One of the most frequent comments I get from friends who follow this blog is “wish you featured something more affordable once in a while!”. So, I am going to let you know about a jewelry designer who believes that great style and beautiful workmanship is not just the domain of fine jewelry–she creates stunning pieces that are crafted of sterling silver and 18kt gold plating, with beautifully cut stones that are gorgeous in their own right. Melinda Maria has a vision and is making women happy, one piece of fashionable jewelry at a time.
Melinda Maria’s Story
Melinda’s story begins with an obsession with her mother’s jewelry box at an early age. This led to designing ad hoc over the years, for herself and friends, until launching her own jewelry design company in her 20’s. She is totally self-taught, with an instinctive feel for colors, shapes and how they combine. Her designs now straddle the fine and fashion jewelry worlds, with items that are well-made enough to hand down, but still affordable enough to collect in a big way.
The Jewelry of Melinda Maria
Melinda Maria’s line of jewelry includes earrings, rings, pendants and bracelets in a number of organized collections. Perhaps most well-known is the Pod collection, where organic concave ovals join together in a myriad of ways that is fresh and wearable. You’ve seen this collection on Julia Roberts, Christina Applegate, and Vanessa Hudgens. The Gwyneth collection features a marquise-shaped “pod” at it’s core, with lots of fun variations, with and without colorful CZ gems. Goddess jewelry features shimmering hammered paillettes, often in long lovely lines. And there are always new, textured, colorful designs being added throughout the year. With target price points ranging from $50 to $200 (a few select items might be a bit more), there is a ton of scale, workmanship and personality in each piece.
These are items you can buy without impunity, then reach for again and again. It’s real jewelry crafted in silver and plated with precious 18kt, with quality clasps and details you would find in the world’s finest jewelry.
The Interview with Melinda Maria
idazzle: I love your philosophy of making people happy and confident by adornment, and that something as simple as a piece of jewelry can bring people together. How did it happen that you started your own jewelry design company?
Melinda Maria: I have always had shiny object syndrome since I was a little girl. I was obsessed with my mothers jewelry box, always trying to make my own with her loose pearls and beads. So it was a hobby/obsession of mine making jewelry from about 10 until I actually started Melinda Maria when I was about 27.
I love it: SOS (Shiny Object Syndrome)! What is your background?
I think I have spent more time studying stones and design on my own rather than formal training. I am totally self taught.
Where does the inspiration come from for your new collections?
EVERYTHING can be inspiring! I walk through my days with my eyes wide open because I can be inspired by so many things that I run into in my daily life. I don’t just have to be in an exotic place–I could get inspiration from the produce section in the grocery store! Shapes, colors, and textures in anything can translate to art, so I am always looking.
Your designs have appeared on so many celebrities and fashion personalities, your name is almost synonymous with the people who wear your designs! Why do you think your designs resonate with people so strongly?
Wow thank you! That is quite a compliment. I can only say I design pieces that I know I will feel special and beautiful in so I guess that translates to other women feeling the same way in my pieces!
Tell me about the charities that your company supports.
There are so many! My most recent is CURA Heart Africa necklace which 100% of the proceeds go to CURA orphanage organization in the village of Cura, Kenya, a residence for children who have lost their parent to AIDS. The orphaned children range from ages 4-13 and CURA is a complete care facility which covers all the children’s food, clothing, education and most of all a place to call home.
Would you ever create a special fine jewelry collection using precious metals and gems for your loyal followers who want to take collecting to the next level?
I started out with doing a fine line. For me as a designer it wasn’t as fulfilling because I like big bold pieces and in fine they were costing $10,000- $50,000 and I love designing and seeing it on women who buy my pieces. So I realized in the marketplace there was a void of costume jewelry that looks and is constructed like a fine piece of jewelry but most women can buy. So all of my pieces are pieces that you pass down to your daughters because they are all crafted with the care of a diamond and gold piece of jewelry.
What jewelry are you wearing right now?
An arm full of my bangles and my tiny pod hoops in turquoise…I am ready for Spring!!
Any jewelry trends you want to predict for 2011?
Lots and lots of bangles!!! Big and bold looks.
Well, Melinda certainly has bold looks covered! I appreciate her aesthetic AND philosophy of making beautiful, fashionable jewelry affordable to any woman craving a little pick-me-up. Her various philanthropic efforts through jewelry are also inspiring. Melinda Maria has arranged for an EXCLUSIVE 30% OFF courtesy for idazzle.com readers! So go ahead and indulge: visit Melinda Maria at www.melindamaria.com, and use the code IDAZZLE30 at check out from February 7th through February 28th, 2011!