A love letter to bold, earthy statement necklaces is just what you’ll find from up-and-coming local jewelry line Dear Mina by San Francisco designer Mina Caragay, a Sunset resident and SoCal native who fashions outfit-making pieces using leather, chains and chunky, semi-precious stones.
After spotting her latest pieces on view at Mission boutique Mira Mira, we had to know more. So we tracked Caragay down for a chat about stones, style and San Francisco. Read on for more about this local designer.
Your designs are bold and statement-making. Any thoughts on why you’re especially drawn to big, stand-out pieces?
I knew from the beginning that was the direction I wanted to go. I, myself, love wearing big statement pieces, which is part of the reason I started venturing into jewelry. I couldn’t find pieces I wanted to wear. With the indie jewelry designer market exploding, I wanted to make sure I stood out and showed my own point of view.
Your online shop strikes us as having a kind of intergalactic flower child with street smarts kind of vibe. Am I onto anything here?
You pretty much hit the nail on the head. I’m a free spirit at heart, lost in a world of wonder. I find myself star-gazing (well, when the sky is visible in my neighborhood) and daydreaming, which is were I usually find my inspiration.
What are your favorite materials to work with?
I love working with semi-precious stones in their rawest form. I like to mix these rough crystal cut specimens with brilliantly polished stones and leather. One of my favorite minerals to work with is pyrite, which you will find throughout my collections ranging from small briolette cuts to chunky nuggets.
When you’re not designing jewelry, what else do you do?
When time allows and the inspiration is there, I love to paint. My themes are similar to my jewelry aesthetic, being they’re both based on nature. Other than that, I love experimenting with new cooking recipes and spending time with my boyfriend and chihuahua.
Any favorite San Francisco shops or destinations readers must know about?
I am such a homebody, so I rarely leave the comforts of my home. There has been a hand full of cute boutiques popping up around the city, including Mira Mira on 22nd and Valencia. This lovely boutique focuses on independent designers from around the world and is also where you can currently find some of my creations.
What’s next for Dear Mina?
I have a few local events lined up on the calendar, including the Capsule Urban Air Market in Hayes Valley in September. At the moment, I’m focusing on expanding my collections to include earrings and bracelets. Lastly, keep an eye out for Dear Mina in a couple fashion magazines hitting this fall!
You’ll find Caragay’s work available in the Dear Mina online shop and at Mira Mira.
Photography courtesy Mina Caragay; model Jennifer Swinney; set design, Matthew Thomas Warn.