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Curating Jewelry

Updated: Oct 3, 2018

My fascination with jewelry began a long time ago in the most unexpected of places: the Emergency Room. I was about 5 years of age when my mother, an emergency room doctor, took me to work with her one day. We only had to stop there for a short time so she could check on a patient. But in the hallway we ran into one of the visiting physicians from Cuba. And that is the precise moment when I discovered obsession. Of course, I did not know the word "obsession" or what that meant, but I fell in absolute unconditional love with jewelry. For this nice looking Cuban man was wearing something incredible on his hand: a huge emerald ring. Mind you, men in my childhood never wore anything bigger than a modest wedding band. And this guy was wearing a jewel that could rival the treasures of the Ali Baba cave.

Come to think of it, it was probably not even an emerald. But it certainly looked serious. Something like this

or this

In any case, I was smitten.

Seeing something so unusual and so beautiful on the most unexpected of persons (a guy) undoubtedly made a lasting impression and shaped my vision of personal adornment.

I became obsessed with jewelry. I raided my mother's and my grandmother's jewelry box on a daily basis. I loved getting the treasures out of the boxes, spreading them on a table, admiring them and, of course, trying them on. I could spend hours in a jewelry shop and look at their collections. In any history or art museum, I would first check out the section that held jewelry and personal adornments. If a museum did not have such a section, it was not worth visiting. So I thought. I loved going into art studios to look at artists jewelry. And even though I could not afford much, I did gather a pretty sizable collection of baubles over my teenage years.

I loved wearing jewelry in an unexpected ways, too. Putting wide colorful acrylic bracelets on my ankles instead of my wrists, using necklaces as belts, putting jewelry into my hair: all these things were utterly unacceptable in the surroundings of my childhood. Growing up at the very end of the Soviet Era in Ukraine, presented me with a lot of restrictions on freedom of personal expression. It seems that oppressive societies get very preoccupied with what people wear, even before they control speech. School uniforms, rigid social rules on acceptable clothing - fitting in rather than sticking out was the norm. So my wearing of jewelry in unconventional ways drew unwanted attention and in some cases reprimand. I remember during one summer camp I was specifically prohibited from wearing those aforementioned bracelets on my ankles, because respectable Soviet citizens did not dress like barbarians.

Well, what can I say. I grew up a bit of a rebel, a bit of an artists, and most of all I grew up appreciating beauty and creativity in all its forms.

Curating jewelry is a skill, but it is also a talent driven by intuition and love. Milana Stile is about finding the unusual in the vast world of personal adornments and passing that appreciation of the unusual to each client. Milana Stile is a place where you can discover yourself through jewelry, be bold, adventurous, sometimes even outrageous, and most importantly: beautiful.

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