MAVA JEWELRY BLOG
Something we take pride in is that our jewelry pieces are designed and made in our workshop in Laval, Quebec. MAVA consists of a small team of skillful and hardworking jewellers, designers and photographers who work together to provide a work of novelty to the world.
During these times of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the winter holidays, it’s only normal that we want to find the best deals around. We work hard for our money, so it’s hard to just spend it away. We scurry to the next store that offers an amazing sale or we skim through our emails that have been bombarded with promising newsletters and discount codes.
Something that’s been pricking in the back of my mind is the labor force that is behind the immense shopping spree that unfolds during these times. Whether it’s the worker that is at the end of the production line or the person delivering gifts and goodies to people’s doorsteps, how are they dealing with all of this?
Once in a while on the news there are headlines of big companies such as Apple or Nike who are accused of bad labour practices and mistreatment of their employees. They do some minor tweaks here and there, either implementing somewhat better working standards or relocating to more obscure export processing zones, these areas that are exempt from national tariffs and laws, and voilà, case dismissed.
I learned a term in my geography studies that remains etched in my mind; the ‘stretching of social relations’. Simply put, the line that exists between producer and buyer becomes more and more distant in the complex division of labour, which in turn brings about an emotional disconnection. The appreciation and the humane transaction that should normally exist amongst people is forgotten.
Yes, it is the way the world turns. It is what drives companies to be competitive and to generate commodities at low costs. We were even pondering over the idea of relocating our workshop to places that would probably help chop our prices in half. This could risk chopping the quality of our jewelry as well. We are not saying that every relocation is a bad move, or that skilled workers can’t be found elsewhere. Speaking from experience, we can tell that the logistics becomes more problematic when supervising more employees in different localities, and this can bring about a lower quality products and customer dissatisfaction.
Times are changing. The world is becoming more aware of labour malpractices. And our goal here at MAVA is to thin out this ‘stretching of social relations’ and to interact with buyers more. We want to provide handcrafted jewelry to a clientele that not only seeks a unique piece of jewelry, but also a humane exchange with artists. We don’t want our clients to feel like they have been cheated into buying cheap trinkets, but instead we want to confide in them that what they have invested in will eventually become a family heirloom in their home, a valued piece of art to be passed on to future generations.
There is an artificial border that separates Canada from the USA. Otherwise the borderlands natural homogeneity can be seen as a metaphor, constantly being exploited and interpreted to appease different world views. This nebulous affirmation sounds like the opening statement of a controversial geopolitical essay. I dare not stray on that path. Instead I shall realign myself and explain a more fitting interpretation of the homogeneity metaphor. What I mean by this is simply that we are influenced by our neighbours from the South in making our jewelry pieces.
America is so close. I personally have walked across the border twice, in the gaze of bewildered security guards. Because of the proximity, there is a lot of interactions. It’s only normal that Canadians and Americans are influenced by one another. And in our day and age, the interactions have crossed from the physical to the virtual. Take from the radio, to the TV and now the Internet, this influence permeates us deep into our psyche. As I have shown in the last Read more
If you look into our jewelry pieces, you will notice that there is a lot of symbolism present. We have appropriated designs from various places into our work. Coming from an ancient culture that uses symbols as part of its national identity, it is no surprise that we have invested time and effort in integrating symbols into our cufflinks, pendants and our other collections. And by ancient culture we mean Armenia, an old country where our ancestors come from. One national symbol is the eternity wheel that has been seen on Armenian steles since the fifth century. The wheel is sometimes integrated in the Khachkar, An Armenian cross that is carved in stone and the words mean exactly that; khach (cross) + kar (stone). You will find all our proudly made jewelry that have these two symbols on this page.
We have explored other symbols as well. Take for this Mayan glyph pendant. While we do not understand the glyphs, we certainly understand the importance of symbolism that represents a civilization that was once fully enlightened and advanced for its time. I was fortunate enough to visit the Mayan ruins of Palenque in Mexico in January to have a hands-on grasp of such an old civilization. Here is a picture of me in front of this imposing pyramid!
For explorers the Mayan writing was reminiscent to Egyptian hieroglyphs, to which there was no relation. Ancient Egypt is another civilization that we look up to. We have designed the Ankh, a symbol for life, in these cufflinks. We have both astrological and astronomical symbols in our designs as well. Horoscope symbols, being famous worldwide, are inscribed in our pendants and cufflinks. And regarding astronomy, we inscribed the symbols for the entities in our solar system, the planets and the sun.
Halloween is around the corner and if you haven’t noticed already, MAVA has a collection of jewellery that is sure to give folks the heebie-jeebies. It’s not a stretch to say that the MAVA team has true horror fans who are inspired by scary movies.
The skull, being a hallmark of Halloween has been an obsession for us, presented in our Cranium Collection. We go way back in finding ideas, before even slasher thrillers were trending. One movie that stands out is Jason and the Argonauts where the skeletons rise up through the ground and as they await their master’s command, a creepy mood settles in. This stop-motion model animation created by the acclaimed artist Ray Harryhausen was quite refreshing and in style back then. Tim Burton stated once that stop motion brings characters to life in a way that CGI never really could and I agree with him. The expressionless stance of the multiplying skeletons in the movie and the eerie music slowly builds up to the fighting scene, ample time for dread to pervade the viewer’s mind, something that could be disregarded with CGI. Army of Darkness with the army of the skeletal undead is another movie that comes to mind. This has given us the idea of creating side by side skull heads in our Circle of Skulls Ring and its counterpart designs. In a way, we pay homage to every horror flick with the hero finding himself in a cave that holds a mountain of skulls with a heinous provenance.
While we delight ourselves in old school movies of senseless butchery and bloodbaths, we don’t shy away from the contemporary stuff and we don’t disregard CGI either. Take our Dragon Gem Cufflinks. Settling a sapphire stone was an inspiration from the ice dragon in Game of Thrones. Even with its computer-generated and special effects, the scene where evil Viserion torches the wall with blue flames is quite surreal and haunting. If only our dragons could breathe fire!
It’s great to share a glimpse of our sources of inspiration. Here, the theme being Halloween, we wanted to write about where our skulls, dragons and spiders come from. The designs remain classy and unsullied in their finishing touch, yet the imagination where they derive from tells another story.
Here in MAVA’s workshop, we reflected upon CANADA 150 and its significance to our family-run business. If it were not for Canada’s long immigration history and its commitment to build a functional multicultural society, a company like MAVA would not exist.
Miro immigrated to Canada in the 1980s. The country’s social safety net along with it’s nonchalant relationship with newly arrived immigrants made it easier for Miro to adapt and immerse himself in the multiethnic communities of Montreal. The environment was ideal for Miro to build a family and to explore his ingenuity of jewelry making. Thirty years forward and his children followed in his footsteps to establish the brand MAVA.
Our interpretation for Canada’s 150th anniversary inspired us to design these maple leaf cufflinks. The precious metal components are made of 925 sterling silver and 10 karat yellow gold, whereas the white and red colouring are made of enamel.
We are pleased to share this handcrafted jewelry with other fellow Canadians whose rich and intricate heritage reflect our own experience of what it means to be Canadian in our time and age.
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