Story of Maralkunst Becoming OSLO HIDDEN PEARL
A Journey of Transformation: How We Became Maral Kunst Today
Greetings! My name is Maral Jafarian, and I was born in Iran in 1980. 2014 I relocated to Norway, making me an Iranian Norwegian artist, jewelry creator, and curator.
Maral, which means "deer" in Turkish, reflects my Azeri heritage. In Norwegian, "kunst" means art.
Let me share the story of my life's journey and how it led me to establish Maral Kunst's jewelry brand.
While in Iran, I graduated as a textile engineer in Tehran. However, my true passion lay in art, specifically painting, and handicrafts, rather than engineering. I learned painting from esteemed Iranian artists such as Gholamhossein Nami, Nosratullah Moslemian, Babak Etminani, and Mehrdad Khataee.
In addition to painting, I engaged in creating handicraft pieces, which I sold to gift shops. I also organized friendly events at my home from time to time. Furthermore, I modeled for a drawing club, as I had always enjoyed posing in front of the camera since childhood. To capture moments more effectively, I requested my dad to provide me with a camera when I entered university.
At the time, jewelry making was merely a hobby for me. I found great joy in redesigning old pieces and creating new ones by combining gems and beads.
When I was 26 years old, I got married, and much of my life in Iran revolved around painting, creating art, and holding exhibitions.
When I turned 31, my daughter was born, and when she was only three years old, we embarked on a new chapter by moving to Norway on January 1st, 2014. This marked the beginning of a transformative period in my life.
Throughout my life, I have always envisioned myself as an artist, and I worked tirelessly to achieve that dream. My teacher always told me that this journey would be long and that I should find my signature style. "What do you stand for?" he asked.
It was not an easy task. Just as I was about to exhibit my expressive art in Iran, my ex-husband's sudden decision to immigrate to Norway completely altered our plans.
The new country, culture, and language posed considerable challenges. I needed to find my way in a foreign land while dealing with a financial crisis and the pressing need to support my family.
I couldn't speak Norwegian or English at the time, and my confidence was lacking. Moreover, I had never experienced living in another country before, and coming from Iran, a completely different world, made the transition even more challenging.
To overcome these obstacles, I enrolled in Norwegian language courses and participated in other government-sponsored programs aimed at helping me find employment.
Simultaneously, I continued painting and approached art galleries individually, seeking opportunities to hold exhibitions. This was no easy feat, as I faced numerous rejections. However, I refused to give up.
Six months after our arrival in June 2014, I discovered a local market in Oslo that took place every Sunday. It became a significant turning point for me. With my own oriental jewelry, which I redesigned using gems and old pieces, I debuted at the market in June 2014.
My first day on the market with my own oriental jewelry, which I redesigned from gems and old jewelry. June 2014
While waiting for the outcome of my business visa, I rented a gallery space and transformed it using natural elements. It was an incredibly risky and stressful period in my life. Despite all the intricate details and challenges I encountered, this marked the beginning of the Maral Kunst gallery.
Initially, my primary objective was survival, and my inventory consisted primarily of paintings rather than jewelry. Hence, the name "art" resonated perfectly with my intentions.
About the Sunday market, where I've been every Sunday for six years.
During those early days, I primarily focused on painting and sold my creations at more affordable prices. Additionally, I utilized my collection of old jewelry from Iran, which I skillfully redesigned. Whenever brands had sales, I sought discounted jewelry, which I then incorporated into my designs and sold at lower prices.
To minimize risk, I began crafting and selling inexpensive bracelets and necklaces, uncertain whether they would sell.
When I rented the gallery I prepared it with natural things while I waited for the result of the Business Visa
A very risky and stressful time.
Initially, I predominantly adorned myself with oriental and bohemian-style jewelry, featuring vibrant gemstone colors and bold statements reminiscent of my Iranian culture. However, I soon discovered that Norwegians favored the complete opposite—minimalistic and elegant designs. Consequently, I adapted my jewelry creations to cater to Norwegian preferences.
Here's how it was in the beginning
Mostly painting and selling what I could paint at lower prices.
I also recognized the widespread adoration for Frida Kahlo among the Norwegian population, both for her artistry and her character. Consequently, I began painting Frida to generate income and cover my expenses. I would even paint Frida Kahlo on the streets, utilizing my artistic talent to earn money for survival. Additionally, I received numerous painting orders during that period, not just for Frida but also for abstract and collage paintings.
Making and selling low-priced bracelets and necklaces because I'm afraid of not being able to sell them.
After separating from my husband in 2016, I found myself alone—a single mother with limited support and waning confidence. I lacked a proper place to live and spent a few months sleeping in my gallery, which did not even have a bathroom, before finally renting a small apartment.
My gallery was on a secluded street during that challenging time, and I struggled to establish a recognizable presence. Selling my jewelry at very affordable prices became a necessity, as I feared the consequences of being unable to cover my expenses.
Me, painting frida kahlo in the streets to make money to survive.
Fortunately, I discovered that the Sunday market provided an excellent platform for self-promotion. Simultaneously, I began utilizing Instagram and Facebook to showcase my creations. Despite personal obstacles that forced me to grow and transform, I realized I held the key to my happiness and destiny.
Motivated by this newfound understanding, I read books and learned about personal and business success. It was during this period that my new identity began to take shape.
All the decorations and tables were made by me and all the waste was left over from the previous owner of the shop.
Using the funds I received from the divorce settlement, I invested in higher-quality jewelry due to increased demand. Furthermore, whenever I traveled to different cities worldwide, I made it a point to collect jewelry from local designers, incorporating their pieces into my collections. Vintage jewelry also became a significant part of my repertoire.
My passion for painting remained unwavering, and I recognized the need to fully expand the jewelry business to support my artistic pursuits.
Today, after six years, the Maral Kunst gallery has transformed significantly. It has evolved from a mere survival venture into a warm, inviting space where visitors can feel at home. Our mission is to inspire people to embrace life and authenticity, whether they reside in Oslo or visit the beautiful island of Norway.
How it looks after 7 years
This is just the beginning of our remarkable journey. We have faced numerous roadblocks, scaled up our operations, and encountered numerous mistakes and challenges along the way. These experiences will be detailed in the book I am writing.
Today, I take immense pride in saying that we have made it. Together with my incredible team, we have transformed Maral Kunst into a beloved brand that serves our customers with boundless love.
At Imagination Jewelers, creating custom jewelry is our specialty. Whether you have a specific design in mind or need assistance in bringing your vision to life, our experienced jewelers are dedicated to crafting the perfect piece of jewelry for you. From engagement rings and wedding bands to pendants and earrings, we can create any jewelry you can imagine. Our commitment to using only the finest materials and our meticulous attention to detail ensures that each piece is of the highest quality.
If you're searching for a truly unique and personalized jewelry piece, Imagination Jewelers is your go-to destination. We collaborate closely with you throughout the design process, creating a piece that you will cherish for a lifetime.