Designers / Industry

How I Got Here: Marie Lichtenberg Defies Imitators With Originality


Motherhood brings joy and contentment, but it adds a level of responsibility that can weigh someone down. For Marie Lichtenberg, becoming a mom destabilized her in what turned out to be the best way.

“Everything flipped in my life in just a period of months,” Lichtenberg says. “I fell in love with a beautiful man. I got pregnant. I got pregnant again. If things had changed so much, I decided I might as well change along with them.”

Fatigue from long nights with her babies mixed with restlessness proved the right formula for Lichtenberg, who says her desire to create jewelry arose during this chaotic period.

Maire in India
A 2019 visit to India gave Marie Lichtenberg the initial gemstones she used when creating her brand. She calls the trip one of the most important ones of her life to date.

Lichtenberg thought about what she had going for her. First, she had a fashion background from her work at Parisian magazines—Lichtenberg had been a fashion editor of French Elle for 12 years. She knew how to spot trends, and she understood the marketplace. Next, she had a supportive spouse. Plus, she had a strong aesthetic thanks to her mother, who’d owned an antiques store and taught her about jewelry.

So Lichtenberg took time to consider what she wanted to do within this new season of her life. “As a mother, you go straight to the point,” Lichtenberg says. “I wanted my life to be in jewelry, but I was so disorganized. Thankfully I had a nice husband who told me to do what I love and that I should express myself.”

Once again, mothers and motherhood proved to be the catalyst. Lichtenberg’s mother had given her a favorite piece of jewelry—a chain Creole women wear to represent the cost of freedom. Lichtenberg says she wanted to give her daughter something similar and decided this was the inspiration for what she would do next in her career.

Marie Lichtenberg locket
Marie Lichtenberg’s signature lockets typically have symbols, like the evil eye on this hand-painted Eye Will Protect You locket ($3,940) in 14k yellow gold with diamonds and sapphires.

Everything came together in 2019 when Lichtenberg went to India, set up her manufacturing relationships, and formally started her brand. One of her first jewelry pieces was the Love You locket, an intricately detailed pendant that took off like a rocket when she posted a photo on Instagram. Whether she was ready, Marie Lichtenberg was officially in business.

“I had no plan,” Lichtenberg admits. “But I had a wonderful team behind me. That gave us freedom. We had space. We had no boundaries. So when I launched my line, I knew I had to do something uniquely me.”

Many people have copied Lichtenberg’s locket designs, which she regards as both a tribute and a challenge. Her response to the imitators was to create a collection called Raiz’in, which replicated her lockets in fashion jewelry form. It debuted this month and has already sold out.

Marie Lichtenberg Raizin
A locket in the Raiz’in collection, which Lichtenberg says gives her customers a fashionable yet affordable version of her work. 

Lichtenberg calls Raiz’in a “perfect counterfeit” that maintains her craftsmanship and high standards for jewelry. Rather than gold and gemstones, Raiz’in pieces are made of gold plate, food-grade glitter resin, and polyester cord. They come in four colors and still look like a Marie Lichtenberg design, but are more affordable at $240.

She is donating a portion of the proceeds to the Rafaël Institute, the leading European center for integrative medicine, which supports patients and their caregivers during and after cancer treatment.

“For once, counterfeiting will help to fund a good cause,” Lichtenberg says.

Top: Marie Lichtenberg says motherhood and a supportive family were inspirations behind her jewelry brand, which has grown beyond her expectations. (Photos courtesy of Marie Lichtenberg)

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter

Follow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Twitter: @jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Facebook: @jckmagazine
Karen Dybis

By: Karen Dybis

Log Out

Are you sure you want to log out?

CancelLog out