About Roxanna, by Roxanna
I have a degree from
the University of California at Berkeley in Art, doing watercolors,
lithographs, and dolls for many years. It all came together
for me when I discovered my passionate love of pearls. I never
knew until I got into pearls that I am a designer. I consider
myself a designer of pearls. I tell people I will do anything
to show off a pearl. That is why so many of my designs are pearls
with pearls. I love mixing all kinds of pearls.
for the People" By Yovanna Bieberich, Argus-Courier Staff
Roxanna Marinak loves pearls and feels they should be affordable
of years ago, it began as an insignificant speck inside an oyster,
that over time, grows into a thing of beauty sought after by
many. For centuries the pearl has been a prized and mysterious
treasure, often affordable only by royalty and nobility. But
today, with modern pearl farming or culturing of pearls, pearls
are available for the first time for the common person.
classic," says Petaluman Roxanna Marinak, pearl jewelry
designer and owner of One of a Kind by Roxanna. "They're
a timeless little treasure."
Marinak has been
designing pearl jewelry for only a short time, but already has
cultivated a lucrative business with the philosophy of making
pearls more accessible and affordable to everyday people.
go down in value like gold," says Marinak. "They're
always valuable. Right now wholesale pearls are very affordable,
but for the longest time, most people could not afford real
pearls. Even Jackie O's pearls were simulated. The pearls I
sell are real and affordable. I have something for every price
range. I like to say that I'm providing pearls for the people."
Marinak fell into
jewelry design after a friend gave her a bracelet with various
beads and pearls. She immediately became interested and decided
to try to making her own bracelets. "I made a few for myself,
but then all my friends wanted one, so I started making and
selling them for $7," says Marinak. "Eventually I
went to trade shows and met with pearl vendors. I fell in love
with pearls. People are so used to seeing the same old white
strand of pearls, but there's so much more to them than that.
They come in so many colors and shapes; I discovered there was
lots of potential for pearl jewelry design."
Armed with little
more than a creative eye and a passion for the iridescent orbs,
Marinak began making jewelry. I've never taken a jewelry class.
I've just been learning as I go. The designing comes naturally
to me. I have an eye for it. I've done beading before, but there's
just something about pearls I connect with; I have a thing for
Her pearl creations
include a vast assortment of pearl bracelets, earrings and necklaces
ranging from classic to snazzy and from South Sea pearls to
prized black Tahitians. The pearls come in a variety of shapes
and sizes from coin pearls to drop shaped and in nearly every
color. She often combines the pearls with gems and beads to
enhance the beauty of the pearl jewelry. "My focus is on
pearls," adds Marinak. "But I use crystals in particular
to show off the pearls."
Even though Marinak can often be seen strolling about town in
her pearls, she says that she doesn't keep much of the jewelry
for herself. "Once I've made a piece, I don't feel like
I have to keep it," she says, although she admits to playing
tennis with her pearls on.
"I find the
most joy in making the jewelry and am thrilled when someone
else appreciates what I've made. It feels good. There was one
strand of pearls I particularly liked that an elderly lady wanted.
She was so excited about it and said she'd been looking for
a strand like it all her life. I told her I was glad it was
going to a good home."
The kinds of pearls Marinak uses are freshwater pearls she purchases
only from dealers she has built a rapport with and trusts. She
adds that part of what makes freshwater pearls affordable is
that there can be 20 to 30 pearls in a single oyster compared
to one or two pearls in a saltwater oyster. "I'm very picky
about the pearls I use," she says. "It's very difficult
for me to order pearls from far away by mail. I'm a very visual
person, so I have to see what I'm buying. I want to be sure
I'm getting good quality pearls."
Though she's new
to the pearl industry, Marinak has learned quickly about what
to look for in a good pearl. She says pearls come in many different
sizes starting from as small as one millimeter. "Most pearls
sold in jewelry are four, five or six mm in size. The largest
pearls are 12 to 14 mm and can sell for thousands of dollars
a strand. The price goes up with size of the pearl."
As far as identifying
good quality pearls, Marinak says that "beauty really is
in the eye of the beholder. What appeals to one person may not
to another. Things to look for include luster, inclusions or
markings and the overall smoothness. The smoother and rounder
the pearl, the more luster, and the less inclusions, the better
quality pearl and the more expensive it will be."
Marinak shows her
jewelry regularly at Markets (see Market
Schedule). While Marinak's goal is to keep the business
growing, she entertains no plans to open a shop or sell into
stores or galleries. "I just think that with a store, there's
so much overhead that I'd have to raise prices," she says.
"I've steered away from galleries because of their markup.
I want everyone to be able to enjoy pearls, so I want to keep
pearls affordable to everyday people. These are pearls for the
(Marinak shows her
pearls at the San Rafael Farmers' Market held at the Marin Civic
Center from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays. For details or more information
on One of a Kind by Roxanna, contact Roxanna Marinak at (415)
(Contact staff writer Yovanna Bieberich by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.)