About Crusoe Jewelry
The Long Island Sound famously inspires New Yorkers to create masterpieces — flip through the pages of “The Great Gatsby” for proof. On a bright summer day a few years ago, jewelry designer Maya Ahluwalia cruised through the Sound aboard her 1971 Mariner sailboat, christened “Crusoe,” and was similarly compelled to make art. She took for inspiration the unique shapes and distinctive hardware of the maritime world, and Crusoe Jewelry was born.
Further inland, in her Gowanus, Brooklyn studio, aquatic visions drive Maya’s designs. Her Greenport Collection interprets in abstract fashion the lapping of waves against a docked sailboat. The Montauk Collection presents a fluid representation of a pelican hook, an enclosure used on a boat’s lifeline to keep crew and passengers safe. The Adrift Collection is an artistic rendering of the chock, a piece of hardware that supports the rope dock line to keep a boat anchored. And the Riverside Haven Collection, created in collaboration with Rocking the Boat, a non-profit that supports Bronx youth, is inspired by a rowboat’s oar lock; a percentage of each sale benefits Rocking the Boat.
Crusoe isn’t Maya’s first foray into jewelry design and production. She began her career at John Hardy, the luxury jeweler known for handcrafted pieces with a strong aesthetic. Maya then transitioned to Gurhan, where she was exposed to all aspects of a burgeoning fine jewelry brand, and held roles in the product design, sales and marketing departments. Following Gurhan, Maya was Marketing Director for LALIQUE, the renowned French glassworks company, where she was instrumental in the launch of their Fine Jewelry collection. She brings to Crusoe the knowledge, quality and heritage of her cumulative experience at these storied brands.
Most ideas begin with a wax model, which Maya meticulously carves by hand. The prototypes then are cast locally in midtown Manhattan's famed Diamond District, and each piece is completed in Maya’s Brooklyn studio. Some designs are entirely handcrafted by shaping sheets of matte bronze and matte silver. By using matte metals and Crusoe’s signature brush finish, each piece develops its own patina over time, doesn’t need to be polished, and is meant to be worn every day and layered with the wearer’s existing jewelry to create a distinctive look.
Whether in Brooklyn or out on the Sound, Maya says, “the spirit of travel and sense of adventure continues to fuel inspiration for the collection, where each design is created with that essence in mind.”