“Mini” Mariana Hay is a fourth-generation jeweler based in Charleston, SC and works with her family at Croghan’s Jewel Box. Mini is constantly inspiring us with her innovative and thoughtful designs that cleverly incorporate her home city. When visiting Charleston, Croghan’s is a destination for their family heritage in jewelry making and ability to source unique gifts for every occasion. You are also bound to come across Mini’s signature Goldbug Collection that she developed her first year working at Croghan’s and has spun that success into her own line of costume and fine jewelry for all generations to love and covet. Read along to hear more about how Charleston inspires Mini’s designs and style, how she likes to spend her weekends, and who she looks to locally for creative ideas.
1. How does Charleston inform and inspire your designs for Crogan’s Jewel Box?
Charleston inspires every aspect of my designs. Most recently our new fine jewelry collection, "Bloom where you're Planted", includes a series of flower earrings that were inspired by the colors of Charleston's houses. Each style is named for the street or house that the earring is based on (Tradd, Chalmers, Broad, East Battery etc). My next costume jewelry collection for Goldbug Collection stems from the textures of Charleston, it’s not finished yet, so stay tuned. I have lived in Charleston my entire life and my favorite thing to do is walk the city. I find something amazing every time from the architecture, the landscape, the fauna/flora, even the people. Inspiration is everywhere if you look hard enough and pay attention.
2. What gave you the initial idea for the Goldbug jewelry collection?
After graduating with an art degree and a short sabbatical in New York, I became terribly homesick and asked my mom if I could come back and work in our family jewelry store, Croghan's Jewel Box. She told me that I could, but only if I used my artistic ability to design a line that could be a friendly price point, specific to Charleston, and would speak to both visitors and locals alike. I was stumped, the palmetto tree had been done, the crab, the oyster shells, it seemed like everything had already been taken! So, I moved home, back into our family house, and being in an old Charleston house, it has its fair share of "Goldbugs" or cockroaches. The line was born from there and has been expanding every year since!
3. What colors are you gravitating towards this season for your designs?
All of them! I am loving all colors and combinations right now. I am really into more creams and lighter colored clothing, so I love to have my jewelry be the punch to the outfit. At the moment, I am dreaming of a rainbow strand of beads to wear on my new pendants. So that will most likely be incorporated in our new Goldbug Collection.
4. How do you like to spend a typical weekend in Charleston?
My ideal weekend would be meeting friends for drinks or supper, and then bouncing around to a few of our favorite watering holes. Right now, we love Vintage, Blind Tiger, Bin 152, Graft, Royal American and Faculty Lounge. No shortage of great bars here!
Saturday, I love to go for a walk around town and then maybe ride out to Sullivan's Island for lunch, (Poe's Tavern, Mex 1 Coastal Cantina, Hometeam BBQ), and then head out to beach for the rest of the afternoon.
Sundays, I always try to spend the day with my family. We usually go to church and then Marina Variety Store, Mercantile and Mash, or The Macintosh for brunch. Afterwards, we either ride out to the country to visit our grandparents and swim off the dock, go on the boat in the harbor, or sometimes a fishing adventure. It's my favorite day of the week.
5. How does living in Charleston affect your style choices?
I am obviously bias, but I really believe Charlestonians have great style, so it’s really the people of Charleston that affect my style. There is something so feminine about the way ladies dress here. Growing up, I always admired what my grandmother and her friends wore - beautiful scarves, earrings, lots of bracelets, pretty shoes and a great pocketbook. I feel like that influences my daily style so much, which I now realize means I dress a like a grandmother. Ha!
6. What other regional brands, creatives or local businesses do you find inspiring and follow ?
I love following our friends at Hampden Clothing, they are always spotting the newest trends.
Callie's Biscuits too, she seems to never run out of ideas and is really fun to follow on Instagram.