The monthlong celebration of Latinx culture is also referred to as Hispanic Heritage Month (if you aren’t familiar, Latinx is an inclusive, gender-netural term used to describe people who are of or relate to Latin American origin or descent).
Which seemed like the perfect time to spotlight some of our industry’s most talented jewelry designers who hail from, or claim ancestral heritage to, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Cuba, and other Hispanic nations.
“The Latinx community brings a broader perspective when it comes to jewelry,” says the blogger known as A Thousand Facets, who is a native of Puerto Rico and lives in New York. “These artists have such a mixed background and rich history, with Native, European, and African cultures in their blood. That mix makes Latin designers open to so different many styles, and sometimes when you see the work of a Latinx artist there’s not just one perspective, but a true melting pot of aesthetics.”
Angely Martinez, one of the founders of a coalition of BIPOC jewelry designers that had the industry buzzing earlier this summer, stresses the importance of amplifying the voices of the Latinx jewelry community now and always.
“As an immigrant and a child of immigrants, I’ve had to overcome many barriers to pursue my dreams, and I have never allowed my economic background, my race, or my accent hold me back,” she says. “While there are many Latinx jewelry designers, none have achieved the recognition of fashion designers like Oscar de la Renta or Carolina Herrera. Growing up in the Dominican Republic, Oscar de la Renta was a legend, but the idea of being a designer always seemed out of reach, and I was always told that for me, being a designer, was ‘impossible.’
“A lot of the materials used in fine jewelry design come from Latin America, and yet most of us do not have access to these resources. I do hope that this cultural movement [we’re spearheading with] the BIPOC Open Letter can bring access to these resources and more opportunities for the growth and development of the Latin American design community. As designers and craftspeople, our diverse backgrounds—encompassing 20-plus countries—can move the industry forward toward innovative design, while also attracting more jewelry collectors who can identify with our work, allowing future generations to see that becoming a jewelry designer is possible.”
Below, a list of Latinx designers everyone needs to know, starting with Jam + Rico (whose earrings appear on the September 2020 cover of JCK magazine).
Top: Ring with carved pink Peruvian opal flower in sterling silver, price on request; Angely Martinez
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