Maral Rapp / Modern Vintage Mesh Works
Former graphic designer Maral Rapp creates contemporary jewelry from iconic vintage and antique metal mesh purses. Swatches of reclaimed mesh are carved from the bags and presented as small jewels, as artifact, rich with history yet decidedly modern. Detailed with precious metals, the resulting works offer this storied material in a fresh, accessible, and ultimately more personal way.
Materials & Ingredients
Reclaimed metal mesh is vintage/antique gold-plated and enamel brass, carved exclusively from signed, Whiting & Davis and Mandalian purses dating from the 1890s through the 1980s – all manufactured in the United States and Canada. Chipped, torn, tarnished handbags are sourced from antique dealers, estate sales, flea markets, and thrift stores – the mesh ranging from antique, heavily worn patinas to newer, bright finishes. Pieces are finished with oxidized sterling silver, 14k gold fill, and 22k gold plated sterling silver. Hand-carved clasps are cast in brass or sterling silver.
Packaging & Delivery
Gift boxes and shipping packaging use materials with a minimum 50% recycled content.
Quality & Value
Vintage materials can be tricky to work with, and all pieces are carefully designed to maximize visual interest within the scope of strong, stable forms that wear extremely well. Our Framed Mesh pieces hand-link dark, sterling silver chain around the borders of gold mesh elements, delivering graphic impact but also providing finish and structure to the mesh shapes. Joinery around each element is securely soldered directly chain-to-chain, with no bulky jump rings, drawing slim, uninterrupted lines throughout the work.
It takes extra time to maximize yield and minimize waste, but our goal is to utilize every last drop of material from these handbags. For each one-of-a-kind, hand-painted purse, we carefully consider the various options before carving the pattern into earring pairs – frequently using digital software to map out the best solution. Mesh remnants are meticulously linked back together into usable forms, and any unused antique links are sorted by color and stored, available for repairing these collectible purses for other clients in need. The frames of the handbags are passed to people who reuse them to make new purses.
Local Supply Chains
We are fortunate to have great professional jewelry resources here in the Bay Area, and use them as much as possible. Wholesale jewelry materials, specialized master craftspeople, casting our custom clasps and components, insignia logo links, plating and powder coating – all are found locally. The vast majority of our supplies are also manufactured in the United States – from the original vintage purses, to raw metals, fabricated chains and earrings, and gift packaging. It’s a bit more expensive, but certainly worth it – and the quality is great.
A home studio makes for a very short daily commute!
Goals & Aspirations
Our next collections include antique mesh forms cast in silver and gold – we are happy to have a casting house focused on sustainable practices, using reclaimed and fair-mined metals whenever possible.