It may be Fashion Week right now, and while I never tire of the innovation coming down the catwalks, at my core I am mainly pre-occupied with that which is timeless – the motifs and designs that were cool, are cool and will always be cool.  That might be why even though I was sitting in a black-light tinged avant-garde presentation last night (Don’t worry I will write about that once I get my thoughts together), I was literally grounding myself with the weight of my silver.  As the new came down the runway, I was safe knowing that the centuries of classic style were on my side anchoring me against the tides of fashion.

No single brand better sums up this idea of timeless motifs and undying cool than Big Black Maria.  It has and hopefully will continue to be one of the favorites among the hardcore in the Japanese silver scene, offering classic designs from around the world, packed with details and served barely polished in the understanding that you may as well present silver in the form it will be after it has been dug up from a shipwreck or after a century of wear than polish it up for the sake of a year of shine.

The detail is there, the workmanship is there are and proper silver nerds (like me) will enjoy the mix of classic techniques from around the world in the designs.  Whether it is Middle-Eastern silver rope work, silver dot work or even South America carving techniques it is all there as an encyclopedia of talent far away from the mechanical process which brings us certain mainstream silver brands.

I should warn you now that most people who I introduce this brand to do end up striding right off to the Shimokitaza store or Oz Abstract in Harajuku to make a wise investment.

The other stand-out feature of the brand is that rarely does a piece make it to a client before a little custom work has been aimed at it.  From custom engraving, precious stone, right up to ground-up design work, they are open to all offers and would clearly prefer to produce something magical than make a quick sale.

You have also probably clocked that there is a nice amount of brass work in the designs as well, I love it, especially next to the matte silver.

Throughout the brand there is clearly a soft-spot for cats (of all things) and I honestly can’t think of any other designer who has captured them so well.  As it happens the above cat ring might well have been a present for Rebecca last Christmas – who too has an unhealthy love of cats.

Gotta love that phoenix ring, although since I had mine made about 4 other of my good friends asked for it as well.  Not cool!

There is a healthy oeuvre of subjects in the brand as well, gotta love that skull “nosed” Tengu.

Love the mix of stones and cuts in the above multi-coloured ring – great fun.

Well there you go, if you didn’t enjoy that then there is something very wrong with you!  The best news is that for fans abroad not only does Oz handle orders in English for the brand, but he can even arrange custom work if you are struggling with your Japanese.  That is it for now, but rest assured I will have more silver for you very very soon…

PS – Just had to post a picture of the designer of Big Black Maria’s cat:

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