Exceptional handcrafted jewelry is designed and hand crafted by talented jewelers and artisan-jewelers the world over. While many designers create completely unique designs, others are deeply influenced by their region’s historic cultural and traditional styles.
Jewelry expert Merlly Calisto works closely with numerous master artisan-designers in her homeland, Peru. There, she serves as local director of Novica. com, a world arts website that assists thousands of artisans worldwide and features every artist’s biography and handcrafted collection online.
In the following interview, Calisto discusses handcrafted jewelry as an art form, and traditional styles and components of handmade jewelry in Peru. Calisto explains what she looks for when seeking new jewelry developers and collections, who she suggests, and how she became a jewellery expert.
CG: Why does Novica are experts in handcrafted jewelry, instead of machine-made jewellery? What advantages does handmade jewelry provide over mass-produced designs?
MC: Handcrafted jewelry is more challenging. You are able to feel the artist’s soul in it.
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For artisans, handcrafted jewelry provides the chance to explore your creativity, to give more of yourself and to make it true, with out requiring the artist to invest hundreds to get his or her idea developed. Along with simple tools, basic raw materials, plus talented hands, artists can communicate their feelings and beliefs in this art form, and show off their unique styles and their inherited culture. Machine-made jewelry, on the other hand, requires a significant investment in machines, employees, and many other related costs, while it removes the creative essence from this art.
CG: Do you know the typical styles of handcrafted jewelry a collector will find in Peru today?
MC: The typical styles for enthusiasts of Peruvian jewelry include Pre-Inca, Traditional, Colonial, and even Modern. We are recognized for our gold and silver mines, which our ancestors put to use with significant dedication. The most popular use was for that creation of exquisite, carefully handcrafted jewelry. Our ancestors captured their beliefs in their jewelry, and the emblems associated with those beliefs. You will popularly find Peruvian jewelry featuring royal birds, felines, the Sun God, and so forth. Peru is the Land of the Sun. 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 precursors maintained. Nowadays the art of jewelry design is opening up further in Peru, becoming a more attractive field for new company who prefer modern jewelry — inspired by our roots, but featuring more abstract shapes and 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 information 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 the Pre-Inca cultures used a simple, appealing style to express their beliefs, the majority of those are still commonly represented in artistry today, and not only within jewelry. Colonial style jewelry is regarded as an elegant style. A Colonial jewel design, or a Modern jewelry design inspired by colonial times, gives you the sense of seeing something designed for the Queen. Although we all do not use diamonds, for example , you are unable to confuse this style with a bijouterie — you will feel it being a jewel. Colonial jewelry and Inca-style jewelry are typically stunning handmade pieces of art, perfect for collectors.
CG: What gem stones and metals are mined in Peru, and commonly found in hand made 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 world silver producer — yes! — followed by Mexico. Regarding gold, we are the first in Latin America, and the fifth in the world. About quality, we are considered one of the best. Regarding gemstones, we now 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, that was used by Pre-Incas in their jewelry. Various other popular semiprecious stones are Sodalite, Onyx, Obsidian, Jasper, Serpentine, Angelite.