From Craft Fairs to Fashion Closets, Maria Carter creates some must-own looks.
Maria Carter may have found her start six years ago as a simple booth holder at the Fremont Market, but Maria’s Jewelry Designs are less craft-fair and more must-have fashion than you’d initially expect.
Before heading off to pursue a law degree, Maria took her handmade jewelry pieces to the Fremont Market on a whim – and buzz quickly grew among store owners requesting to sell her work. And that demand has continued ever since.
But being a jewelry designer or a lawyer weren’t ever her driving force. Her ultimate goal was always to help women in deprived countries make a living through craft trades. Now the full-time jewelry designer (she opted not to pursue the law degree after all) is doing just that through NEST, an organization that gives business training to women overseas and sells their merchandise online, making it possible for these women to find relative success in their respective trades.
It’s important to Maria that, as she pursues her own passion of jewelry design, other women are able to pursue theirs as well. Everyone has a story to tell through their product, she says, and these women especially have unique stories.
“As a designer and artist you are constantly trying to tell a story,” she explains. And many people who purchase Maria’s pieces (as well as those through Nest), like that there is a history or dialogue there.
“Jewelry is an extremely intimate and personal thing,” Maria says. “[It’s] something that people unknowingly put a certain meaning into, whether your mother gave it to you or you got it for graduation. Rather than simply being flashy and outrageous, you can be connected to your jewelry because it tells a story” both in how it was made or where it came from and how it came to be a part of your life.
Described as “beachy, everyday wear,” Maria’s designs have a just-enough-to-be-stylish-and-not-too-much-to-be-tacky Aztec or Egyptian edge to them.
Exotic in her own looks, people tell Maria “you look like the person who made those.” (A compliment in a city where “exotic” is far from the everyday descriptive.) And it’s just that aesthetic that not only gets Maria’s designs noticed but also keeps her inspired to design more.
Eschewing the trend-driven, she’s proud of the fact that her designs are not something people say they’ve seen before, and nor are they something that people are likely to tire of.
“I think the ultimate goal for a designer is to create something that, when you see it, you have to have it,” she says. “[A piece that is] never going to be a trend. It’s going to be something that is perfect for you, always.”