Accessorising with the stars: 5 minutes with Hollywood's bling queen Melinda Maria

61 Melinda Maria Dublin

Changing your look doesn't have to mean planning an entire outfit - something as simple as a necklace, earrings or a statement ring can make all the difference.

With awards season just around the corner, we caught up with Hollywood "Bling Queen" Melinda Maria to chat about her celeb-favourited jewellery brand and how to make the most of accessories in 2016...

How did you get into designing?

I started my obsession with sparkle when I was a little girl. I would always care about the jewellery before the outfit.

I found myself spending all my free time down at my local stone stores and bead shops where I got to make jewellery. I eventually started having little parties and selling it here and there. When I was working in LA I was a part-time makeup artist and would sell jewellery part time. I would sit in different Starbucks on the weekend and women would come in to get their coffee and buy my products.

When I met my husband, who is an incredible businessman, he said I needed to be a master of one thing instead of a jack of all trades, so I said I wanted to be a jewellery designer. He helped me get a business plan together and I dove in head first.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

On one end it’s about looking at what’s selling and what the customer wants. From there I pull photos, create mood boards and sit and sketch. I usually sit at a busy café in Los Angeles or wherever I am and see people walking around and what they’re wearing, then I step back and look at which ones are practical to make, which ones will sell and which ones will be my hero pieces.

celebrity collage melinda maria

Who was the first high profile person to wear your jewellery?

Celebrities started wearing my stuff really early on. Julia Roberts was really the first big A-lister that wore and talked about the jewellery. She went on Oprah and featured the brand in her ‘My favourite things’ edit and we gifted the audience with bangle sets – that was a big game changer. Now a week doesn’t go by where we don’t have two or three big celebrities wearing the pieces.

However, I don’t design for celebrities – I design for a strong, confident woman. I want a woman to be able to have self-purchased jewellery that looks and feels expensive, but she doesn’t have to break the bank to buy it. I want everyone to have access to that.

What is it about your brand that has attracted celebrities?

I think it’s just the design – it’s fresh, fashion forward and sophisticated with a little bit of edge, and I think for the most part that attracts most celebrities. The other day Amal Clooney wore some of our earrings – she really embodies what Melinda Maria is. She’s powerful, sophisticated and sexy at the same time. Fashion is very transformative.

There’s also an interesting climate change of what is appropriate to wear with haute couture - I remember Elizabeth Banks at the premiere of The Hunger Games wearing a $98 pair of our earrings with her couture dress. These are some of the most powerful women in the world who can wear whatever they want are still wearing $98 and $68 pieces of jewellery. To me that’s really cool.

Melinda Maria, £349; Available at Fenwick Bond Street

Melinda Maria, £299; Available at Fenwick Bond Street

Melinda Maria, £119; Available at Fenwick Bond Street

Melinda Maria, £39; Available at Fenwick Bond Street

Melinda Maria, £49; Available at Fenwick Bond Street

Melinda Maria, £109; Available at Fenwick Bond Street

Melinda Maria, £129; Available at Fenwick Bond Street

Melinda Maria, £69; Available at Fenwick Bond Street

Melinda Maria, £39; Available at Fenwick Bond Street

Melinda Maria, £79; Available at Fenwick Bond Street

What are your most popular designs?

I started with organic pods which have a concave shape that look like sand. The pods have blasted, torched gold and remind me of holding something precious, like jewellery, in your hands. Then I did an edgier collection with pyramids that are classic and chic with a bit of an edge that did really well.

How can you make sure you don't over-accessorise?

If you like delicate jewellery you can layer, but if you’re layering necklaces, wear a tiny stud you can barely see. I would never wear a big earring with a necklace. If you want to do statement, pick one area of your body and go light on the rest. Statement laureates like my snake necklace are always sexy. 

By Alison Millington