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About the Artist

Marlena Winiarska

I was born in 1962 in Gdansk-Poland. As a child I attended Elementary Music School and learned to play the piano till the age of 13, when my family moved to North Africa and I  attended St. Monica’s School in Malta. 

That’s where as a teenager I developed an interest and love for Italian Fashion and style in both clothing and jewelry. My first designs were in clothes at the age of 15.

I moved to Vienna to start college and ended up working as an interpreter for Tolstoy Foundation, assisting fellow Polish Citizens gain Political Asylum in the US during the period of the Solidarity Movement and Martial Law in Poland. I myself became a political refugee and moved to Arizona in 1982. I played music for a living for a number of years before I returned to my first love – Jewelry. In the 1990’s I started designing and making my first jewelry pieces. I was always fascinated with Turquoise and Pearls. I discovered the Kingman Turquoise Mine and to this day I make regular trips to hand pick my stones. Pearls are my personal favorite though, so most of the pieces I handcraft today are in pearls. I am a self taught silversmith, 20+ years in the making:) 

My goal over the years has been to create my own Stems and Gems Brand. My signature designs are the flower stem motif that I use in most of my ring designs and my wrapped wire clusters around my tall bezels that crown the gem stones. Even though my work has evolved over the years and has gotten much better IMHO, I stay true to myself, always looking for ideas in my imagination that express my personal aesthetic while continuing a cohesive collection. I never stop working, creating, designing and learning. Over the years I have taken advanced workshops in Europe to further my skill, working under the instruction of top college professors from accredited art colleges.

Stems & Gems Jewelry Designer
Stems & Gems Jewelry Designs
Stems & Gems Jewelry

My unique designs have earned me a featured spot on Modern Living with Kathy Ireland that we filmed in 2016 and it aired on E! Entertainment Network in 2016/2017. The feature provided me with a global platform to share my story, my creations and designs worldwide.

Over the years my work has been on display in many Boutiques, Art Galleries and Museums. The one I am most proud of is the Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian in Washington DC. My other favorite is my own Stems and Gems Jewelry Gallery that I open every Holiday Season at the Fashion Square Mall in Scottsdale AZ, as a Pop Up Business Model. 

Jewelry Designer of Stems & Gems

My Jewelry is not designed to fit in, It is designed to stand out, so dare to wear! That is my tag line, my motto, my mission statement in a way. Everything starts with sterling silver sheet, wire, and free form gems stones. I design and create statement pieces that I am passionate about, blending these natural stones with modern European contemporary design, creating a unique brand of truly one of a kind custom handcrafted jewelry. Since I grew up in Europe and North Africa and later moved to the US, my influences have been from all 3 continents. You may catch a glimpse of something that is influenced by the Arabic and Turkish jewelry in a Suk Shop in North Africa, or my main inspiration that is a blend of the Maltese Cross that has a very specific proportion and the Native American Cross that you would see in a Gallery in Santa Fe. Regardless of shape, they all make a statement and allow my customers to express their individual sense of style. I have a “customer for life philosophy”, so every collection that I create is a continuation of the previous one. This way my customers have become collectors of my work over the years, and every new piece of jewelry perfectly blends with what they already own. My “Convertible Enhancer Bail” is my own invention and my own design detachable bail that allows my customers the flexibility and interchangibility of switching the pieces out to create different looks. My jewelry is the love of my life, and my creations are like the children that I never had. Every piece is unique and comes with a lot of love and patience.

My work is always available thru my website at  I, myself, show at 3 to 4 Art Shows a year, all in Arizona, that I post on my website schedule. I also open my Pop-Up Stems and Gems Jewelry Gallery at the Fashion Square Mall in Scottsdale, AZ every Holiday Season. I tour Europe with my work every summer. You can also purchase my work at Boutiques, Art Galleries and Museums Gift Shops in the US and worldwide.