Santa Monica, California is a picturesque ocean-side city that boasts an average of 340 days of sunshine out of a year, along with the well-manicured sands of its world-renown beach. California is also home to jewelry designer, Melinda Raney.
An adorable snapshot from childhood is the curious little girl playing dress-up with mom's jewelry.
Raney's childhood snapshot was a tad different as, at the age of 10, her active imagination led to redesigning her mother's baubles.
From the beginning, Raney understood the magnetic impact of jewelry to the wearer and to those who see the wearer.
"The purpose of my designs is to make a statement; to make you feel beautiful, to bring people together and inspire compliments. That is what life is about people coming together however and wherever it happens."
Before settling comfortably into a career in jewelry design, Raney worked as a makeup artist, masseuse, and a professional game show contestant. During a stint on Hollywood Squares, she earned an astonishing $65,000!
Prompted by Hindu symbolism, Grecian and Italian designs, and a love to create, Raney launched Melinda Maria Jewelry in 2005.
Named for the designers' first and middle monikers, her company's design approach is unique, fun, and uplifting. Her team of skilled artisans creates high quality, costume jewelry that rivals 18-karat gold fine jewelry.
Using glowing 22-karat gold vermeil, enameling, and multi-colored cubic zirconia, Melinda Maria Jewelry has something to offer every mood, and every outfit. There are the delicate Hayden Mesh Earrings, named for actor Hayden Panetierre, and her Open Leaf Earrings with Gold Beads.
On the other side of the spectrum are bold Spike Hoop Earrings that, according to Raney, say "I am a strong woman, don't mess!"
Other designs, such as the Nikki Pennie Serpent Cuff, are rich with evocative symbolism that express "eternal unity," and embracing new beginnings.
Raney loves infusing symbolism into her designs, "When you put them on they can become an extension of yourself. A bold cuff might make you feel invincible like Wonder Woman® or a delicate pair of earrings might help you feel sophisticated and chic."
The designs closest to Raney's heart are those created to support charities such as the Whaleman Foundation, which aims to protect the ocean and its life forms from harmful human practices; and The Name Campaign, which is an African charity providing aid for children in war-torn Uganda.
"Kindness and bringing people together are the two most important things in the world to me," Raney says.
Raney's fantastic designs have been featured in the television shows such as Desperate Housewives, and Grey's Anatomy.
The beautiful trinkets are sold at Lisa Kline, Ron Herman, Belle Gray, and Fred Seagal; and are worn by celebrities that include Hayden Panitierre, Jessica Alba, Megan Fox, and Julia Roberts.
For more on Raney, click here for The Daily 10's Debbie Mantenopolous' interview with the designer.
Photo 1 (top right): 22-karat Gold Vermeil Amy Magic Cuff with Emerald Cubic Zirconia
Photo 2 (bottom left): 22-karat Gold Vermeil Nikki Pennie Serpent Necklace with White Diamond Cubic Zirconia