Marla Aaron Shares How Her Signature Locks Have Evolved

Who knew a hardware store staple could morph into something so refined and whimsical?

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Under the imaginative eye of Marla Aaron, sparkly diamonds, glossy enamel and colorful inlay cast the utilitarian lock in a flattering new light. A fascination with carabiners, plus a penchant for the industrial, laid the groundwork for the New York-based collection, which launched in 2013.

Since then, Aaron has expanded her offerings to include convertible disc earrings, modular rings and wearable objects (such as a chair charm that benefits the pandemic-era restaurant industry). From engineering the perfect closure to developing a functional pulley that transforms chains to brainstorming unconventional points of sale (see: vending machine), it’s clear that innovation runs through the veins of the brand. Each piece can be worn in a plethora of ways for a highly customizable and personal look—one that’s destined to be a conversation starter.

Designer Marla Aaron

You are known for your locks. Describe how you reimagined the silhouette for the piece that’s in the campaign. How special is it to work with natural diamonds?

Marla Aaron: We are in a constant state of always improving the locks and coming up with new ideas. This particular lock, the Allstone Regular Lock, did not originate as a diamond lock. The first iteration of it was in pavé garnets with a ruby baguette closure. And we loved it so much that we decided to do it in diamonds. We love the idea of a big delicate lock versus a big chunky lock. We love that idea in diamonds.

A diamond platinum chain feels like such an extraordinary luxury. At 30 inches, it can be doubled and it can be worn casually or extremely formally. And this to me, is the height of longevity in a woman’s jewelry box—this idea that something can be both. That’s one of the most beautiful things about diamonds. They’re so durable and really a workhorse.

With your extensive collection of locks, charms and chains, the styling possibilities are endless. Do you have a go-to combo?

MA: I do not own every piece in the collection as much as people think that I do! I only have one diamond lock that is part of my personal collection, the platinum and diamond baguette lock. In the same vein as the platinum and diamond chain, it’s this very durable and beautiful object that is resourceful but also luxurious.

I usually have this lock on this [Meander] chain, but because I want to wear my chair every day, I have it on a pulley, along with a rock my son found me when he was very little.

Marla Aaron Diamond Stoned Handmade Chain in platinum. Starting at $13,750
Marla Aaron Allstone Regular Lock in 14k gold and 4.16 carats baguette and pavé diamonds. $19,000

What’s your favorite thing to design?

MA: I am very partial to the “Fiddling” series. It was mostly not locks. We’re moving into some very interesting territory. I recently, with De Beers, designed my first engagement ring with a center stone. For me, it is when we can do something that I feel is absolutely, markedly different. When I can do something that’s totally different, that is what I’m really excited about.

Fine jewelry and charms often bring to mind a specific sentiment or milestone. Do you have a favorite jewelry memory?

MA: I will never forget the day when I was 13. My mother took me into the city, brought me to Tiffany and she bought me a silver bracelet. I can summon that feeling immediately—like, oh my god, understanding how huge it was. I’m now responsible enough to wear really nice jewelry. It’s all an experience, having fine jewelry, passing it on and understanding that the bracelet will end up on a wrist with other things, including little rubber bracelets, which I probably wore at the time. Grown women do this too in our own way now… we wear fine jewelry in ridiculous ways!

What’s on the horizon for you? What’s next?

MA: We spend so much time when we release something totally new, like the Trundle Lock Ring, you know we’re not leaving that alone. I’m really excited for Lock Your Mom this year. This will be our sixth year of doing it. We’re giving away 1000 locks to deserving single moms across the country for Mother’s Day. It’s bigger than it’s ever been for us. It’s also our 10th anniversary next year. I don’t want to give anything away but if you’ve seen us do it, then we’re doing it again in a bigger, more interesting way. We’re excited about it.

This interview was edited and condensed for clarity.

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