Julio Cesar Choquehuanca
Handcrafted jewelry with Andean silver and gemstones in The Andes
"At first jewelry was a hobby, but I definitely enjoyed it. As time went by, I realized I wanted to do this for the rest of my life.""I was born in Cuzco in 1971. I am a competent designer, crafty and supportive. I enjoy sharing my art.
"Before discovering my passion for jewelry, I worked in different jobs but, one day, I saw a newspaper article about the history of jewelry. The photos were hypnotizing! I spoke with my family and friends, who recommended I try my hand at jewelry. I got in touch with a family member who worked in silver and I signed up for a jewelry crafting class.
"At first jewelry was a hobby, but I definitely enjoyed it. As time went by, I realized I wanted to do this for the rest of my life.
"When I began my classes, I didn't know anything about gems and silver. I worked day and night to perfect my jewelry. I constantly took courses and my wife went with me. She supported me and helped me discover new workshops, artists, classes, fairs and everything related to jewelry.
"Because we live far from the city, we had some technical problems. For example, we didn't have access to the machines we needed, but this only motivated us to create solutions. We learned new techniques and began making our own equipment.
"I enjoy exploring different techniques and developing my curiosity and creativity. My inspiration comes from my family. My grandfather had an appreciation for jewelry and wanted to learn the art, but he wasn't able. He gave me some stamps with Inca motifs and also liked using metal sheeting. I try to honor his memory through my work and designs.
"Our jewelry wasn't appreciated or sold very much in the beginning. A lot of buyers refused to pay a fair price for my designs, but I didn't give up. I persevered with my work.
"My dream is to strengthen my workshop and train other artisans. I'm passionate about Peruvian art and history, and love to show my work from the beautiful and city of Cuzco."