We want to give artists and artisans around the world a global platform to express their true artistic talents and to spur their creativity. And, we want to provide you with access to unique, hard-to-find items at great values that only the Internet infrastructure can allow.In association with National Geographic, NOVICA offers a wide range of home decor, jewelry, and wall art from South and Central America, Africa, and Asia. The site is fun to browse, too. You can look at a Maya mask (seeing this on the wall would give me nightmares!) and jump directly to reverse painted glass jewelry boxes (these are so pretty!).
For my review item, I started looking at jewelry. I don't wear a lot of jewelry, and what I do wear is generally understated. So I began with silver pendant necklaces. A few of them caught my eye, but they were either out of my price range or tinged with religious symbolism that I didn't want to wear. I dropped the "sterling silver" filter (I appreciate the number of filters available to refine your results) and sorted by price. After much browsing, I chose a Carnelian and citrine pendant necklace. I wear a lot of blue, and I think the contrast will be fun. (If you wear earrings--I don't--you'll find a vast array of styles. Just of garnet dangle earrings there are 226 items.)
Now that I'd decided to divide my budget between two items, I started looking at handbags. It was not long before I fell in love with this 'Maya Meadows' cotton tote. I like the muted colors, the pretty design, and the hand-loomed cotton.
NOVICA is also introducing a new feature, curation. This allows users to create galleries of items and images. I used this to save the items that I was considering, which is not the intended use. (You can see my jewelry collection if you like.) The object is to boost the exposure and success of favorite artisans.
The last thing I want to mention about shopping on the site is the great amount of information available. For example, for the necklace I chose, the product page contains a description which includes materials used; dimensions of both the necklace and the pendant; two photos; a biographical sketch of the artisan, reviews of her work, and links to more of her items.
The items arrived reasonably quickly. The necklace was in a cute, tiny box. Inside, the necklace was in a fabric pouch. The butterfly was just as pictured. My only disappointment is that the butterfly is crimped onto the leather cord. If it wasn't, I would slip it off and wear the pendant on a silver chain.
The bag was gift-wrapped and embellished with a Mayan worry doll. The bag itself is just as pretty as pictured. I would like to see a clearer distinction between handbags and tote bags, but I count that as my oversight. My two favorite features? The zipper closure and the machine washability.
So that's my shopping experience with NOVICA. If you like items that are exotic or brightly colored, I think you'll enjoy browsing the site.