Jewellery lovers across the world no doubt have heard of Maria Tash. For nearly 20 years, the brand has been the go-to for finessed piercings, for dainty hoops and eye-catching studs, alongside more playful – yet always impossibly elegant – chain connectors, cuffs and ear climbers. In 2018, the brand launched its first store in Dubai Mall, now operating a second in Mall of the Emirates, and launched its first Kuwait store in 2020. Showing no sign of slowing down in the Gulf, Maria Tash made its Saudi Arabian debut with a Riyadh this May, opening in the slick new VIA Riyadh development. At the helm of it all is Maria Tash herself – a native New Yorker who regularly travels across the globe visiting her stores in seven countries. Here, founder Maria Tash shares her hometown must-visits, holiday jewellery and accessories tips and what’s always in her handbag.
You’re a native New Yorker – tell me your favourite thing about the city?
The wonderful thing about Manhattan is all of the options. You can find anything and everything here. From countless cuisines to esoteric items and countless services, everything is within a 14-mile radius. I love that you can get lost in the woods of Central Park, and then walk into a building two blocks away and take an elevator to be 70 floors above the city. It’s amazing and diverse.
I also love the natural fast pace of Manhattan – it makes you very productive. Everyone has a direction and everyone is trying to achieve something. The beautiful diversity of people from all ethnicities impacts how you see the world.
If someone had 24 hours in NYC, where would you send them?
First, decide what food you want for lunch and dinner and book in advance. There’s great cuisine from all parts of the world in Manhattan. Once lunch/dinner are figured out, I would stop at Maria Tash. Spend a good two hours getting styled or pierced.
You should also travel to the Museum Mile on the Upper East Side and special art exhibits in Chelsea. We have some of the best museums in the world, and most are within walking distance. You’ll find beautiful works from modern Japanese sculptures in Chelsea to the great Flemish paintings in the The Metropolitan Museum of Art (the MET) and Frick. If you feel inspired by the museums, I highly recommend a stop at Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Phillips for the unbelievable art you can buy. You cannot miss the shopping. All of the standalone designer boutiques have unique apparel and accessories you won’t find anywhere else. Most importantly, don’t forget to save some energy for great NYC dance club nightlife.
What is your road most travelled?
For work, I walk a lot in Soho – Broadway, Crosby and Canal Street since our headquarters and boutique are located in that area. For leisure, I walk along Central Park South, Fifth, and Madison Avenue. For food, I love the options by Columbus Avenue.
Tell me about the opening of your Riyadh store. What drew you to the region and the city?
We had a very successful pop-up store in Riyadh in 2021, and I am familiar with Saudi clientele from our UAE stores and our store inside Harrods. I believe that we have created a strong customer base because the Maria Tash experience is unlike any other. The elevated experience is a synergy between the quality and uniqueness of the jewellery, the inventiveness of the styling and piercing locations, and the ease of the piercing experience.
We were invited to join the Via Riyadh project early in its conception, and I liked our luxury brand neighbours, and we were offered a nice position in the mall right near the St. Regis hotel (which is one of my favourite hotels). The mall itself is very new right now, and I think it will grow into one of the premier destinations for luxury in the region.
What is your favourite thing about Riyadh?
What are some key pieces for a summer wardrobe? Do you have a favourite piece you can’t travel without?
On a plane, I always wear my cream-coloured Loro Piana cashmere cape because it is cosy and comfortable. I never rely on aeroplane blankets.
For summer wear, I love silk chiffon. You will always see me in a variety of colours of silk chiffon tops. I opt for long sleeve blouses to protect my tattoos from the direct sunlight; that is how I have kept them in good shape over the years. I complement my look with leather shorts and a great belt to show off a slim waist. Tall boots with open toes are very stylish, especially when coupled with shorts or a skirt.
What would your tips be to someone looking to experiment more with jewellery?
Use the new Tash Studio to create your own look, visualise it, and design it exactly how you want it. It’s a wonderful tool, so you don’t have to rely on anyone to design your vision. You can also start with a pre-curated look from Tash Studio and then add or move pieces around to fit your own style.
What are your favourite jewellery pieces? Are there any pieces you recommend for holidays more than others? Are vacations a time to be more experimental with your jewellery choices?
The great thing about Maria Tash jewellery is that you can wear the pieces continuously and you don’t have to worry about bringing too many different styles because you can mix pieces in different ear locations for a different look daily. You can easily wear everything and not stress about putting pieces in the hotel safe. A Curated Ear® is not seasonally dependent but I recommend wearing your hair up in hot weather to show off your look, especially since many of our pieces have beautiful backings that you can see from behind the ear with your hair elevated. If you’re going to a warm climate, bust out the navel pieces and body chains or add an anklet.
What’s first in your suitcase when you’re packing?
My contact lenses and beauty products – all my jewellery I carry with me and don’t pack them.
Do you have an in-flight (or mid-travel) routine?
It’s important to get up and stretch your legs, even if you have to rouse the person next to you. You’ll find me moving my legs every hour.
What’s in your handbag?
I still have a big multifold wallet, phone, matte Armani lipstick, long bobby pins for my hair (it is always partially up by the end of the day), gum, a baby brush, and a mechanical pencil.
Where’s on your travel list this year? Any new destinations or old favourites?
I just returned from a jewellery show in Vegas. Florida – Palm Beach, Naples, Bal Harbour – are next on my list, and the Hamptons one or two weekends for sure.
I also want to go to Riyadh when everyone returns in the Fall. From there, I will head out on a tour of my stores in Dubai and Kuwait.
Where is a destination that you visited and fell in love with?
Bal Harbour. I love waking up and hearing the ocean. At the St. Regis, you can open the doors of your room and feel the breeze. I don’t ever sleep with a fan on, as there is something magical about sleeping with the doors open next to the ocean.