"My workshop is in my home and, like my parents did, I'm teaching my children."
Update (June, 2019)
“I have been working with NOVICA for almost two years now. These years have been enormously surprising, improving my income.
“I have created amber jewelry from a young age; it is as beautiful as my village. When I first started working with the help of NOVICA, improving my quality was a challenge, seeing how each detail could be used to make a stupendous piece. Sharing the details of this beautiful tradition has been a challenge, from the extraction of amber to polishing and working the stone, transmitting the value of the pieces to each client that is pleased with my work.
“When I saw the income that I could make with NOVICA, I said ‘I made it.’ Seeing the result of my work pleases me greatly. I don’t work all by myself; members of my family also help. And, when a piece is sold, it carries a part of them too.
“NOVICA has helped me sustain my family in an incredible way. They tell me that I am the most successful artisan in Chiapas. I always participate in amber expos, and I am proud that amber is the source of my income.”
Original Artisan Story
"I was born and raised in a small Maya town in Chiapas. From the time I was 14, I've crafted jewelry in silver and amber. My parents taught me. While I was learning, I'd practice with a piece of charcoal to shape it like a gem and polish it. This was something I really enjoyed doing.
"My workshop is in my home and, like my parents did, I'm teaching my children. I like seeing my family help in the workshop. My children polish the silver, my wife does some designing and also sets the gems while I cut and shape the amber. As I work, I imagine how the design will look when it's finished. I have to be careful not to cut myself with the diamond blades.
"My feelings while working inspire me to express this in my designs. Other times, I craft jewelry that is seasonal or that sells well.
"People in my community have worked with amber for many, many years. Southeastern Mexico has a number of amber mines. Once I visited one of them. We descended for more than 600 yards when I began feeling as though I couldn't get my breath. I was getting desperate and tried to run out, but I slipped and fell all the way back down. It was terrifying! Today, I laugh about it. Actually, it's memories like this that make me enjoy my work.
"For me, the growth of my community is a priority. I like to help other artisans all I can and lend materials to neighbors who are jewelers. I also purchase the amber from mines in the area. My greatest wish is to send my children to college but, at the same time, I encourage them to continue the family's jewelry arts."