A home is not built from a feeling or a place, but rather from relationships. For Maruta, this could not be more true. Home is with her merchant friends on a back road in Kathmandu, Nepal. It is with the women in Latvia who provide beautiful hand-woven linens and good conversation. And home is in Boulder, with her daughters and her business, Gypsy Jewel.
After studying anthropology and Tibetan language and literature, Maruta journeyed to Nepal for the first time in search of assistance translating the biography of a 15th century Tibetan yogi. Upon her arrival, Maruta felt an overwhelming sense of belonging. So she stayed - for 12 years.
Maruta first began teaching English to Nepalese students, then she transitioned into teaching Tibetan literature to University of Wisconsin overseas students. But she soon discovered that her greatest skill in life was building connections with others, often through shopping at local artisan and merchant stores.
When she returned to America with her children, Maruta also brought back jewels and textiles and art. “The first four years in Boulder, I rented a space to sell jewelry out of Nomad Bead Merchants. Once I was stable enough, I was able to move into my own storefront downtown. Twenty five years later, I still haven’t left the Boulder area,” said Maruta.
Except she does leave almost every year for trips to Nepal and India and Latvia to rekindle friendships and purchase more hand-crafted items for Gypsy Jewel, as well as beads and stones which her daughter fashions into beautiful jewelry of her own design.
For Maruta, it’s always been about connection. “I’ve developed a community in Boulder made up of customers and friends and artisans. Boulder is also unique in its strong intellectual stimulation. People here travel and expand their minds and learn and grow - these are unique qualities.”
“About 15 years ago, I was in India on a buying trip for the store. I happened upon the Jaipur Literature Festival, an explosion of color and art and authors. Because of the strong, intellectual Boulder community, I was able to help bring the Jaipur Literature Festival to our town six years ago. Having a community that celebrates the culture and ambiance of other cultures is beautiful,” explained Maruta.
Maruta’s mission is simple: connect cultures through art. “When you purchase items at Gypsy Jewel, you are building a chain from an artist sitting in a shop in Kathmandu, or a weaver in the ancient streets of Riga Latvia. You are wearing pieces crafted from artisans around the world.”
To best support her mission, visit the store and admire the artwork. Tell people where you purchased your jewelry from. And understand the origins of the pieces.
“We really need connection - between cultures and between people - now more than ever,” emphasized Maruta. Whether your home is in Boulder or you are traveling from afar, take a moment to visit Gypsy Jewel and discover the beauty created from the relationships that built this most unique boutique shop.
I’ve developed a community in Boulder made up of customers and friends and artisans.