Monday, July 26, 2010

ZILHI

In the southeastern region of Peru is the ancient city of Cuzco. Also known as the `Navel of the World,' the once bustling center of the Inca Empire is a popular tourist attraction where one can explore the Ruins of Qenko. Peru is also home to featured jewelry designer Carmen Rosa Gamio Alvarez (a/k/a Zilhi).

Though generally minimalist in its overall proportions, Alvarez' jewelry encapsulates a plethora of jewelry making techniques including knitting, filigree, crochet, and wire wrapping.

Her collections are a stunning marriage of simple and complex outlines offset by the fluid colors of agate, citrine, chrysocolla, aquamarine, and garnet.

Drawing inspiration from sunflowers, smiles, the Inca accounting system quipu, the cloaks of Ayacucho, and motherhood, Alvarez cultivates delicately beautiful works from .950 and .999 strands of silver.

Her Andean Lace Cuff is an exquisite example of how the seemingly transient, shining filaments build upon another forming a curved, metallic lattice. The gemstone accents of her pieces resemble succulent candy drops of orange, blue, and purple.

Silver wires are coiled, rolled, and knitted into a dazzling assortment of statement-making items such as her filigree Tender Smile Necklace, or her Summer Chandelier Earrings.

"My artist name is Zilhi in honor of my daughter, Najma Zilhi. It was through jewelry that I met my husband, Adrian Miranda Riojas. He had returned from the U.S. where had had worked as a jeweler. He has taught me so much, and still helps me to perfect my work," she says.

"I liked drawing when I was a child so I have a lot of fun designing and creating jewelry," says the 36-year-old.

"I find a great deal of satisfaction in my work as I strive to transmit freshness in my designs. For me, my art is a fusion of fantasy and reality."

I love seeing this kind of artistry, the clear sense of exploration and demarcation. I like that, while keeping in step with trendy styles, she maintains artistic integrity by incorporating cultural influences. It is a sheer tour de force.
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Photo 1 (top right): .950 Silver and Agate Shining Sun Strand Necklace
Photo 2 (bottom left): .999 Silver Andean Lace Bracelet
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