Silver jewelry

In a previous life (as an interpreter) I was required to dress up for work. This meant I collected suits and shoes as well as briefcases and purses. I also collected jewelry, went to the hairdresser on a regular basis, and used make-up every day.

These days I wear jeans and sandals, trim my own hair, and when I (rarely) do my face, it is usually limited to a few strokes of mascara and a little blush. Where it used to take me at least forty-five minutes to get ready for work, my limit these days is ten minutes to shower, get dressed, and roll up my long hair in a bun. I might not look very chic anymore, but I do know I love my life and am a very happy person, indeed.

Yesterday I woke up in an organizing mood and decided to hit my bathroom. And I came across a box full of silver jewelry that has been put away for years. And, of course, the pieces have tarnished with time. So my evening activity consisted in sorting through the pile and polishing the pieces. Quite a mess, right?

Some of these pieces are really nice. And I am reminded of how fortunate I am to live in this tiny country just brimming with creativity. So I thought I’d share some of my favorite items from this pile, all silver, all made in Ecuador.

Below are some lovely hoop earrings made by a local designer. She actually went to school with one of my brothers. These were given to me as a gift over twenty years ago, before she became really famous and was thus quite affordable. Not so much these days, trust me. I used to wear these hoops a lot, on “elegant” occasions.

This butterfly brooch is interesting because of the tiny pieces of inlaid turquoise. This brooch measures about two inches, so you can imagine how tiny those pieces of turquoise are. I also like it because it is so obviously handmade.

Here are three more brooches, also all handmade. The irregular hexagon brooch has a traditional design of an Indian couple and was a given to me as a teenager. I think it was probably too sophisticated for me then, but over the years this was the brooch I probably wore the most. It also has a little ring on the back so it can be worn as a necklace, and I think I used it that way more than pinned to a lapel. The other two brooches are contemporary, and as such a modern interpretation of ancient Indian designs.

I find these earrings below quite charming. They measure about 1.25 inches. You can see from the irregular edges that they are handcrafted. And the flower design is mother-of-pearl. I personally am attracted to “imperfection” more than to polished, perfect finishing…

These earrings are another contemporary interpretation of an ancient Indian design. In Andean culture you will find that many of the designs are of birds. These earrings are supposed to represent herons, which are a very popular design in our part of the world.

Last, but not least, this photo simply does not do these earrings justice. They look kind of clunky here, but in reality are very light and delicate. They are very representative of the work done down south, in Cuenca, where the best work in the country is done, both in gold and silver. If you ever come to Ecuador, Cuenca is where you will want to go for quality jewelry. These could very well be my favorite silver earrings..

So now that I have polished all these pieces and organized them in jewelry boxes, I’m thinking they certainly would look well with jeans and t-shirts. Don’t you?

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