As I was wandering from display to display at the 2006 GBK Productions Pre-Emmy Gift Suites, a subtle sparkle caught my eye. Of course, I immediately made a beeline for said sparkle. And there at the source of the sparkle was Stephanie Carbone standing next to an array of beautiful rings, necklaces, and bracelets all belonging to her jewelry line, Space Mermaid. Where was that sparkle that lured me to the Space Mermaid table?
I surveyed the table and spotted it immediately (I'm a stylist, it's my job to have a good eye). The source of my scintillating sparkle was a ring with a gorgeous white stone entwined with copper wire. Although I couldn't quite identify the stone at the time, I knew that it was G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S! Apparently, my love at first sight affair with this ring was quite obvious. Stephanie Carbone gently picked up this little piece of heaven and slipped it into a little gift bag. It has been adorning my left index finger ever since!
Stephanie Carbone, founder of Space Mermaid, created a collection of jewelry that does a lot more than decorate our bodies. Her pieces open our minds to a whimsical world that honors the mystery and wonder of everything in our environment be it the land, ocean, sky, or our imagination.
It all started with a road trip to Oregon, a soothing walk on the beach, and the discovery of sea glass. 'The beaches in Oregon are so uninhabited and very misty. I felt like I was in a land before there were human beings,' explains Carbone with an inspired, nostalgic look sweeping across her face, 'it was very magical.' Armed with a collection of sparkling sea glass and copper wire, Carbone began making necklaces, bracelets, rings, and anything else that came to mind, for her friends. Four years later, Carbone's fan base has flourished from friends to, well, Fred Segal. Yes, Fred Segal now carries Space Mermaid!
This magic Carbone found at the Oregon beaches has certainly permeated into the designs of her jewelry along with the ocean motif. Carbone has since made animals and objects from the ocean a regularly occurring theme throughout her collection. My favorite ring, Carbone explained to me, is Ocean Jasper, which is a relatively new discovery in the mineral world. It is found on the northwest coast of Madagascar and can only be seen and collected at low tide.
And these little facts are part of the alluring charm of Space Mermaid. Carbone uses materials that have a story behind them, and she is more than happy to share the histories of her treasures with her clients. If Carbone does not know a few fun facts about the materials she is using for a particular piece, she does her research. Minerals, gemstones, sea shells' Carbone will undoubtedly have something to share about every material she uses.
From Oregon shores to Los Angeles flea markets, everything in the environment serves as inspiration for Carbone's dazzlingly eclectic collection. Whether it is a gold octopus that began as a broach found in a little shop in the Fashion District that she transformed into a gold cuff, or an old Christmas tree ornament that is in the midst of becoming a ring, Carbone's pieces are part of a story. Thus, owners of Space Mermaid confections (like me) feel much more connected to their collection or individual piece.
Space Mermaid is single handedly operated by Carbone. From web design to spending five hours stringing beads for one ring, Carbone does it all! After all, Space Mermaid is her baby. 'I have a hard time letting go,' Carbone says as she gazes gingerly at her collection spread across her dining room table.
But after being picked up by Nordstrom's and Fred Segal, Carbone may have no choice but to concede to help, and maybe a little mass production, in order to fill the avalanche of orders that are sure to come after she makes her debut in these two retail conglomerates.
Space Mermaid's flourishing success did not happen over night. 'I spent a lot of time pounding the pavement and knocking on doors,' says Carbone. The fashion industry, like the entertainment industry, is difficult to crack. 'It was so hard to get a buyer to call me back, let alone actually see my collection,' Carbone says as she lovingly holds one of her wild bird rings. But, she did it! 'Calipso was the first store to carry my line,' says a beaming Carbone. 'I had received so many no's and had made so many calls that were never returned, it took me a little while to actually believe that someone had said, 'Yes!''
From the twinkle in her eye that only comes from turning a passion into a lifestyle and life source, and a smile that reveals a peaceful happiness, it is quite apparent that Carbone is living her dream. This fervor and zeal clearly transcends from Carbone's soul to her jewelry, and from her jewelry to her clients' hearts.
For more information about Stephanie Carbone and Space Mermaid, click here.