Once upon a time, we lived in Nepal. My girls grew up in a land of color and music and festivals. It was a charmed life for many years. When we moved back to America, I created a shop that felt like home, borrowing its name from a song my son in law wrote about my daughter, and we all worked there. We went to India and Nepal once a year. Then I also started going back to Latvia, the land my parents and ancestors came from, and discovered it to be a true heart home as well. I made ongoing relationships with people from many backgrounds and faiths, who also somehow found themselves in the business of commerce.
I remember once sitting in the shop of Abdul Batt and his brother. They are Tibetan Muslim men from Lhasa, who have a shop in the back streets of old Kathmandu, where they sit, stringing fabulous beads they have bought from the traders that come through, making necklaces of turquoise and coral and antique amber from Yemen. I was choosing necklaces and they were stringing their beads. Abdul Batt said he had a degree in ancient Indian philosophy from Delhi University, but he was terrible with numbers. He laughed and said, look at me now, a merchant! I said it was the same for me. I have a degree in Asian languages and literature, and I, too, have a shop, and I, too, am terrible with numbers! The memory of laughing with Abdul Batt in his dusty little shop makes me happy, and I guess that is why I am a merchant. My relationship with this Tibetan man, and my weavers and jewelers in India, Nepal, and Latvia, is more than just a business relationship; it is family, and it’s a precious connection to the rest of the world.
Many of the finer pieces you can find in Gypsy Jewel are created by my lovely daughter Sofia Marlena, working with gold beads and stones we’ve found in India. Every other piece of jewelry, every shawl and textile, has been personally selected from the artist who created the piece. And so a beautiful chain is created, from a dusty old shop in Kathmandu or an ancient street in Riga, to your hands.
This is what we offer you in Gypsy Jewel.