Like finding a needle in a stack of needles
How our friend, Christine Mayrina, describes finding just the right pieces of antique Native American jewelry and goods for her brand Gypsy Hunter. We asked her to lend her whimsical and almost psychedelic lens to a collection of one of a kind jewelry and home goods sourced specifically for Bliss And Mischief.
Tell us a bit about you and what you do -
Im Chrissy Mayrina, a Los Angeles native and I am an Antique Indian Arts dealer/trader, or a vintage Native American jewelry curator. I put together a collection of vintage jewelry that tells a specific story about the Southwest and a lot of my time is spent traveling, either to buy out in the South West or selling in pop up shops around the US and sometimes internationally. I also work with Navajo and Zuni silversmiths in New Mexico on new pieces. Ive been in the trade for going on 7 years now and still love learning something new about it every day.
What brought you on your most recent trip out to Santa Fe?
Every year I make pilgrimages to Santa Fe for a few weeks at a time and stock up on vintage pieces. I buy throughout the year but I always look forward to those weeks in New Mexico when we all get together to deal vintage, have tequilas around the campfire and course trade stories from the road.
What draws you to a piece of vintage - especially at a shows where there are so many pieces to choose from?
I always say that when Im buying at a show, finding the right pieces is like finding a needle in a stack of needles Im always drawn to pieces that are whimsical and charming and almost psychedelic and seem to have had a life all their own. Sometimes, the weirder the better! Im drawn to bright blue and green natural stones, and Im a huge sucker for Zuni inlay pieces, there is so much magic and craftsmanship in stonework! There is also a litany of questions that rapidly fires in my head when sourcing-it goes a little something like this: Was it worn? Was it worn almost too much and then lovingly brought back to life? Does it tell a story? Does that story speak to your story? Can you see yourself taking it on an adventure or a lifetime of adventures? Does it feel good, does it feel like you? Would you be glad to pay for it's worth?
If the answers are ALL yeses, then the piece makes the cut and comes home with me, and eventually home with the customer.
What is one of your favorite/most special vintage finds?
One of my all time faves is this 1800s Sioux beaded bowler hat with feathers tucked into the band. I found it and my jaw hit the floor, its in such great condition for its age and has so much magic. I also have a personal collection of Zuni inlay pins that feel more like my friends or guardians that I pin onto my bag and take along on all my adventures. My trophy pieces that I keep in the vaults for the most part are pre-1900 Navajo silver cuffs. Theyre what keep us all on the hunt, and for a vintage dealer, can be nice little deposits for your retirement fund ;)
When you head out on a sourcing trip, what are your essentials?
1. Hydration in the high desert is super important! pro tip: a few drops of chlorophyl in your water helps keep you extra hydrated and helps with altitude sickness!
2. Rose water facial mist, because those long road trips can have their dull moments and a spritz or two of rose water can keep you feeling awake and hydrated! (really, its all about hydration!)
3. A great sunscreen and moisturizer because the high desert sun can be unforgiving. I use Mustellas baby spf and Sunfoods coconut rose lotion with a few drops of Olio Lusso or Neroli infused Marula oil for extra hydration are you seeing a theme here?
4. These are an absolute must: a favorite pair of jeans (mine have roses embroidered on them!), comfy shoes because some days Im on my feet for 12 hours- Ive had a pair of handmade leather lace up sandals for years now that wont quit and there is nothing like well worn leather that has molded for you- its like memory foam for your feet! Lastly, a hat for shade and something all pro shoppers need is a trusty bag that wont weigh you down when youre stocking up on treasures! Also, some days you end up hunting for vintage in odd places so its good to have a sturdy pair of boots to get down and dirty in.
5. Again, those long road trips can wear you out so I never leave without a really good playlist that will last for hours. Let your thoughts go long, take in the views and get nostalgic with the soundtrack. A good playlist is make-or-break for a long roady!
Photo by Larry Niehues
Tell us about the pieces youre wearing in heavy rotation right now / whats inspiring about them?
Im a creature of habit and as I get older, Im more about comfort than ever. If Im working a show or pop up shop, Im wearing a couple statement rings and a necklace but if Im off duty and out running around town, I usually am only wearing the gold necklace my mother gave me on my 18th birthday and my Nike Cortez sneakers with vintage Levis. I love pulling out the big guns when its time to, and looking down at my hands with all the pretty blue and green stones makes me feel like a queen! Theyre my armor!
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