Lima is a capital city of two halves. On the one hand you have districts full of sleek apartment buildings, renovated colonial housing, the Pacific Ocean, spotless streets, green lawns, and people manicured and well shod to match. But if you take a quick cab ride in any direction, things change fast. There are still so many people in Lima looking to find, and working hard towards a better standard of life for themselves and their families. One of these people is Emilio - a self made man who has worked his way up and pushed himself constantly to learn more and improve his skills.
Emilio arrived in Lima in the 90s and started out cutting precious stones and working in bronze, before moving into making silver jewellery findings for the French jewellery market. His sense of ambition and ability with manipulating metal soon allowed him to get further into the industry. When we visited his studio in Lima, he told us that he made the transition to jewellery design and production because he saw hippies handcrafting jewellery on the streets of Lima and took it upon himself to learn their craft.
His first designs were made by mixing left over dust from the stone cutting process with clear resin to make new “stones” which he then set in silver. He admits that it was a steep learning curve - the very first batch of rings he made to order had to be remade when the solder snapped during the polishing process. He didn’t enjoy it as a process to begin with, but he didn’t let this stumble break his stride. Now - years later - he has mastered his skill and is a keen and precise worker who looks relaxed as he works. Between him and his wife, they can produce around 150 pieces in a week. As well as our Folkdays pieces, he also has clients all over Europe and the States.
Text and images by Ruth Bartlett