Shortly after her father’s death, Mary Wallace discovered an old war trunk that had once belonged to him. What she found inside was an array of antique war medals and watch fobs that sparked her creativity to launch a jewelry line like no other. Inspired by a love of everything Parisian, European architecture, and her beloved father’s stories of travel while stationed in France during World War II, Mary created a unique line that resonates a timeless yet fashion-forward style that appeals to women of all ages. The name of the company, Mary James, is a tribute to Mary’s father, James, for his inspiration and encouragement.
“The embellishments to my pieces are completely dictated by the integrity of the medal,” says Mary. She uses precious stones, such as labradorite, pearls, chrysoprase, Peruvian opal, coral, turquoise, lapis lazuli, and carnelian—all set in gold fill and sterling silver. Each antique is transformed into an exquisite piece of heirloom jewelry to be passed down for generations.
All medals are original, and most are one-of-a-kind. They include military tributes, Victorian sports medals, antique watch fobs, and traditional European “Mother and Child” medals. After WWII, the Allied countries commissioned an “Angel of Victory” medal. Each country selected its own artist to design its medal. The medals of Belgium, France, Italy, and Great Britain are among the most popular in the Mary James line, and the value of the pieces only increases with time.
For more unique products, see “Favorite Things” from the May/June 2015 issue of Victoria magazine.