Jewels of the Tropics

Maria Constanza Cardenas’s tribute to Colombia

Women adorn themselves daily either with expensive jewelry or with traditional Bijoux at lower prices. I offer contemporary jewelry with a daring design that invites you to meet the exuberance and color of the tropics.

My jewelry is a tribute to our cultural wealth. Each collection is the result of research on a region’s cultural roots, combined with the innovative use of materials and textures. These exclusive designs are made by hand, in limited quantities, by Colombian artisans.

Born in Colombia, I was fortunate to live in different countries. Many years after graduating from architecture, I began to design jewelry and have presented my jewelry collections in catwalks and international fairs.

For me, designing a new collection is an experience. It means going back in time, rediscovering a selected culture, its ethnic roots, customs, and artistic background. After I select a theme, I research the symbolism and artistic concepts that are going to inspire the new collection. I decide what materials to use, the color palette, the main shapes, and textures, and begin designing. Volume, movement, color, and new materials are essential for me in every collection. I like my pieces to have identity and personality. Each collection and each piece in the collection is unique. I first sketch the different pieces of the new collection. After I capture my ideas on paper, I  produce the first piece of each design so I can feel it, and experiment with different materials to see how everything works together and make any necessary corrections. The use of color is crucial. I emphasize this in each one of my collections.

My work is the result of my experiences, my passion for nature, form, and color. I like to surprise. Some of the most representative collections of my work are:

Orinoco is a collection inspired in the Amazon Orinoco River region. A main player in this collection is Tagua, a wonderful seed known as Vegetable Ivory. It allows us to create pieces of great quality, durability, and value while protecting elephants, persecuted for their ivory tusks. Tagua consists of leather, jute, and ribbons, to add color and simulate bird feathers, and thus re-create the art of Indians that inhabit along the shores of this impressive South American river.

The blend of African and Indian culture in the coasts of South America inspires the Curiepe Collection. It reflects the jungle that meets the ocean, color, primitivism, sensuality, and the rhythm of drums. Vegetable ivory, crystal beads, leather, and jute are the main materials.

Calima Collection is inspired in the Malagana culture that flourished between 70DC and 140DC in the Cauca River Valley, in southwestern Colombia. Elegant simplicity in the design inspired by animals, flora, and geometric shapes stands out in Malagana gold work. I design metal ornaments and beads that are then handmade by Colombian artisans and bathed in 24K gold or silver. These unique pieces are assembled into necklaces and bracelets, using semi-precious stones, ribbons, crystal beads, and pearls.

The sea of Cubagua was a reservoir of exquisite pearls. In the pre-Columbian era, traveled from Mexico Mayas to Colombia to negotiate with the Guaiqueríe Indians. Cubagua Collection consists of pearls, chains, multi-color crystal bead textures, and ornaments bathed in 24K gold or silver, inspired in corals, sea sponges--a tribute to the antique pearl of the Caribbean.

Due to the variety of forms, colors, and sizes, orchids are among the most beautiful flowers… the Orchid Collection is a tribute to the queen of Colombian flowers.

For more information, please visit www.maria-constanza.com.

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