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10 Years of Jewelry Making Experience and Enthusiasm
Hello! I’m Mark Thaler, the designer and owner of Swanheart Jewelry. Formerly known as “Markalino Jewelry”, I’ve been designing and handcrafting unique, one-of-a-kind jewelry. My journey into jewelry making began 10 years ago and it’s been my passion ever since.
As a child growing up in San Francisco during the 1980’s, I would admire my mother, her cousins and her friends, who were always impeccably dressed and wore bold, glamorous costume jewelry was a part of that. The 1980’s were all about the big and bold when it came to fashion. Jewelry was, of course, the means of making a statement and designers at the time were looking to push design boundaries while exploring use of new materials.
Television shows such as Dynasty and Dallas influenced much of this fashion trend, as well as icons such as Princess Diana, Cyndi Lauper and Madonna. It was predominantly the beaded, crystal and cut glass statement pieces that always caught my eye and held me captive. Little did I know that years later I would begin designing my own pieces!
My creative journey didn’t actually begin until my 20’s. I started out with decorative wood boxes, which I painted and adorned the top using dollhouse miniature items, setting a sort of “scene”. Following that, I made jeweled eggs; then hats decorated with silk flowers and feathers; then it was masks representing showgirls and glamorous female characters and finally, jewelry, which is the creative passion that finally stuck.
2007 was the year I began making jewelry, starting with simple filigree earrings that I encrusted with Swarovski flat back crystals. I had brought to a family gathering that summer and they were an instant hit! And believe me, if my family doesn’t like something, they’re going to be honest about it, so their enthusiasm told me that I was on the right track. After this, I began conducting online research about jewelry making and I was frequenting the local San Francisco bead shops to purchase more supplies.
During the beginning stages of my jewelry making, there was a lot of experimentation, along with trial and error. Being a jewelry newbie, I was so enthusiastic about making jewelry that I was producing way too much of it, not really knowing if it was well-made, but concentrating on whether or not it was “pretty”. However, over time I learned which materials were the best to use and which techniques proved to furnish the best results in creating lasting pieces. I learned that it is best to create fewer, more exquisite pieces that are going to be a part of a woman’s jewelry collection for a lifetime rather than create an overly-abundant collection that could fall apart in a short amount of time.
After 10 years of designing and constructing jewelry, I can say with confidence that I offer unique, high quality, well-made jewelry that brings compliments and admiration to those who wear it. My experience has led me to creating gorgeous pieces of jewelry that will last for many years to come with proper care and storage.
My original business name had been “Sparkly and Dangly”, which was really a name I came up with to be “cute”. Then, after my father passed away in 2011 after a four-year battle with cancer, I changed the name to “Markalino Jewelry”. Markalino was a nickname my father had given me as a child and it seemed to stick through my adulthood. It was in 2017 that I decided to change the name once again, this time to “Swanheart Jewelry”, with swans being representative of elegance, grace and love. This is my latest endeavor, which is going to focus on creating jewelry that is inspired by women throughout the ages, yet is made for the amazing women of today.
My jewelry also extends to drag queens, who are constantly influenced by female fashion icons of every era. There is often a misconception about drag queens, that they want to “be” women, but in reality, drag queens are men who enjoy being entertainers while dressed up in over-the-top costumes, quite often for the purpose of raising funds for charities, as well as raising community awareness regarding various issues.
I thank each and every one of my customers who have been supportive and have returned to me time after time for my unique jewelry creations. Also, I thank my family and friends who continue to inspire me each and every day.
In addition to crafting jewelry, I also enjoy creating graphics on my computer, so you will see instant download graphics in my shop for a reasonable price.
Owner, Maker, Designer
Since 2007, I have been handcrafting high quality, well-made jewelry made of materials such as gemstone beads and Swarovski crystals. I'm inspired by family, friends and the glamorous jewelry of the 80's.
Returns & exchanges
- Custom or personalized orders
- Digital downloads
- Items on sale
- To communicate with you about your order
- To fulfill your order
- For legal reasons (like paying taxes)
Frequently asked questions
Custom and personalized orders
Please contact me through my Etsy shop if you would like something custom made for you. I specialize in Statement Necklaces, Bib Necklaces, Jewelry Sets and more. I even do crowns and tiaras! All I would need from you is:
1. A color scheme you have in mind;
2. If there are particular types of beads used (Swarovski, Gemstone, etc.)
3. A style you would like (statement necklace, charm bracelet, etc.).
4. Your approximate budget.
Don't worry if you aren't quite sure of those answers yet as we can brainstorm when you contact me. I can also use sentimental parts from broken jewelry you have but don't want to throw away. Estimates are free and pricing is determined by the cost of materials and labor. I can work with most any budget.
In most cases:
1. Use a mild, sudsy dish soap and rinse with lukewarm water.
2. Gently pat jewelry dry with a clean, soft cloth and allow to air dry the rest of the way.
3. Store in a cool, dry place.
Do not use chemical jewelry cleaners, Windex or cleaners with abrasives. If the jewelry you order requires special additional care, instructions will be included with that piece.
My new jewelry care guide in PDF format is available on my blog, which gives much more thorough details on jewelry care and storage.
Please feel free to contact me if you have additional care questions.
Are you an experienced jewelry designer/maker?
Yes! As of July 2017, I have reached a 10-year milestone with jewelry designing and handcrafting. My first 10 years started with trial and error, which led me to self-educating through research conducted online and I've grown a lot in this business. I know what kind of parts to use and not to use, what materials are high quality and which are low quality, and techniques to ensure longevity in what i make. Today, I am confident with the jewelry I make and i'm positive you will be thrilled with anything you order from me, whether something I've already crafted, or a custom piece based on what you would like. I'm always happy to answer questions, so feel free to send me a message through my Etsy shop anytime.
Were you previously Markalino Jewelry?
Yes! I first started out at "Sparkly and Dangly" back in 2007. Then, I changed the name to "Markalino Jewelry" in 2012. "Markalino" was a nickname I had been given by my father from the time I was a young boy and the name always stuck. In May 2011, my father passed away after a 4-year battle with lung and kidney cancer, so I decided to use the name of "Markalino" for my jewelry business. It wasn't until June 2017 that I decided that I needed to make many changes in my business, one of them being a new name, one that sounded a little less "stuffy". I chose the name of "Swanheart" Jewelry, because the image of two swans together forming a heart represents love, which is what I base my life on...do everything you do with love.
Do you sell your work in any shops or at shows?
At this time, I am not selling at any boutiques and I do not have a brick-and-mortar shop. I do sell for a couple of events each October and November at the Elks Lodge in South San Francisco. Visit my blog or sign up for my newsletter to keep informed about these events.
If you are a boutique owner or manager and would like to talk about consignment opportunities, please send me a message and I will reply as soon as possible!
Do you sell on any other shopping sites or on your own website?
At this time, I am selling exclusively on Etsy. However, I am currently working on my stand alone website and once it is ready to launch, I will be sure to announce it!
What if my package is lost, stolen or damaged?
In most cases, I pay for shipping insurance or it is already provided when shipping via USPS Priority. If your package is lost or stolen, please contact me to let me know. I will file an insurance claim with the USPS (or U-Pic Shipping Insurance) and you will be kept informed of its progress.
For a package that arrives damaged, please submit one or more photos showing the damaged package and the damaged item you ordered, so that it may be included when filing the insurance claim. You will also be asked to sign a statement of damages, which I will provide to the USPS (or U-Pic Shipping Insurance).
Please note that the insurance claim process may be somewhat lengthy, so please be patient.
I'm buying something from your shop as a gift. Can it be exchanged?
Absolutely. If you are buying something as a gift for someone, please indicate this in the "Note to Seller" section at checkout and I will include a gift receipt. All the recipient needs to do is send me a message through my shop to let me know the Order/Gift Receipt number and which item they would like in exchange. Once their original item that you ordered for the recipient has been received back, I will send out their exchange item right away! Gift Receipts are not redeemable for cash, but the amount may be applied to a custom jewelry order, if your recipient decides they would like something custom made.
Is there a website where I can see more of your work?
Absolutely! Please visit my blog at http://swanheartjewelryblog.wordpress.com and click on the "Portfolio" link. You will then be able to see my handcrafted jewelry by category.