Charisma Bolivia: What's in a Name?

by Charisma Bolivia
(Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia)

People often ask me why I named my jewelry brand Charisma Bolivia. Most often, people think it’s simply based on my name. It is... to a point... but there’s a lot more to the story of my name and my brand.

Charis is a Greek word (χάρις) which means “grace” (given freely, without condition). Early Christians in Greece used this word when explaining God’s love for us, because His love and forgiveness are offered freely and unconditionally. They are a gift and we do not have to earn them or be deserving or worthy of them. By God’s grace, or “charis”, we are loved and forgiven without question.

Early financial laws were based on the same precept, hundreds of years prior to the birth of Christ. In Israel, financial law was based on a command given by God to creditors to forgive their debtors of any remaining amounts owed to them, every seven years... no questions asked. This allowed debtors to preserve their dignity and start over with a clean slate. It was a matter of human decency, of loving others as God loves us. In the United States, the custom of granting debtors a few extra penalty-free days when they make a late payment is based on the same biblical precept. That’s why it’s called a “grace period”.

But prior to the introduction of Christianity, the Greeks worshipped other gods. In their tradition, Charis was a goddess, one of three daughters of Zeus, called the “Graces” or “Charities”. She and her sisters were known for being very entertaining, kind, and generous with their talents. They shared their gifts freely with others and brought happiness to all whose lives they touched. They were “gracious”. Charis, the youngest of the three, was the goddess of splendor, beauty and adornment. She was said to have a sort of magical appeal.

From her name stems the word Charisma, defined as a "special magnetic charm" or "a special quality that makes a person capable of inspiring others". People who have charisma tend to be leaders rather than followers. Why? Charisma isn’t about being physically attractive. It’s about being attractive through self-confidence. People who have charisma appeal to others because they project their own self-worth. Charismatic people are comfortable with themselves. Because of this, they are not desperate for attention. Instead, they are free to give their time and attention to others. Charismatic people are typically givers. In a word, they are gracious.

These are the qualities I want my brand to reflect, especially if it’s going to carry my actual name! I don’t want my brand to be just one more of many thousands that tell men and women they must be physically perfect and beautiful, follow the latest fashion trends, or adorn themselves cosmetically to be accepted. I want Charisma Bolivian jewelry to be worn by men and women who believe in themselves, value themselves, and treasure their own uniqueness. It’s also the reason why I decided I will never make more than one of each piece. There will always be something different and unique... like you... in each one.

There are certain values that I attempt to portray in everything I do and I wanted my company name to reflect that. One of them is charity, another reason why I chose Charisma as my company name. I donate 10% of all profits to WANIDES, a non-profit organization founded by Bolivians who live in the Washington D.C. area, that raises funds to improve health and living conditions for needy Bolivian children. I believe we should always give back to the communities we and our artisans live in, and this goes hand in hand with any work we do.

Jewelry should complement who you are, not define you. Adorn yourself first with loving kindness, an ability to forgive, graciousness toward others, and the ability to treat all people equally and with respect. Be generous with your personal gifts, whatever they may be. Love and be yourself, create your own style, and find your charisma. Then, you can complement your awesomeness with a great piece of jewelry.

Charisma Bolivia jewelry is handcrafted by artisans in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. I then bring our collections back to the U.S.A. where I place them in our online store. All orders are mailed worldwide from California. I invite you to watch the slideshow of Santa Cruz, Bolivia below. Charis

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