggests pairing her Cascade earring with another from her collection － the Ceto which is also available in silver or nine carat solid gold. “The Ceto earring compliments the Cascade as it has similar curves,” says the designer.
Whether worn together or as individual statement pieces each earring offers the design-savvy customer a contemporary style update and complements the rest of the Siren collection beautifully.