Designing Lives: Moritz Glik

BY BETH BERNSTEIN

Published in the January/February 2012 issue

A self-taught jeweler, Moritz Glik's passion for the history and character of period jewelry has combined with his sharp eye for proportion to create a jewelry line that has recently become the talk of the designer jewelry world. His signature collection features diamonds and precious stones "floating" within their settings, and has been showcased in magazines like W, InStyle and Cosmopolitan and worn by celebrities including Rihanna, Mila Kunis and Jennifer Lopez, among many others. "I am always exploring how to take my favorite elements from various decades and turn them into distinctive styles -- contemporary, stylized yet ultimately versatile," says Glik. 

GROWING UP "I was raised in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. As a teenager, I had an idea for a pair of sandals that I thought would be very chic for my mom. I went to work on them on the sewing machine. After the first pair, I had new ideas and made a bunch of styles as well as a few handbags."

THE NEXT STEP "A friend of a friend approached me about investing in my collection, and we opened a shoe factory together in 1985. We had a great staff of 20 employees, and then problems arose between the government and Brazilian businesses."

COMING TO AMERICA "I had a real desire to come to the States and arrived here in 1991. I began designing belts and working for minimum wage in a factory in Brooklyn."

THE JEWELRY CONNECTION "I worked my way into a full-time job with Meryl Waitz, who made home accessories and jewelry, and it was there I began watching how jewelry was made. This was fashion jewelry, but I became fascinated by how intricate the work was and what went into creating it. I bought a bench and some tools and started doing bench work by trial and error. Believe me, at first there was a lot of error."

DESIGNING FINE PIECES "I honed my skills working in fine jewelry for other designers while designing a small collection in my spare time. I became fascinated by antique jewelry. I studied the history of the Georgian through the art deco eras. Finally, in 2005, I launched a full scale line under my own name."

THE INSPIRATION "I am inspired by antique and period pieces, but the challenge is always to get them to look new and modern, not to copy what's from the past but just to be influenced by certain details and elements. I also look at museum exhibits, people on the street wherever I travel, architecture, the movies and anything related to art."

EVOLUTION "I am continually trying to ensure that all my jewelry is comfortable for women. What is the use of a pair of earrings being beautiful to the eye if they are too heavy to actually wear? These are the things I will always think about and that drive my collections."

DESIGNER'S PICK

"This cuff is my favorite, because the design is inspired by a very square watch with this wide black strap that I used to wear during my teenage years. I call this one the Watch Bracelet."

"The contrast of sterling silver and yellow gold and the tiny bead-like texture has become my trademark. This may sound crazy, but the labor behind it takes forever, and I really enjoy that part."

"Another accent of the bracelet is that the setting is close to being invisible (the way I like) and very secure."

Q&A WITH MORITZ GLIK

What is your favorite vacation spot?
"Rio de Janeiro. I have family and friends there; it's like my home away from home."

If you could have any other career, what would it be?
"I would do something else in the arts. Either a painter or sculptor."

Tell us something about yourself that no one knows.
"I'm a total choco-holic!"

What is your hobby?
"Swimming. I might not have done it professionally for many years, but I'm still totally addicted to it"

Do you like to cook?
"Yes, I like to cook, but these days I have been so busy at the bench that I haven't turned on the stove. When I do have time, my favorite dish to make is vegetarian quiche."