La Contessa By Mary DeMarco
Since 1986, Mary DeMarco along with husband, Buddy Wolfe, has been handcrafting the La Contessa line of nature-inspired, pewter jewelry and gifts. Mary draws her inspiration from her Italian heritage (La Contessa means “the countess” in Italian),her love of antiques and anything vintage, her travels abroad, and time spent in her garden.
After graduating from Towson State University in Baltimore with a degree in fine arts and studying in Florence, Italy, Mary started her business. “We are a family owned business,” said Mary. “Our young adult children, Maria, Elle, and Marc, often help with setting up and sales at national art shows, managing the website, and making jewelry.
“We recently moved my studio to our home, so that I can design and make my jewelry while helping take care of my 95 year old father who recently moved in with my husband and I. I am loving being able to spend time with my family, friends, and dogs, biking around Lake Montebello in Baltimore City, and exploring new hobbies all while continuing to do what I love, make jewelry!"
Each La Contessa design is completely handcrafted in the studio. First, a model is sculpted and then casted in pewter. The various pieces are then soldered and finished to create a multi-layered, nature-like appearance. Semi Precious stones such as Carnelian, Desert Jasper, and Mojave Green Turquoise, and Austrian crystals are used to create unique and beautiful combinations of colors. Much attention is paid to detail— turn a piece over and you’ll find a bee, a bird, or a flower or perhaps a pair of hands or a bird in a nest as the closure on a necklace. All of these original features distinguish La Contessa in the marketplace, and the designs are often considered timeless collectibles by many customers.
“At La Contessa, we pride ourselves on American made and being a locally owned business,” said Mary. With so many jobs lost to overseas companies, we can say we are still doing it here, in the U.S., with pride.”