"The greatest challenge is to transform a piece of gold or silver into jewelry that is a small work of art with a life and language of its own."
"I'm Jaqueline Lucrecia Zevallos Purizaga. I was born in 1982 in the great city of Lima. I consider myself a perseverant, enterprising and strong woman, a warrior when faced with any obstacle in life.
"When I was 24, I was diagnosed with cancer. This had a tremendous impact on my life. However, further tests and exams revealed it was a pre-cancer. It was detected at an early stage thanks to a prompt checkup and, after several surgeries, I was able to overcome this terrible disease.
"Several years ago, I was declared a cancer survivor, which brought peace to all of my loved ones. But I was told I have to have special care for the rest of my life. The positive side of this experience is that it taught me to treasure my life and my family. Without their support, I couldn't have been able to face my treatments and recovery. Since then, I see everything with different eyes. Today, I feel brave and capable of facing and overcoming any adversity.
"When I was a child, I'd watch my grandfather in his small jewelry workshop. I always received his beautiful handcrafted earrings as Christmas and birthday gifts. I always loved the alchemy of jewelry, its beauty and design. So after finishing my university studies in administration, I wrote my thesis on jewelry.
"I didn't limit myself only to writing it. Something in me wanted more, so I asked my grandfather to teach me this art that he learned from his father, who learned from his own father. I am the fourth generation of jewelers in the family.
"After learning jewelry with my grandfather, in 2007 I decided to perfect my techniques and I studied for a second career in jewelry. In 2010, I enrolled in one of the most important technical schools in Peru, where I was able to perfect my jewelry. I now teach jewelry art to the artisans that collaborate in my workshop. I also share my knowledge with my family and community, as well as other conferences where I'm invited to teach. In Miraflores, I taught a course and received an award as an outstanding artisan from the district.
"I leaned little by little, observing my grandfather and teachers, as well as talking to artisans from my country. I've continue learning constantly. I've researched and taken courses where I learned techniques introduced by foreign artisans, complementing and interchanging them with the methods known in Peru.
"What I like the most is the many types of science involved in the craft — the metallurgy, the chemistry, the mathematics, the history and art as well as the feelings of love and passion. I love knowing that my designs will still exist and be beautiful for many generations.
"I've had the opportunity to travel to different countries, visiting workshops and sharing my experiences. It's been a combination of experiences that all come together when I practice alone in my workshop, seeking to give beauty to my jewelry designs.
"Today I'm trying I to make my workshop function with renewable energy, that is, with solar-generated electricity. We want our processes to be ecologically sustainable.
"As a Peruvian artisan, my dream is to be a known worldwide as a designer of handcrafted jewelry. I want people to recognize the influence of our ancestral cultures that meet and meld with the modern world. I also want to show the variety in my designs and our splendid Andean silver and gold.
"I like to communicate, to be able to express my ideas in designs that will later take shape in precious metals and become unique jewelry. My inspiration comes from nature, my cultural and ancestral legacy from Peru — which I express subtly — as well as the modern. The metal itself is also a source of inspiration.
"The greatest challenge is to transform a piece of gold or silver into jewelry that is a small work of art with a life and language of its own. I enjoy challenges so I can better my technique and designs day by day.
"It has been and is a great challenge, since my initial training wasn't so artistic. Moving into jewelry design was a long process. Today I feel a great responsibility for my family, the artisans who assist me in my workshop as well as with their families, my ancestors and my country.
"In 2007, the idea began to take shape. In 2010, I started with a small table and tongs. Later, I acquired a saw to cut the silver — it was a gift from my grandfather inherited from his father. Now I have a fully equipped workshop."