Photography by Carmen Bamba
New York-based designer Jesse Marlo has been making jewelry since 2014, creating unique pieces with a timeless, bohemian and luxurious spirit. The brand believes in passion for life, exploring the world and claims that every day is a celebration: la dolce vita. Her collections have been featured in countless publications, and you can find her pieces in Net-a-Porter, Moda Operandi and Farfetch, among others.
When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career as a jewelry designer?
When I was 13, I inherited a family heirloom from my great-grandmother, Miriam, who survived the holocaust and after whom the "M" in Marlo comes from. It was a diamond and pink ruby brooch that left me awestruck, and from that moment on, I was obsessed with the notion of creating my own precious treasures.
Who have been your biggest mentors and what is the best advice that has ever been given to you?
My father is my mentor from whom I’ve learned everything about business. My great-aunt, Toby, who was an antique jewelry dealer and taught me about quality and the history of jewelry. Finally, my godfather, the president of Fila who just passed away, gave the single best piece of advice. He told me to share my inspiration and tell my story and the rest will fall into place.
What was your biggest fear when going out and starting your own line?
There was no fear, I just went with the flow. I just always knew I wanted to start my own line and it all happened organically.
Where do you for inspiration when working on a new line?
The world! I am inspired by art, travel and people. My apartment in New York is like a cabinet of curiosities, with treasures collected from around the globe, all of which have inspired the pieces I create.
The La Trouvaille collection was inspired by visiting the streets of Mexico City, the Medina of Marrakech, the souks of the Middle East, and the color, sounds, and smells of Jaipur. Desert Rising is an homage to the southwest, from Sante Fe to Marfa, TX, where we co-sponsored Ballroom Marfa’s Haroon Mirza Stone circle installation. Our Je Porte Bonheur collection is inspired by Paris, where I lived for three years.
I recently met James Turrell and jokingly mentioned that I am on the JT world tour. So far, I’ve visited his instillations in Naoshima, slept at the House of Light in Japan, Zouz Switzerland, Scottsdale, New York and Long Island. There's a feeling of light and peace of mind that goes into every piece of Marlo Laz.
Right now, I'm inspired by a certain Villa I encountered last summer on a road trip along the Apulia Coastline...stay tuned.
What is your favorite part about being a designer?
Getting to take our collectors on a journey around the world, spreading love, luck and light. We get the most amazing messages from our clients letting us know how much they love their pieces, the joy they receive from them and how empowering or inspiring they are to them. That's the coolest feeling!
How do you want women to feel when wearing your Marlo Laz?
Empowered, inspired and toujours très chic! The Marlo Laz woman walks the world to the beat of her own drum and our jewelry is meant to accompany her on that journey.
If you had to take one piece of all you’ve designed until now, which piece would it be?
I’m a "more is more" person, so I would have to choose two.
The first would be our La Trouvaille 5 Coin Necklace. It's the piece of a lifetime, which I literally never take off. We have clients from 28 to 79 years young who have designed their own and absolutely cherish their bespoke 5 Coin, engraving special dates, initials, and sayings on the back side and incorporating their personal birthstones on the front. It's timeless, ageless and like its name, a lucky discovery that will never go out of style. It also takes our collectors beyond borders, featuring international symbols of love and luck that regardless of what language one speaks, everyone can relate to. You can wear it with your Alaniu and with your Chanel, on the beach or black tie — literally from dawn to dusk.
Secondly, our "Eyecon" series were the first pieces I ever designed, and while now we have many iterations, the Je Porte Bonehur Eyecon Ring is my favorite of all time. The Brazilian Jade we use is just so sexy and mesmerizing to me and the tourmaline center stone has this element of surprise—some days its more blue, other days more greenish. "Je porte bonheur" is inscribed in our bespoke font on the side of the ring as a reminder to let the love, luck and light in to your life. And while people look to the eye for protection, as I do as well, it also symbolizes the third eye — a reminder to let your intuition guide you as well as to be curious and keep your eyes open. Diana Vreeland said it best: "The eye has to travel," and we’re here to ensure that it does.
How would you describe Marlo Laz in 3 words ?
Cultivated, Vibrant, Enchanted