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beautiful bugs

July 9, 2015

roach earrings
A South Carolina jewelry designer turned an insect with an ick factor into gold.

The artist: Charleston native Mini Mariana Hay studied art at Clemson University. After graduation, she worked a summer in New York City before returning to Charleston to work in the family-owned store, Croghan’s Jewel Box. Her mother
challenged Hay to come up with a jewelry line that was unique to Charleston.

The inspiration: Roaches or “palmetto bugs.” The creep crawly critters were unwelcome visitors to old houses, like the one Hay grew up in, in historic Charleston. The Goldbug Collection was not what her mother had in mind. However, she encouraged Hay to make a necklace and gauge the reaction. The first piece Hay created was sold the first day.

The goods: Cast in brass and plated in 14-karat gold, the Goldbug Collection ranges from delicate necklaces and earrings to bold statement pieces

What’s popular: The large bug drop earrings ($110), the small bug stud earrings ($60) and the large bug cuff ($250).

Other favorites: The “Love Train” necklace ($195) and the Bib necklace ($525).Goldbug Bib Neck V2

What new: Cufflinks, studs and large bug brooches.

Unusual request: For a breast-cancer survivor, Hay made five bugs of 14-karat gold on a necklace. The fifth bug was created in rose gold to celebrate the woman’s fifth year of being cancer free.

Claim to fame: Recently named as one of the “50 Most Progressive” people in Charleston by Charlie magazine. She and her sister (Kathleen) also were listed in Southern Living’s “50 People Changing the South in 2015.”

Where to buy: or when in Charleston at Croghan’s Jewel Box, 308 King St.



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