Marie Lichtenberg: Creating Happiness

Debuting in 2019, Marie Lichtenberg's eponymous brand quickly became one of the most acclaimed and talked-about names in the industry by 2023. The designer shares her philosophy on authenticity

  • Marie Lichtenberg, Designer

    Marie Lichtenberg, Designer

In a recent article in the National Jeweler, you were defined as jewelry’s “It Girl” of 2023. How does it make you feel and what, in your opinion, led them to make this statement?
That’s a tricky question to answer. In my opinion, being “it” obviously means we can then be “out.” I'm not very comfortable with the concept of “trends” especially in the jewelry business. I hope our creations will withstand the test of time. It's hard for me to explain why the National Jeweler defined us like this, but I have faith in the fact that we've managed to be innovative while still embracing commercial success. I know that linking the two can be challenging.

In the same article, you said that you founded your eponymous brand “because I needed to be free of familiar grounds to build a new solid foundation: a new beginning”.Can you tell us more about that?
I was going through a tough time both personally and professionally. I decided to make a big change in order to have a better life. I needed to take on new challenges and learn a new profession. I had been dreaming of jewelry for decades, afraid to make my dream come true but that’s what happened.

Again in 2023, you won 1st place in Best in Innovative at the Las Vegas Couture Design Awards. It wasn’t the first time and they crowned you as the Couture Darling. You seem to have achieved incredible results in the past year. What was the biggest?
Simply existing in this fabulous industry is an enormous gift for us. Four and a half years ago, I started without knowing anything about this business. Nothing! We now work with the most wonderful craftsmen in the world, this is our biggest achievement.

How can a piece of jewelry be magic?
Magic is in the wearer. We believe our pieces can seem magical.

You founded your brand in 2019, not so long ago, but your creations have already captured the attention of jewelry trendsetters. What do you think is the secret of your rapid success?
I believe my ignorance of the industry was my greatest advantage. I started creating with no knowledge of the market rules or production methods. I simply followed my instinct with the utmost authenticity. Something completely escapes me regarding the success of this design; I still can't explain it. What I do know, however, is that I put all my heart into the design process without even thinking that a business could emerge from my designs. No boundaries, no price point, nothing but the happiness of finally creating a piece of jewelry.

 MarieGold Horseshoe ring with diamonds and sapphires.

Your “Love Lockets” design has been one of the sector’s mostcopied. Your reaction was to launch the very interesting “Raiz’in” project: a line of lockets created with the same standards as the originals, but produced using less expensive materials at a lower price point. A way to fight counterfeiting and, at the same time, donate money to charity. Has the project achieved its purpose? Will there be a follow-up?
Raiz’in has been an incredible adventure. We had so much fun. We knew it wouldn't stop counterfeiting, but speaking out on the matter in an irreverent and useful way was, in my opinion, a good response. We sold 4,000 pieces in 4 days. I'll never forget the launch on the website; we were in tears at the office. We managed to raise a lot of money for the Rafaël Institute, the first European center for integrative medicine that supports patients and their caregivers for free, during and after cancer. So, we spoke out, made people happy, laughed and cried. A crazy adventure. We are working on a new launch in 2024.

In jewelry, counterfeiting certainly causes damage, but it also contributes to strengthening the iconicity of a certain design. And how do you feel about that? And what do you think might be other ways to fight it?
The counterfeit problem in the early months of our journey pushed us towards more innovative methods, more complex craftsmanship and commercial expansion. The immediate commercial success of our locket gave us the means to defend ourselves and immediately hire lawyers. But after the shock and anger, we realized that counterfeiting had, in fact, canonized our locket around the world even before our genuine locket arrived on the market, which is incredible. We are still defending all our designs now, but, more importantly, we keep moving forward towards greater innovation and complexity. We believe that this is the most constructive response to counterfeiting.

Gold and black enamel Mushroom scapular with diamond

  • Gold and enamel Mushroom chain with sapphires; gold and diamonds After the Rain Double scapular.

    Gold and enamel Mushroom chain with sapphires; gold and diamonds After the Rain Double scapular.

  • Gold Check Locket with diamonds and rubies

    Gold Check Locket with diamonds and rubies

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