Entering Maya Jewelry is like walking into a treasure trove. This bright, colorful shop is filled with internationally and domestically sourced jewelry, masks, statues, and other collectibles. From body jewelry to rings to T-shirts and crystals, there’s something unique to fit just about every taste.
According to store manager Jesse Quintero, this eclectic shop has found a home on Melrose Ave. for 40 years. “We were one of the first shops to open on the street,” he notes. “We started off in the 70s located close to the vintage store Flip, moved to a location by Vista Street in the 90s, and into our present spot near Fuller Street six years ago.”
While the shop has shifted its location on Melrose, it has never left the neighborhood, which has embraced the store from the start. “We get both tourists and locals shopping here. We have loyal customers that have visited the shop throughout the years, and new shoppers who’ve heard about us and are excited to see everything we offer.”
Quintero says Maya’s most popular items are their stone rings. “We have such a large selection and variety of different stones. We have natural stones from all different parts of the world.”
The store’s collection includes single stone sterling silver rings for both men and women, and multi-stone rings. Five-stone Nepalese rings are available in combinations such as onyx, labradorite, amethyst, black star, and garnet; while three stone rings feature stones such as amethyst, garnet, moonstone, malachite, star stone, and labradorite.
“Moonstones, turquoise, amber, and tigers eye stones are all big sellers for us,” Quintero relates. “We also have smoky quartz and amethyst rings that are very popular.”
Shoppers are also drawn to whimsical post earrings, Quintero states. “We are well known for all of our small stone earrings in shapes like animals, angels, crosses, and stars. His shoppers also seek out unusual necklaces and pendants. “We bring in seashell jewelry from places like Papua, New Guinea that our customers really appreciate.”
The mix draws patrons of all ages. Nose jewelry, anklets, belts, and bracelets also abound. From an intricate skull-pattern bead necklace to glittering, bangled belts with mirrors, bells, and coins from Pakistan, if shoppers crave exotic jewelry, chances are good they can find something special here.
Maya carries more than just jewelry items, however. “I would have to say what makes us really unique, what makes this store a standout, would be our masks and artifacts. If you walked into the store and knew nothing about us, you’d think you’re walking into a mini-museum,” Quintero attests. “It’s really a cultural arts store, it’s diverse and we have very artistic items.”
Among these items are crystal wands and pendants and wooden wall hangings. But among the most plentiful artisnal items are decorative masks of all kinds. “We have feathered, wood, and clay masks. Many come from Nepal and Indonesia,” Quintero says.
The masks are startling and vivid. Some are crafted to resemble bright green frogs and there are fish, faces with birds, gold-horned demons, and Native American totems in the mix.
“We also carry sculptural pieces such as statues. Some depict Kali or Buddha. Others are angels or dragons.”
Even clothing items are included in the carefully curated shop. “We have metallic tops and feathered bottoms that we sell a lot of for Burning Man and at Halloween,” Quintero says. Some are even original Maya creations. “We make some pieces ourselves by combining items, or from items that have broken or are left over that we recycle into new forms.” The items designed and made in-store are often one-of-a-kind, and are not typical designs.
Quintero has just a few words of advice for first time visitors to Maya. “Come in with an open mind, and be ready to shop,” he laughs. “There’s something for everyone, really. But even if you don’t buy anything, just come in and escape for the moment.”
With an invitation like that, shoppers need only ask themselves one thing: what are you waiting for?
7360 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046