Interview to Mara Bragaglia: to Treasure Emotions, a Jewel after Another

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I “discovered Mara Bragaglia on Instagram. Under every picture, she explains the history of the jewelry she is showing, from the idea to the production, up to the difficulties, always overcome. Sometimes those difficulties are the things that make that jewel a unique piece of its kind. After finding out that she is also the first and only in Italy to work with Fairtrade gold, I was even more interested.

I had the time to look online at all her jewelry line and…I fell in love! Because, unlike many others, they seemed real and sincere jewels; Unique in their features and even materials. Almost if, buying one of those jewels, you could be a part of a little magic.

I wanted to interview her, and then, finally, I had the opportunity to meet Mara. A girl, like the jewels she produces, who is unique. You understand it right away – and not just because she walked through the door with a small Sacher, which happens to be my favorite cake- from her eyes and her words.

A girl, who seems shy but at the same time is a real volcano of words, experiences and things to say. And she says all with a humbleness and a wisdom not that common for people of her age. Maybe it is because of her beloved books or her Philosophy Studies, but I could listen her for hours. At her gab, she combines the sound of her jewels and what she wears and they always move with her.

At that time, I also had the wonderful opportunity to see her jewelry from live, they looked even more beautiful and some seemed to convey something to you, you could almost feel them like a tattoo.

Enjoy our interview with Mara, a girl out of the ordinary: a girl who knows when to stop, that has the wisdom of a philosopher and the allure of Amelie, her words have inspired us and we hope they can now inspire you.

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How did everything start?

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It is a question that seems so simple but it is not. Actually for me it was something already defined, that I liked, I wanted to do it and bring it to a level that allowed me to get close to many people. When I started on March 5th 2012, I did headband (with satin ribbons), but the part that intrigued me the most was to take a picture, a picture that could communicate something and then to wait for a feedback, find a way to communicate.

I studied and still study Philosophy, so it was for me a way to save a little money. But it was a niche product, I didn’t sell anything. Then a headband with a zipper gave me the idea to create a bracelet and I wanted to engrave it, putting together the two “M”.

So I bought a plaque that I engraved, it was simple but I started to have a lot of requests, it was a suggestion by my sister, a genius. Then one day, Valentina Ferragni found me on Instagram (she is so cute) and she went crazy for my creations and asked me to make her one, she shared the photo and I was consequently flooded with requests.

A few months later I opened a website, and because I was “bored” I wanted to try other things, I wanted to engrave silver. As a first test, I engraved my beautiful baptism bracelet but it did not go well. We started with the silver and then one thing led to another, we tried gold and Fairtrade Gold. It helped a lot to get in touch with suppliers, especially the English ones.

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How is working with your family? Did it help you, especially at the beginning?

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The support is so important; it makes the difference. Then there’s my sister in charge of responding to all messages she is so talented.

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In your web page you say: “The jewelry can tell stories, keep emotions and even change the world”, which “storytelling” jewel you are the proudest of?

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Perhaps the acorn; It is the jewel, which in the creation and production has engaged me the most. Many jewels are created in consequence of the others, depending on the response and enthusiasm from people. There is always a story, a need, a utility, a context behind. The acorn has perhaps the best story. A jewel can be useful and can bring value to a context.

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Which jewel has changed your world?

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The simple bracelet with a tag that says “Beyond fear“. I was inspired to take a picture with 3 bracelets, rather than a single one as usual and that picture was a great success on Instagram, it was the one that captured Valentina.

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You study Philosophy and you are a great reader, what is your favorite book?

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Right now “Moby Dick” and “On the Road” by Kerouac: Both tell a story of a search for something that you know you cannot control, of which you can never quench your thirst, and will always remain unknown while continuing to call you during the “search.”

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On your jewelry you engrave many phrases, the inspiration comes also from books?

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Mine are essentially citations. I never had the courage to write anything with a phrase that was mine. My sentences are in a notebook for me. Sometimes a word or a meaning is the way I build around a product.

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You’re the only one in Italy certified “Fair Trade Goldsmith”, how you got there?

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I was the first to try to learn something into that world; we got there by English suppliers, who have a different sensitivity, which is difficult to apply here, especially to an object.

The jewel has a desire behind that does not lead you to think what there is behind it, because you see only the final object. However, I have noticed that more and more young people are sensitive to this ethic, which discourages big brands because they value only what people pay.

For a jewel, ethical value is important so you shall wonder where that jewel comes from. Each material has a meaning, and we must do everything we can to understand, while realizing that we can’t take care of everything.

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Which literary quotation pops in your mind right now, maybe one that describes this period of your life?

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It is not a quote, it is a word, a reflection on how “Meantime” is a sign of pain and indecision, which is between thinking and action. As a moment of reflection before the action it is the work of creation, it is what is calling you upstream, something that you have to deal with. I mean the meantime as an exhausting research, meantime as the wait for everything, meantime as waiting time, which steps to take and which stories the time will recount.

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If you could give a piece of advice to people who, like you, have a dream or a goal, what would you tell them?

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To never give up, or rather to give up in the right time. Do you have a dream? Go for it, but mostly listen. Sometimes you think this is a straight road and then you meet signs or obstacles that can show you how that road really is not so straight. So do not give up, but let go a little bit. Listen.

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Who is your inspiration?

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This is a difficult question. How can you define such a person? Often when I do something I think about my Philosophy professor, she is important to me. But I do not have one in particular.

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What is your dream for Mara is Mara?

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In line with the “never give up giving up” mentioned earlier, my dream is to keep doing what I’m doing now, improving, especially from an organizational point of view, and being able to also study a little bit more and be able to give voice to Fairtrade gold, which is a problem but also a world full of opportunities.

www.maraismara.com