Miraculous Jewelry

Mary Jo Pane, Miracle Icons Jewelry Designer

From Omaha to the Big Apple, Mary Jo Pane has taken her devotion and interest in spirituality and transformed it into a successful line of jewelry called Miracle Icons.  Using rare and beautiful saintly charms and beads, this self-taught jewelry designer and maker creates exclusive pieces not only for the public, but for her huge celebrity following as well. Get to know Mary Jo Pane as she chats with us about growing up in Nebraska, her journey to becoming a designer and spirituality as a whole.

Izabella M. de Souza: How did growing up in a Catholic household in Omaha, Nebraska shape your perception of spirituality as a whole?

Mary Jo Pane: My parents, especially my mom, were people of great faith.  Her strength inspired me and I feel that was a strong guide to my personal spirituality. I was blessed early on with a lot of friends of other faiths. They have helped me to look at spirituality in a different way. I personally feel spirituality is far more important than being “religious”.

I.D.: You describe your ideal client as “the spiritually evolved”. How can Miracle Icons contribute to someone’s spiritual evolution?

M.J.P.: Anytime you think about spirituality the evolution is happening. I have customers of all faiths and I am humbled by that, it means people get the message.

Miracle Icons

I.D.: You had worked in the fashion industry for several years prior to creating Miracle Icons. How did your previous experience in fashion come into play when designing your line?

M.J.P.: It gave me a great starting point as far as connections to the stores I wanted to be in, especially Barneys. Jay Bell, a men’s designer buyer at the time was working with me in a showroom and noticed my necklace, then referred me to the CO-OP buyers. To be in Barneys was a dream come true.  I think I danced down 5th Avenue after that first appointment. Additionally, all my prior work as a wholesale rep and a buyer before that provided me a great understanding of the business.

I.D.: How has living in New York City for the past several years influenced your inner-designer?

M.J.P.: Walking down the street I get inspired by what I see. This is such a great city for personal style.  I have followed people down the street to take photos of a bracelet or necklace I see that is interesting.  A detail on a building might inspire as well.

I.D.: You are a self taught jewelry maker and have described your ability to produce your handmade pieces as “innate”. Can you describe the process in creating your pieces and how your inherent talent has evolved?

M.J.P.: When I first started I knew nothing about making jewelry.  I have been lucky to work with some great people who supported me through this process.  Menswear designer Andrew Harmon was one of the best, asking me to make jewelry for one of his fashion shows.  He really taught me some things about working with sterling and seeing the concept in a different way.  I thank him to this day for that.  I have been mentored by one of the biggest jewelry suppliers in the city, who continues to help and guide me to this day. It is working with people like them, doing trunk shows and getting first hand feed back from customers that help me constantly evolve with my work.

I.D.: The charms and medals used in your collections are precious and often very rare. How do you come across such exclusive iconographic and decorative pieces?

M.J.P.: I mainly work with one dealer in Europe, and a few people in the states. My friends and family are constantly on the look for me.

I.D.: There are specific criteria you follow when creating your pieces. For example, I read that you only use an odd number of charms and medals on your pieces; and that if you have already used several masculine saints, you try to infuse some feminine energy with a female saint. Can you elaborate?

Miracle Icons

M.J.P.: Believe it or not every mix is personal to me, as far as shape and mix of saints.  I do pay attention to what goes on the piece. I think it’s important to embrace the female energy of Mary and female saints, as well as Sacred Heart and the male saints. I think the coolest part about the bracelets for example is that most of them are authentic Buddhist meditation beads.  I love the idea of marrying Eastern and Western beliefs.

I.D.: Miracle Icons has acquired quite the following in Hollywood. Some of your most famous clients include Halle Berry, Johnny Depp, Justin Timberlake, Michelle Obama, Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Anderson Cooper, Matthew McConaughey, Robin Williams, Mira Sorvino, Angel Corella, Bruce Weber, Susan Sarandon and Jake Gyllenhaal, just to name a few. How has this tremendous popularity affected Miracle Icons?

M.J.P.: Having Bruce Springsteen on the cover of Rolling Stone wearing several necklaces certainly brought a lot of attention to Miracle Icons. Shortly after that cover came out I was lucky enough to meet him and give him a special necklace that I made.  He acted like I was the big deal, what a great moment that was! Of the people you mentioned only two were given pieces, the rest of them came to it on there own. Cool, rock stars, newsmen, ballet stars, and people like me.

I.D.: What can we expect from Miracle Icons in the future?

M.J.P.: Certainly a continuing of the look I have come to be known by and adding some color for spring and summer, starting to mix in some other spiritual symbols to make it a bit more ecumenical.

– Izabella M. de Souza, E-Commerce Copywriter

3 Comments

  1. Posted 12.22.10 at 4:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I’m sure Mary Jo’s wonderful work puts a smile on the face of God and his saints as it does on my face and those of her collectors. I’m anxious for more! Best wishes for continuous inspiration and success.

  2. patty
    Posted 01.01.11 at 6:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

    great article…i’ve given all my miracle icons away…i need to order more! even though i bought them all for gifts…it was difficult to part with each piece…just shows how special all your pieces of jewelry are!

  3. Gayle Dallas Blackston
    Posted 01.08.11 at 10:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I went to check out your prices, having been so disappointed by Philip Crangi’s outrageous prices. Well, I’m very pleased to
    report that Miracle Icons are so affordable.

    I mean I can see having them. I can get my head around a $300 necklace. No,
    I don’t have it now, but it may be doable even in budget lockdown.
    Congratulations, Mary Jo!

    Gayle Dallas Blackston

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