Surrounded by sparkling water and blossoming bougainvillea’s, Guam is nothing short of a tropical paradise. While this idyllic island is now a territory of the United States, its history and tradition hold the key to many of our MC classics. As with most early jewelry-making practices, craftsmen used resources that were locally available. In early Chamorro culture, that meant shells. Cultivating what would later become in modern jewelry ‘the perfect combo of chill and chic,’ Chamorro style paved the way for shell-accented accessories — including our Shore Drops, Sebastian Drops, and Cowrie Pendant alike.
In 1668, Spanish colonization came to Guam and brought with it a heavy influence of Catholicism. Adapting to more western styles, rosaries surged in popularity and became a staple. While prayer beads were not unique to Chamorro jewelry, the shift in trend from native to new age created opportunity for gold and silversmiths. Similar to its origins in the pacific, our rosary-inspired MC pieces have staked their claim as one of our quintessential categories within the collection and continue to be one of our most popular styles.
Despite the fact that so much had changed over the course it’s colonization, the Chamorro people still wanted their style to reflect the deep appreciation they had for their homeland. Swapping shells for another element of native nature, bamboo detailing became another trademark of the region and synonymous with Chamorro style. Carving out a new niche, bamboo-inspired jewelry became a byproduct of not just trade — but tradition. Bangles, pendants, rings, and earrings — bamboo jewels are often still passed down from generation to generation in Chamorro culture.
Today, these heirlooms remain regarded as a status symbols in Guam and are worn by both men and women on and from the Island. Within the last decade, this classic Chamorro design has also found fame in the fashion world around the globe. Featured in collections from Cartier to Gucci, the bamboo trend is bigger than ever before. While this widely loved look has traveled far beyond its local roots, for our MC founder it feels like home. Strong and beautiful like the plant they were inspired by, this extension of Marrin’s ethnicity and heritage is the connective tissue between our brand style and story.