Mariolina Mascarino Jeweller - Asti, Italy

Can you discuss your thoughts on the overlapping of design and fashion in your work?

In my mind design and fashion are true art forms which are worth taking into consideration especially when it comes to jewellery and body adornment. Also, I think of my jewellery as something which is always evolving and changing together with the new trends.

plain brown - ring - geometric collection

When I start working on a piece I always need to have clear in my mind that what I’m going to make is not only art but also, and above all, a jewel. Here is where the need of making something that fits into the fashion trends overlaps the need of expressing myself as an artist. What I want to do is to make something unique but comfortable and wearable as well.

Colour is very important to your work. Can you discuss this?

The use of colour plays an important role in my work. I believe that colour gives personality to a piece or, better yet, it “makes” the piece. I am happy to work with paper because I have so many shades and colours to choose from, also I never run out of newspaper pages with words and pictures on them which help me to achieve even more unique results. Often, when I can’t find the color I have in mind, I paint the pieces myself, using water based paints and mixing colors together. In those cases, I’ll always end up with a special shade, which I will not be able to create again and this also contributes to the uniqueness of the piece.

burgundy chain - necklace - chains collection

Compare two pieces of your jewellery showing both glamour and simplicity, and the need for both in your collections?

I’d like to compare a glamorous necklace like the “charcoal and gold chain” with a more simple one called “corolla”. They are two completely different pieces: the first one designed to be worn at night or on special occasions, while the second one, with its minimal, fresh style, is perfect for everyday wear.

charcoal and gold chain - necklace - chains collection

‘charcoal and gold chain’

charcoal and gold chain: kraft paper, painted newspaper scraps, crocheted cotton yarn, cardstock. Water based paints and glues. Colors: charcoal, gold. Total length: 130 cm – 51.2 in.

corolla: crepe paper, waxed cotton cord, water based protective varnish and glues. Approx dimensions: around neck 46 cm – 18.1 in, total length: 51 cm – 20.1 in.

corolla - necklace - flowerlike collection


Having both simplicity and glamour in my collections is not only a need but a choice. I like to offer a woman the opportunity to always be herself, following her personal style. I want her to feel, free to wear accessories the way she prefers, choosing simplicity or glamour according to the mood or the occasions. In other words, I want her to be unique in every moment and with every outfit.

Why have you chosen to use paper as your main medium?

Paper is interesting in many ways and it allows me to express myself at my best. Not only is it an environmentally friendly medium, which can be easily recycled, but it is also extremely versatile and shapeable according to my needs. Working with paper of all types (crepe and tissue paper, cardboard, cardstock, kraft paper…)

I have the possibility to continuously explore new textures and combinations, while creating original, one of a kind jewels. Also paper looks very fragile, but it actually hides a great strength and flexibility, two qualities that make it ever-challenging.

folds black and white - earrings - chubby collection

‘folds’ Black and White Earrings

Can you expand on how two women can change your jewellery by the way they wear it?

When a woman wears jewellery she wears it in her own peculiar way, adding something unique to it. I’m not talking about the color of her hair and eyes or how she looks, but rather about her inner essence, something special and inexplicable which belongs to her only. It is this “added value”, this “inexplicable something” that, in my opinion, makes all the difference.

Discuss your paper bangle ‘chances’?

chances - bangle - flowerlike collection



I saw a tiny flower growing through the asphalt and I went closer. It looked as if it was happy to be there and totally careless to the surroundings. It was given the chance to bloom on the road and it simply took it. This little flower made me think about the many opportunities we miss every day, just because we don’t want to take risks or we think we don’t have a chance, but in doing so, we sometimes lose the juicy part of life. My asphalt color bangle, with nine flowers “growing” out of it, aims to be a reminder of the endless opportunities afforded us every day. Opportunities that can appear everywhere, like a flower blooming on the road.


Adjustable – Inner diameter 6 cm – 2.4 in.


50 g – 1.7637 oz.


Black, dark orange, dark red, teal, yellow, purple.

Many of your bangles are designed to be worn in groups, can you discuss this?

Whenever I start working on a design, I already have the final result in mind. I like to anticipate how the piece, be it a necklace, a bangle or a ring, will look like when finished. The sets of bangles are generally created to be worn in groups simply because together they work better. This may be due to the color mix or the shape, but every time, one way or another, they “cooperate” and complete each other.round brown - bangles - geometric collection


‘round brown bangles’

Expand on how you combine your paper jewellery with semi-precious stones and eco friendly supplies?

When I started the “quasi caramelle” project I was looking for an environmentally friendly material. My choice went to paper because it can be easily recycled and reprocessed, offering an excellent result. The decision of using semi precious stones and other eco-friendly supplies, such as natural fibers and post industrial waste, came as a natural consequence. Eco-consciousness is as important to me as a unique style and that’s the reason why I’m always looking for a balance between the two.

stones burgundy - ring - shaped collection

‘stones burgundy’ Ring

Discuss the use of paper with text in your work?

Sometimes I can’t help being tempted by paper with text. Using words on my pieces gives me the illusion to communicate better than just with colors or shapes. Newspaper scraps always convey a message, and sometimes even a single word may be enough. It may be something that, if you pay attention to, can make you look at the piece from a different perspective, and through your interpretation, it even enables you to become part of the piece.

pebbles - ring - shaped collection

‘pebbles’ ring

Your chain necklaces are solid to look at but have the advantage of lightness due to the material : paper. Please discuss this?

One of the reasons why I like to work with paper so much, it allows me to make statement and solid pieces while being very light and comfortable to wear. A good example is the “blue chain” necklace. I made it using newspaper pages and tissue paper which I painted, glued and coated with a finish to make it solid to the touch. I added a silk cord and a clasp which is made of cardstock and paper as well. The design is simple: there are three chains which count respectively 19, 16 and 18 rings and every ring has a diameter that measures between 3,5 cm – 1.4 in – and 1,5 cm – 0.6 in – for a total length of 67 cm – 26.4 in. Despite that, it only weighs 60 g – 2.1164 oz. This is one of the advantages of working with paper.

blue chain - necklace - chains collection

‘blue chain’ Necklace

The use of geometric shapes in your work is so simple while at the same time being so elegant. Can you discuss?

The American designer John Maeda states: “Simplicity it’s about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful”. I totally agree with him. I think that simplicity always adds something instead of taking something away. Being simple it’s not being easy, but it’s having clear where you want to go, it’s reaching to the heart of things, understanding what’s essential, and then letting it shine in a new light. I like to consider simplicity an “added value” and I like to think that this is what makes my simple geometric shapes look so elegant.

square grey and white - bangles - geometric collection

‘square grey and white’ Bangles

Do you design jewellery for men?

All “quasi caramelle” pieces are meant to be worn by women, but sometimes men appreciate them as well. It generally happens with the square/round bangles or with some rings. A good example is “plain”: a brown and light brown ring. It is made of cardstock, kraft paper and crepe paper, with a very simple and solid design.

Your comment “Let your uniqueness be inspired”… can you explain this?

Women are all unique and special in their own way. By creating one of a kind jewellery I’d like to inspire all of them, guiding their true essence and singularity towards fulfillment. I want them to feel free to choose the piece which most harmonizes with their soul, with the guarantee that it will always be as unique as they are.

tria - bangles - geometric collection

‘Tria’ Bangles

Tell us one story about a piece you have made that has given you and your career a huge boost?

The bangle “chances”, which I have described above, has been much appreciated especially in the artistic field. It is featured in the 2014-2015 edition of the “Contemporary Jewellery Year Book” by Grupo Duplex – Spain – and was exhibited in “Madrid Joya” and “Espaijoia Barcelona” – two events which were part of the Spanish project. However, I cannot say that this particular piece has influenced my career more than others. I’d rather look at my career as a work in progress, a sequence of moments, some good, others bad, but all very important to my growth and creativity.

You work out of Italy – discuss the importance of fashion and statement pieces to Italian Women and how they wear jewellery?

What’s important, though, is that they not only look for something original and unique, but they also want it to be comfortable and easy to wear. That’s why all my designs, whatever the inspiration, are translated into tactile, and durable pieces with subtle textures or more complex and layered finishes.


Contact details.




Mariolina Mascarino, Asti, Italy

Interview by Deborah Blakeley, March 2015