Jewelry designer Daniela Villegas’ native Mexico inspired her to create these earthy, opulent earrings, which she named after an ancient Mesoamerican god, Quetzalcóatl. The design boasts a pair of slithering snakes reminiscent of the Mexican flag (which features an eagle eating a rattlesnake) and a mélange of gemstones meant to reflect the nation’s vibrant spirit. “Mexico is a very colorful, eclectic, and fun country,” says the designer, “and I wanted to show that.”
These sibling serpents are part of a larger collection, Chromatic Paradise, informed by Mexico, and were forged in 18k yellow gold with 3.7 cts. t.w. sapphire and 83.9 cts. t.w. agate and jasper. At press time, the earrings were for sale at Los Angeles boutique Just One Eye, priced at $20,000.
The nine craftspeople who brought the earrings to life were able to overcome what Villegas cited as the biggest design challenge: figuring out “how to create something big and bold without it being extremely heavy.”
Villegas used snakes in the design because “serpents and snakes represent fertility and a creative life force,” she says. “As snakes shed their skin through sloughing, they are symbols of rebirth, transformation, immortality, and healing.”