My name is Maya. I’m Russian, but I have been living and working in Vietnam for the last 8 years. There is only one person behind this brand and that person is me.
For a productive work I need: a good mood, inspiration, music and an aesthetic place, where I can be completely absorbed in my work. I live on the coast of the South China Sea in a small Vietnamese village, in a house surrounded by a huge garden. I worked and studied a lot over the course of my life. But I left big cities long ago to dedicate myself to art in a calm place.
The windows of my workshop face a tropical garden which I personally take care of. I have designed my workplace all by myself. I really like when the space is organized well and cozy. I am still in the making of this creative process, finalizing the details. For example, I made the drawing of a portable jewelry bench and my husband helped me realize it.
I like the dark aesthetic, so there is a skull of a bull, a picture that I have made out of snake’s skin, big dried bugs, a dog’s jaw, some porcupine quills, a silkworm cocoon and other interesting things in my studio. I found all this natural decor by myself, or got it as a present. And after that I made arts and crafts to create the right atmosphere in the room. Nature is striking in its diversity, so I like these things. There is always the smell of incense and the sound of my favorite somber music in my studio.
I always start working in a good mood. I believe that energy can be transferred to the things I create, so I try to charge them only with the positive one.
Usually inspiration doesn’t leave me. There are more ideas in my head than silver in my studio. I mainly consider myself an artist and a designer. That’s why I’ll never do anything I don’t like for the sole purpose of earning money. I work in a certain style and make massive and rough jewelry and do not shy away from this.
From wax to silver
The development of any piece of jewelry begins with the creation of its model from special jewelry wax. I like natural textures, so I use a wide variety of instruments for their creation.
When the wax model is ready, I personally cast it in silver. I work using two techniques: lost wax casting and clay-sand casting. I have learned most of the things including this myself because I am a complete introvert. For me it is difficult to interact with people even for educational purposes. In my opinion, nowadays everyone can learn anything by themselves, if they have enough persistence and desire to do it.
When I started working in this field, I promised myself not to buy a lot of instruments. Obviously, over time you surround yourself with a lot of specialized equipment. But I still make most of my working tools myself and find ways of carrying out some processes using improvised means. It is a special pleasure for me to learn how to do what seems incredible at home and with simple tools.
I also make sterling silver 925 myself. I order pure silver 999 from a reliable supplier and add copper as a ligature using a classic formula. That way I can have confidence in the quality of my sterling silver. Sadly, jewelry can’t be made out of pure silver, ‘cause it is a very soft metal.
The process of metal casting is rather difficult. It will require a lot of time to describe the two techniques I use. All my jewelry is unit-cast.
There are different types of handicrafts and methods of making jewelry: the simple ones and the more complex ones. The techniques of precision castings that I use fall into the latter. It takes from several days to a week to get one ring done.
Many jewelry manufacturers buy designs from a third-party, outsource the metal casting process or other steps to factories or to specialized workshops. But that’s not about me.
I don’t delegate any of the development stages. I like to do everything myself. I often take photos or make videos of how I make my jewelry. You can see them in my Instagram https://www.instagram.com/_innerstone_/.
After casting the jewelry I start processing it. I do it with my own hands until I’m satisfied with the result. I often destroyed the finished piece of jewelry because I found it not good enough for myself. I make all the accessories fitting for my taste. I read somewhere that the quality of the products is a high priority for the Russian craftsmen. And I’m not going to be an exception. Sometimes I get tired of my own perfectionism.
When the piece of jewelry is ready, I put a stamp with INNERSTONE logo on it and give it a name. Yes, all of my accessories have names. They reflect the core of my accessories not only according to their meaning, but also to their sound. I like the alchemy of sounds, that’s why I pay a lot of attention to the names of my creations.
I pack the products myself as well. I have created a beautiful authoring packaging. It shows the atmosphere that’s close to my heart. I also write a small cover letter for the customer before shipping.
Usually copies of the accessories are made to increase the sales and reduce the price. It allows the customers to have a broad size range to choose from. Copies help in making the same thing over and over. That increases the profit.
I haveput a lot of thought into the format of my brand. I wanted to offer every person an opportunity to have a unique accessory that would highlight their individuality. That’s why I do not want to go into mass production of jewelry.
Every single one of my accessories finds its owner by all means. I have not once witnessed how, by some miracle, the rings that fitted some people perfectly were exactly “their” rings. It feels like magic when a person finds his ring or the other way around.
But sometimes it happens that the customer wants a ring with a texture which I can make, but the size doesn’t fit him. I offer custom-making for these cases.
The client and I specify which texture they like and how they see their perfect ring. Then I make a unique accessory specially for them. I film all the parts of the process so the client can feel the magic of it too. Those are very precious moments. I like knowing that the person is feeling his uniqueness right now and I’m helping him to do it. I genuinely believe that every person is one of a kind and they have a right to do everything in their own way and possess unique things.
After making the piece of jewelry I start working on the photos and videos. I try to capture my accessories in detail. I invite my friends to be models and demonstrate how my jewelry looks on people. I also make self-portraits. Before my friend used to help me with the photos. She is a very talented photographer. But now I do all the shooting. I make videos for the catalogue too, to show the jewelry from all angles.
Then I retouch the photos and edit the videos. It takes a lot of time. I am not always satisfied with the result, so sometimes I redo the footage.
Besides that I made and run a website, manage the social media accounts of my brand and work on its development. I have a lot of experience in advertising (about 20 years), so it’s easier and more interesting for me to develop my creation, chat with customers and do all the work on my own.
INNERSTONE is my hobby which brings me pleasure, allows me to develop in an interesting branch of activity and send happiness to people.
My customers are individualists, collectors, fans of modern art. They value unusual customized things and care about their own uniqueness. I’m glad to be able to help highlight everyone’s individuality. It is not just jewelry, it is a strength of character, the courage to be strange and surprise others, it is the determination to live your own life in your own style.
INNERSTONE is a world that I create completely with my own hands. I value your attention to my artwork, your trust and your feedback.