WORN OVER TIME
The Worn Over Time stall is a monthly draw at the world famous ‘Rose Bowl’ Market in Pasadena; California, and it's easy to understand why; dealing in diverse range of rare vintage and antique jewellery and specialising in Native American turquoise & silver, Mark and his wife Lorraine have become world renowned for sourcing some remarkable pieces spanning over century.
Thoughtfully laid out in glass cabinets and mechanics draws, Chimayo rugs draped over the collapsable tables, the back of the marquee is hung with turquoise and concho studded belts, with the occasional eye-catching vintage piece in-between the stall feels more like a permanent fixture than a set it up - pull it down affair.
Only as you are drawn closer by the sun reflecting of the glass cabinets, an occasional glint of what's inside shimmers with the quality of sunlight bouncing off of slowly moving water, you start to see the sheer abundance of vintage jewellery which Mark and Lorraine have accumulated.
Inside each glass cabinet is a highly curated jumble of rings, cuffs and necklaces piled up by period and style begging you to get lost in them, which is incredibly easy to do; shifting from one tray to another each precious piece giving you the feeling of a prospector panning for gold. The experience can be quite overwhelming, especially when temperatures are in the mid-40s, the California sun beating down on you, hot silver warm in your hands.
On the few occasions I have had the pleasure to meet Mark I have always enjoyed watching his interaction with customers, communicating differently and keying into the unique of energy of each interaction and transaction, guiding who ever he is speaking to to the perfect piece which speaks to them viscerally.
Native American and Turquoise jewellery can seem kitsch and quaint at first, though the personal connection you make to it is like no other precious stone that I can think of. Before Mark's visit I took the opportunity to ask Mark about Worn Over Time, it's growth, and what his connection to the vintage jewellery he trades in means to him.
"I was drawn to Native American objects early on because of the influence of older folks within my subculture and more than anything the power & mojo they have"
Standing at just over 6ft, with short hair, a long-dreaded beard and adorned with an eye-catching abundance of jewellery, Mark could be misconstrued as intimidating at first glance; though after a short time in his company the calm and grounding energy which Mark exudes encompasses you and you realise his incredible generosity of spirit and disarming self-awareness.
Growing up in Southern California throughout the 60's & 70's Mark worked through the local flea-markets buying and selling, picking-up on evolving trends and trading in them. "Early CA flea markets were like everything else during that innocent slower paced period of US culture - when folks were unaware of the flea markets social value"
On these trading trips he began to gain a interest in Native American Jewellery and artefacts, accumulating a collection out of his own interest without thought of re-selling - "I was drawn to Native American objects early on because of the influence of older folks within my subculture and more than anything the power & mojo they have"
"High end retailers, decorators, costumers, designers, and stylists have always know about us as a source for cool shit but we didn’t become more broadly known in general and or at the Bowl until the Internet influence kicked in."
I asked Mark a few questions about his Worn Over Time and his connection to what he does:
Q: How do you find the understanding or connection to turquoise changes all over the world?
A: Turquoise catches the eye of everyone, worldwide, regardless of their background they are drawn to it, there are individuals in all cultures that dig turquoise and it brings all regardless them together, regardless of social status.
Q: Do you have a favourite type?
A: I don't have a favourite mine or colour, I prefer all powerfully aged stones; sometimes the more worn and damaged the better!
Q: Is there any particular period you are drawn towards?
A: I was first inspired by the Anasazi and Hohokam art seen in museums which was produced before, during and after the time of christ, although I'm currently drawn to pre-30s Navajo silver with or without turquoise.
Q: Do you have a favourite Piece
A: Early Navajo Ketoh, because it has serious mojo!
Q: Is there a particular customer you like?
A: Whoever appreciates and is inspired by an object enough so they are better off because of it.
Mark will be in-store with us at Clutch Cafe from the 12-14th of September, with a selection of his items for sale, please come by and say hello, have a chat, and immerse yourself in the and experience the serious 'Mojo' of turquoise.