By Léo Azambuja

Maria Fumagalli

After working about 10 years as a waitress, Maria Fumagalli felt she wanted something more fulfilling in her life. The money was good, but she craved a deeper connection with herself and others. That’s when she took a leap of faith — and talent — to start a career as a jewelry maker, and never looked back.

“I’m finally finding, six years in, a flow that really suits what I want,” said Fumagalli, owner of MF Silver.

In the beginning, she would sell finished pieces, but these days the bulk of her work is custom pieces. Working one-on-one with her clients, she said, allows her to put a lot of passion and dedication into something really meaningful for them, rather than building a large inventory.

Fumagalli said she draws a lot of inspiration from Native American culture and art, and this is quite noticeable in her rings, bracelets, pendants, bracelets, earrings or any piece of jewelry she fabricates. Many of her pieces are one of a kind, stunningly built with meticulous craftmanship, yet always preserving a raw feel that gives them soul.

“My jewelry is made to last,” Fumagalli said. “I like bulky statement pieces.”

Her early jewelry was mostly made of silver. Over time, she started adding crystals and stones such as rose quartz, turquoise, onyx, amethyst and tourmaline. Then came gold. She also works with tropical materials, including pearls and sunrise shells, “always giving a little taste of Maria.” She emphasizes that from the very beginning, she worked only with silver and pure gold.

“I am definitely a precious metals enthusiast, I believe in the value of the metals,” she said. “Gold has been money for thousands of years; it stores value in its pristine condition really well.”

Fumagalli moved to the United States from Brazil when she was still a teenager. She was first introduced to silversmithing when she attended high school here. Years later, she would pick it up again, but this time, there were no teachers.

“I was self-taught, so in the very beginning of me getting into the silverwork, it was just very playful and explorative and finding myself in the techniques and in the work, and finding my language,” said Fumagalli, adding that now, six years later, her work has changed and advanced quite a bit. She knows exactly what works for her, making it much easier to create what she envisions without getting tangled with figuring out the technique. “MF Silver is continuously evolving.”

Maria Fumagalli at work

Fumagalli does some casting, but most of the type of work she does is fabrication. In the beginning, she would buy silver sheets and wire already pre-measured, and had to keep a large inventory of metals in order to have a good range to work with. But she learned how to roll out her own thickness of the material she wants to use, and now everything is fabricated from scratch, she said.

The most fulfilling aspect of her work, she says, is the connection she built with her clients. The proof is that many of them have become her close friends.

“I am a bit more of an introvert. So, for me, it’s just like, ‘Okay, I’m making something really cool, and I’m also making a friend.’ That’s really gratifying. I’ve met a lot of really amazing people,” she said.

Over the years, Fumagalli moved her shop three times. Her last location was in Old Kapa‘a Town. But when restrictions related to COVID-19 pandemic went into effect, she had to adjust. Rather than stop working, she moved her production to her house. But because the bulk of her business comes from returning customers, she is still busy at work.

“I’m hardly even advertising any of my work,” she said.

Get in touch with Fumagalli via email at mfsilverjewelry@gmail.com or call her at (808) 431-1468. Check out her work on Instagram at @mf_silver.

 

 


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