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Artist

Maral Rapp's lifelong focus on art, design, and craft, commitment to personal style, and obsession with vintage clothing were all firmly in place by the age of nine, and still drive her today. Following a career in graphic design, she is now fortunate to live them all daily in the creation of this singular, metal mesh jewelry.

Drawn to the flashy, fluid metal of Mid Century and Art Deco mesh purses, Maral looked for a way to incorporate the iconic bags in a more wearable, daily style. Presenting swatches of the reclaimed mesh as small jewels detailed with precious metals, her pieces allow you to appreciate the iconic material in a fresh, accessible way. Glittering fragments of a bygone era, the resulting works are rich in history yet decidedly modern—as sustainable as they are chic.

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Process

Metal mesh from vintage and antique purses is carefully deconstructed, re-engineered, and hand linked with precious metals to form contemporary, wearable pieces of jewelry. The articulated mesh fabric has very specific physical properties and successful jewelry designs must be executed within a variety of constraints. Encouraging the fluid material into pleasing, stable shapes is an ongoing study of tension and release, always with a focus on gravity.

Earrings employ hand formed armatures to display the mesh as flat, open canvas. Framed Mesh pieces draw lines of dark chain around the borders of gold mesh elements—all hand linked—delivering graphic impact but also providing finish and structure to the mesh shapes. Joinery around these elements is soldered or welded directly chain-to-chain, without any bulky jump rings, drawing smooth, uninterrupted lines throughout the work. Detailing is always kept minimal and discreet to best feature the beauty of the iconic mesh material.

Hand crafted in Oakland, California in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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materials

Pieces are finished with oxidized sterling silver, 14 karat gold filled, 22 karat gold plated vermeil, and select vintage brass. Earrings are always 14 karat gold filled or sterling silver.

Metal mesh purses are exclusively signed, Whiting & Davis and Mandalian bags—the iconic brands—all manufactured in the United States and Canada. Chipped, torn, tarnished bags are sourced from antique dealers, estate sales, and flea markets—the mesh selection ranging from antique, heavily worn patinas to newer, bright finishes. Reclaimed mesh is silver or gold plated brass dating from the 1890s through the 1980s, the earliest versions including colorful, originally hand painted enamels. Certain pieces are offered in new metal mesh, also exclusively Whiting & Davis, which is still produced in Massachusetts on the company's original machines from the 1930s.

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care+storage

Even if you love a rustic patina, it's best to remove the mesh jewelry before sleeping, swimming, or bathing. Always apply lotions, perfumes, and all grooming products before jewelry.

We have washed the vintage mesh before use but if you ever need to clean it, just lightly buff the pieces with water and a cloth, or a soft toothbrush, if necessary. Thorough drying is very important, particularly for the older mesh. To dry the inside of the links, use light heat from a blow dryer or place in bright, direct sunlight.

Earrings are best stored alone, protected in their own spot or hung on a hook. While metal mesh material is not particularly fragile, the individual links do have very small tines that can become bent. In addition, some of the older enamel paint finishes will continue to wear over time. Necklaces can be stored any way you choose, but a hanging necklace is always less prone to tangle.