Even after Spain's conquest of the Aztec empire, during the early 16th century, the mysterious grandeur of the Templo Mayor temple could not be fully quelled. More than four centuries after the temple's destruction, a major excavation took place in Mexico City uncovering well-preserved artifacts. Mexico is also the home of featured jewelry designer Carlos Cabral.
Jewelry is born through the unification of instinct and intellect, while the ultimate creation is a hands-on, sensory endeavor.
It is a play of touch, exploration, and a seeming transference between the creator and his or her materials.
"I studied a variety of courses in jewelry design and silversmithing in order to discover the intricacies of metal work," says the former med student. "I learned how to work metals without hurrying the process--I learned to listen to the metal."
When designing his pieces, Cabral also takes cures from the natural environment. "Nature is the guiding principle behind my jewelry designs. I observe flowers and feathers. I study the contours of rocks, or the texture of a tree trunk. I'd say my designs emulate Mother Nature rather than imitate."
Cabral's sterling silver bijouterie is alternately coarse, organic, irregular, sleek, and sculptural. He contrasts white and patinated metal, high polish with texture adding accents of reconstituted turquoise, opals from Jalisco's Magdalena mines or a single black pearl.
His more streamlined pieces, featured on Novica.com, incorporate Aztecan motifs, and interpretations of a thread spool, and open book.
Although I love the look of elegant jewelry its fluidity, and smoothness of form, I also love the distinctive, hand-sculpted look of his organic items.
Some shapes are crinkled like loosely balled up pieces of paper, others are beaten up, rough-hewn resembling unearthed relics.
Each design is cultivated through numerous techniques including anticlastic raising, hammering, repoussé, and high relief.
Overall, the jewelry is earthy, and sensual a visual language of delicate femininity and quiet strength.
"I worked in graphic communications for over 20 years. I designed jewelry on the side until I realized my greatest pleasure came from three-dimensional shapes as well as working with metals and gemstones.
I derive great pleasure when I see people wearing my designs and see them happy with my products."
Photo 1 (top right): Hammered Sterling Silver Tara Pendant
Photo 2 (bottom left): Sterling Silver Puno Bracelet