As it states in our Mariamor mission statement, “we are more than a jewelry company.” This truth could not have been more evident than through our recent journey with Maria Bello and NCIS;
Mariamor is about the mission, the message, and spreading love.
In 2017, I was working as a collegiate soccer coach at Pepperdine University. As a 7-day-a-week gig, there was not much “down time,” so in order to fulfill the creative void in my life, I began designing and stamping my “pennies from heaven” collection (coins found on the ground meant to be prayers sent from above) in the living room of my high-rise apartment building in Santa Monica. It was a way to relax after long days of coaching, accidentally frustrate my neighbors with excessive noise (oops), and spread a little love in a world often plagued with darkness.
Graciously (and a bit surprisingly), Brentwood General, an adorable gift shop in Santa Monica, had asked to carry several pieces of my hand-crafted collection. Looking back, I laugh. The packaging was sub-par and the coin was the definition of perfectly imperfect, but you could not have convinced me of it then. I was proud and honored to be included in this home boutique, and was even more excited to hear that an actress named Maria Bello had acquired an interest in our designs. We may not have been a fully functioning company, but it didn’t matter. As I said before, it was never about the jewelry for us, and neither for her: It is in the messages that you find the true purpose of Mariamor. The necklace that she chose was a stamped FAITH quarter on a gold chain with a cross attached to one side. Little did I know, that was the moment that would change our business forever.
After that, we spotted Maria wearing the necklace daily; on social media posts, televised interviews, at award and charity shows, and much more. She obviously loved the necklace and the message, and was proud to keep it close. As thrilled as I was, I was still only a soccer coach. What was I going to do with that kind of publicity?
A year passed, I left Pepperdine to start Mariamor “officially,” and business had started to take off. We were selling at boutiques, street fairs, art shows, trade shows, and home parties; pretty much anywhere where we could get eyes on our products and hearts in our messages. One afternoon, I received a call from the owner of Brentwood General. She told me that they needed five exact replicas of Maria’s necklace; that Maria had been picked up as a recurring character in the upcoming NCIS season and that they would love to make the FAITH necklace that she owned part of her onscreen character.
During her first episode in the show, we knew that the necklace was going to be more than a costume accessory for her new character, Jack Sloane, just as it was for Maria. Sloane had a history, a backstory, that to which she and the necklace were deeply intertwined. From the first episode where we see the skin on her back full of vicious scars, to flashbacks of her military days in captivity, to the season 15 finale where we learn about her captors and her abuse, the message of faith continues to tie in and be relevant to her perseverance and continual hope for better days.
Last week, in the Season 16 premier, through an exhaustive search for her abducted NCIS director, Sloane overcomes her haunting past. She finds faith in herself, her comrades, and her country, and is finally at peace with the cloud of her past that had been darkening her days. At the end of this episode, after she out-maneuvers her past captor and frees her friend (NCIS Director Vance), she finds her way back to the place that her journey of faith began; to the gravesite of her brothers: the team of soldiers with whom she had been captured and abused.
In the episode, she kneels at the base of the headstones. She takes off her FAITH Statement Necklace, that she had been wearing every day (in each episode), holds it tight in her hands, closes her eyes, and kisses the coin and the message of faith that has helped her endure so much. She puts it carefully into a box with the badges of her fallen brothers, takes a deep breath, and buries the necklace and box in the grass with them. Her journey of faith and the road to recovery concluded.
Now, were we sad to see the FAITH necklace go from NCIS? Yes, but this conclusion only exemplifies the true meaning of Mariamor; to SPREAD LOVE and to be an encouragement and inspiration any owner of our designs. It is evident that within the NCIS family, this mission and the meaning of our coin was intimately understood. The FAITH necklace played a key role the defining of Sloane’s life and her character, just like we hope for each one of our customers.
It was a wild year full of incredible highs, and the impact that our coin made on Maria, Sloane, me, and so many of you that have found our site, has been one of the highlights of my life and that of our company. Her journey with her coin was a true embodiment our mission; to be more than a jewelry company and to spread light and love in the lives of others. As we continue to grow, our hope is that you too can find a coin message that speaks to you, maybe it is Maria’s FAITH coin or one of the dozens of others, and that it can be a daily reminder to live that message out loud and