Excellent handcrafted jewelry is designed and hand crafted by talented jewelers and artisan-jewelers the world over. While many designers create entirely unique designs, others are deeply affected by their region’s historic cultural plus traditional styles.
Jewelry expert Merlly Calisto works closely with hundreds of master artisan-designers in her homeland, Peru. There, she serves as local director of Novica. com, a world arts website that assists a large number of artisans worldwide and features every artist’s biography and handcrafted selection online.
In the following interview, Calisto discusses handcrafted jewelry as an talent, and traditional styles and components of handmade jewelry in Peru. Calisto explains what she searches for when seeking new jewelry developers and collections, who she suggests, and how she became a jewellery expert.
CG: Why does Novica focus on handcrafted jewelry, instead of machine-made jewellery? What advantages does handmade jewelry provide over mass-produced designs?
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MC: Handcrafted jewelry is more challenging. You are able to feel the artist’s soul in it. Regarding artisans, handcrafted jewelry provides the chance to explore your creativity, to give associated with yourself and to make it true, without requiring the artist to invest countless numbers to get his or her idea developed. With simple tools, basic raw materials, plus talented hands, artists can convey their feelings and beliefs with this art form, and show off their unique styles and their inherited culture. Machine-made jewelry, on the other hand, requires a significant expense in machines, employees, and many other related costs, while it removes the innovative essence from this art.
CG: Do you know the typical styles of handcrafted jewelry a collector will find in Peru nowadays?
MC: The typical styles for collectors of Peruvian jewelry include Pre-Inca, Traditional, Colonial, and even Modern. We have been recognized for our gold and silver mines, which our ancestors put to use with substantial dedication. The most popular use was for your creation of exquisite, carefully handcrafted jewelry. Our ancestors captured their own beliefs in their jewelry, and the icons associated with those beliefs. You will commonly find Peruvian jewelry featuring regal birds, felines, the Sun God, and so on. Peru is the Land of the Sunlight. Our Colonial jewelry, despite of being the result of the Conquest of the Americas, shows what our ancestors started to create after they learned an entirely new culture. So our Colonial jewellery merges our ancestor’s unique skills with new beginnings, and usually features a heavier emphasis on flora, rather than the emphasis on fauna that their predecessors maintained. Nowadays the art of jewelry design is opening up further in Peru, becoming a more attractive field for new jewelers who prefer modern jewelry — inspired by our roots, but featuring more abstract shapes plus ideas. This means that the Peruvian performer may still express himself in a manner that is inspired by our culture, yet merged again with new beginnings.
CG: Can you describe more of the details one can expect to enjoy in Pre-Inca, Inca, and other Peruvian handcrafted jewellery designs?
MC: Pre-Inca and Inca jewelry share similarities, because the Inca Empire resulted from the conquest of various Pre-Inca cultures. Inca jewelry expresses the Inca’s beliefs and cosmology. You will find images of felines, people, or birds decorated with snakes or sunbeams which express royals, power and loyalty. Some of our own Pre-Inca cultures used a simple, appealing style to express their beliefs, most of those are still commonly represented within artistry today, and not only in jewelry. Colonial style jewelry is regarded as an elegant style. A Colonial jewel design, or a Modern jewelry style inspired by colonial times, provides you with the sense of seeing something designed for the Queen. Although we all do not use diamonds, for example , you cannot confuse this style with a bijouterie — you will feel it like a jewel. Colonial jewelry and Inca-style jewelry are typically stunning handmade pieces of art, perfect for collectors.
CG: What gemstones and metals are mined in Peru, and commonly found in handcrafted Peruvian jewelry? What about the quality amount of those same Peruvian materials?
MC: Nice question, I love it. Have you any idea why? The Silver Institute provides named Peru as the first globe silver producer — yes! — followed by Mexico. Regarding gold, we are the first in Latin America, and the fifth in the world. About quality, we have been considered one of the best. Regarding gemstones, we have a special stone, the Andean Opal. There is a lot of opal around the world, yet Andean Opal is purely Peruvian. From this stone we have Crisocola, which was used by Pre-Incas in their jewelry. Various other popular semiprecious stones are Sodalite, Onyx, Obsidian, Jasper, Serpentine, Angelite.