PaperCity Magazine

December 2015 - Houston

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BY CATHERINE D. ANSPON. PHOTOGRAPHY MAX BURKHALTER. ART DIRECTION MICHELLE AVIÑA. INTERIOR DESIGN RICHARD HOLLEY. B efore there was a fashion or accessories industry in Houston, there was Mariquita Masterson, who improbably began what would become a booming family bijoux business on an inspirational lark while chairing the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's Grand Gala Ball in 1982. While planning her MFAH fête with a Calder theme, she improvised table design, which called for glass creations. Finding herself in the Montrose studio of artisan Drew Ebelhare, she was struck by the beauty of the chunks of glass, and the idea for making jewelry came like a lightning bolt. Within five years, it incubated into a thriving business, and soon socials were accessorizing '80s-era ball gowns and power suits by Oscar de la Renta and Arnold Scaasi with dramatic Mariquita Masterson necklaces and earrings of melted dollops of glass cradled by vermeil, silver or gold. The designer's delightful life in Texas began in 1957, when Mariquita moved from Mexico City to Houston after being match-made and married into the Masterson family through the machinations of Carroll Sterling Masterson, a one-time neighbor in Mexico City (before her own marriage to Harris Masterson). Mariquita and future husband Stewart Masterson met at Rienzi during the deb party for Isla Reckling (nee Winston). A happy, rollicking marriage of 47 years followed, along with five children and, to date, 18 grandchildren. As her children grew up, so did the business, and as of today, all five children, Stewart Jr., Charles, Harry, Libbie, George and one granddaughter, Nina, participate in varying aspects of the Mariquita Masterson biz. The jewelry is designed and made in Houston, and stocked at the matriarch's eponymous shop on River Oaks Boulevard, as well as at Tootsies. On a recent visit, her boutique was charmingly decked out for Day of the Dead festivities with his-and-hers life-sized papier-mâché skeletons in classic BLOOD BLUE BOHO MARIQUITA MASTERSON HOLDS COURT

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