Inside L.A.'s New Secret Fine Jewelry Space
An appointment-only shop from the jewelry designer with fans like Gal Gadot, Jared Leto, Madonna, and Johnny Depp debuts in WeHo.
On the 8300 block of West 3rd Street, between an outpost of Australian skincare brand Aesop and a shuttered juice shop, is an unmarked storefront with white papered windows that appears to be vacant. Lean in a little closer and you’ll see the peephole. Look inside and you’ll see a line of rotating hooks draped with diamond bracelets like they are the catch of the day.
You have to be an insider to know that this is the new appointment-only Maor fine jewelry boutique dubbed “The Space” from local jewelry designer Maor Cohen, whose shop M. Cohen Designs is just a few doors down. You can only gain access by filling out a booking form that requests basic information along with birth date, time and place to allow for a pull of pieces that synch up with your birth stars. That’s because the luxe unisex jewelry line, released about eight months ago, is inspired by the cosmos.
Edgy meets elegant in the debut Saturn collection of bracelets and rings that mixes polished geometric hardware in 18-karat gold or silver with white and black diamonds. The 97 designs (ranging from $3,000 to $60,000) are broken into sub-collections, such as Perihelion, inspired by the orbit of celestial bodies with angled links that symbolize strength and opposition. Clients suited for that collection are born when the earth is closest to the sun, two weeks after the December solstice. Those with birth dates occurring when the earth is farthest from the sun, two weeks after the June solstice, synch up with the Aphelion collection. Gal Gadot has already snapped up a choker; Edgar Ramierez and Ashley Greene also own some of the new Maor pieces.
“The Saturn collection is inspired by the universe and its movements, through a trip I had to Joshua Tree a year-and-a-half ago; the moment I touched the gold and diamonds, they spoke a different language, so I started a small project that evolved into this,” says Cohen. “It feels a little bit more special and unique, but no one knows it except you.”
The one-on-one shopping experience begins with an order to “just breathe” and shut off your phone before viewing a film and exploring a curated offering of the collection in a Zen environment designed by Cohen, from the metal mesh curtain and marble displays to an arty mirror and modernist lighting.
It all started when Israeli-born Cohen was 13 years old. “I would play with my mom’s necklaces, take them apart and build new stuff for me,” says Cohen, a passionate surfer and adventurer. “From there, it just grew to be a thing. Everywhere I went I had a small box with pendants, beads, wires; when I met people around the world, I would make them a friendship bracelet.”
Designed to be layered, as if souvenirs picked up along a global surf journey that tell a story, the jewelry is intended to be passed on, notes Cohen, who is major into Burning Man — he’s hosted a big camp there (with guests such as Jeffrey and David Katzenberg, P. Diddy Combs and Gerard Butler) for the last 7 years — and adopts its philosophies, such as the spirit of gifting.
“My intention when I launched the brand was to change a man’s perspective about wearing jewelry and accessories,” says Cohen. “The average guy is usually wearing just a wedding ring and a watch, so I created playful elements for him to express confidence and color.”
After a 15-month surfing stint in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama in 2006 that ended in L.A., Cohen ended up falling in love with the city and decided to stay. Stumbling across a film set in Marina Del Rey a couple years later, Cohen (donning piles of his own jewelry, self-described as “bohemian chic”) caught the attention of a stylist, resulting in Johnny Depp buying pretty much every piece. Jared Leto, Madonna, Gerard Butler, Jeremy Piven, Lauren Hutton, Chris Hemsworth, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, Orlando Bloom, Robert Downey Jr., Reese Witherspoon, Jon Bon Jovi and P. Diddy have all accessorized with M. Cohen, made in L.A. down to the cutting of the beads and stones in an on-site design studio. M. Cohen bracelets (often sold in stacks), necklaces, rings and wallet chains start at $165.
Cohen describes the new luxe, sculptural Maor line as “very clean and timeless with a tiny twist of an edge.” This collection is produced “90 percent” in L.A. after being set in Paris, because Cohen could not find a local factory able to produce his orbital diamond designs. It's also sold at Maxfield in L.A. and a handful of high-end outlets such as Bergdorf Goodman, Dover Street Market and Mad Lords in Paris. As to what's next, Cohen hints that a wedding collection may be in the works.
Maor, The Space; 8366 1/2 W. 3rd Street; West Hollywood