20 Minutes with Mira Wiesinger
Mira Wiesinger is as multifaceted as a diamond, shining with many different talents: She's an illustrator, an editor, a filmmaker and an author. With her book "Wir lieben Schmuck" ("We love jewellery") Mira illuminates the world of gold, silver, freshwater pearls, beads and charms. She talks about the hidden meaning of how you wear which piece, the codes underlying your Cartier trinity ring and she gives styling-advise. It is a bible for all human magpies. We talked with Mira about the relationship between personality and jewellery, the superpowers of being a mom and how making your own jewellery can be the most relaxing thing. Additionally, Mira showed us her jewellery box and revealed the best places to find some vintage treasures.
Nele Tüch: You are one of these people, who have a lot of different talents: You are an author, journalist and illustrator – where does your heart lie?
Mira Wiesinger: I’m never sure if it is a curse or a blessing to be a woman of many talents. For sure it helps your career to specialize in one thing only. I still prefer to do different things at the same time. I get bored easily and I love it when my work has many facets. I choose to focus on creativity – no matter if in writing, in illustration, in creating video content (which I also do!) – or getting dressed in the morning.
"Don’t let anyone intimidate you for being a mom. It’s your superpower!"
NT: You are freelancing and a mother of two – what would you advise self-employed moms?
MW: Trust in your skills! After my first child, I felt, people would judge me for being a mom. That is nonsense. Be self-confident instead, because you have so many (new) qualities: Moms work much more efficiently. Moms have empathy and strong nerves. Moms can negotiate and cope with less sleep. Don’t let anyone intimidate you for being a mom. It’s your superpower! A tip for self-employed moms: Try to integrate your children into your work. Show and explain to them what you do. Try to inspire them. And let them inspire you. Ask your children for their opinions or even advice (you might be surprised!). Teach them some of your skills. My eight-year-old daughter is such a talented illustrator. It makes me proud.
NT: How did your book-project come to life? Did you always see yourself as an author?
MW: I have always dreamed of writing a book. Newspaper articles vanish so quickly. A book stays. I always pictured it to be a novel but when a friend of mine told me, that Callwey – my publisher – was looking for a jewellery book-author, I started to write a concept immediately. The book was in my head long before I wrote it. Jewellery is my passion. So is illustration. Here I could combine both.
NT: Since Corona, I started to make my own jewellery – to make some friends and me very happy. It’s the perfect thing to do in order to relax. Are you making your own jewellery or did you ever think of doing your own brand?
MW: There’s nothing more relaxing than putting beads on a thread. It’s like meditation. Only better! My daughter and I like to do it together and I love to wear her colourful creations. A brand of my own has crossed my mind several times. But I have never had the guts so far. I am dreaming of collaborating with a jewellery brand: I chip in the ideas and the jeweller produces the pieces. Voilà!
NT: In an interview, you once said you are a treasure-hunter. What are the best places in Berlin to hunt for treasures – second-hand shops, flea markets, little neighbourhood stores?
MW: Since I was a teenager, I loved vintage shopping. I especially like flea markets as I am very good at bargaining. I often walk across the markets at Fehrbelliner Platz or Rathaus Schöneberg. I mostly stick to secondhand shops in my nearby neighbourhood: “Look”, “Viktor & Luise”, “No.8”, “Menzel & Menzel” or “Modena”. But I also check “ebay Kleinanzeigen” regularly for things that I am craving. It helps to have an idea of what you are looking for.
NT: When finding a vintage or second-hand piece of jewellery how do we know it’s genuine?
MW: With jewellery it is quite easy as precious metals have to be stamped (by law). If a piece of jewellery does not have a stamp, it is most likely not genuine or – rather unlikely – very very old. The higher the number in the stamp, the more precious the material: common gold alloys are labelled with the numbers 333 (8 K), 375 (9K), 585 (14K), 750 (18K). With silver it is similar, the most common stamp is 925 (Sterling Silver). I still wouldn’t recommend buying “real” jewellery from a flea market (unless the price is super attractive) since the quality of stones and pearls are hard to evaluate if you are not a pro. It makes sense to consult a jeweller specialized in antique jewellery instead or to auction from a reputable auction house. For so-called costume and fashion jewellery, the flea market is the place to go.
NT: Your top tips to take care of old, tarnished or used jewellery?
MW: Especially silver tarnishes when it is not being worn. There’s a trick, how to clean it without using chemicals: Line a bowl with aluminium foil, add salt, boiling water and your silver jewellery (without stones). Let the pieces set in the solution for at least 30 minutes. Rinse with fresh water and pat dry. Gold/diamond jewellery can be cleaned easily with denture cleaner (e.g. “Corega Tabs”) and a soft toothbrush. Diamonds are lipophilic. It means that they attract all sorts of oils and fats that make them look dull quickly. Therefore, it is very important to clean diamond jewellery regularly. Dish Soap also works miracles. For pearls and coloured stones, it is safer to ask your jeweller for advice. There are several methods to clean jewelry professionally, for instance, using ultrasound or steam.
"Just like in my work life, I like to be multifaceted when it comes to my look and probably also to my personality."
NT: „Show me your jewellery and I tell you who you are“ is a quote from your book. What are your favourite pieces and what do they reveal about your personality?
MW: I wear many jewellery pieces that I have inherited, that I received as a meaningful gift or that I have bought for my self to celebrate or remember a milestone in my life. I especially like a pearl necklace from my grandmother that used to be double the length. My aunt had split the necklace into two pieces, so my cousin and I were able to share it. In general, my jewellery never matches, I combine freely different styles and precious with non-precious pieces. In my opinion, a diamond ring combined with a colourful DIY-bracelet by my daughter is a striking combination. Also, I layer and stack a lot. Just like in my work life, I like to be multifaceted when it comes to my look and probably also to my personality.
NT: Besides jewellery, what is a topic you can’t stop talking or thinking about?
MW: According to my Instagram search feed, I am crazy about cats. Seriously, all it suggests is jewellery and cat content (and lately also other cute animal videos). I have no clue where this is coming from or this is going, but I’d like to blame it on Corona.
NT: Personal leeway (=Freiraum): What does it mean for you and where can you find it?
MW: A friend of mine says, that I am an introvert. That does not necessarily mean, that I am not able to be communicative (which I truly am! I love to chat and to have people around). It only states, that I also need lots of quiet time to balance things out. In order to achieve peace of mind, I am practising Yoga for almost 15 years now. I am also addicted to music. If you are a dinosaur like me and still use Napster, I have an open playlist called “Miras Magic”. With my headphones on, I am able to escape into my very own fantasy world. And, oh, that is a very good place to be. Feel free to meet me there;)
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