Amazing handcrafted jewelry is made by skilled jewelers and artisans from around the world. Many designers are capable of creating unique designs. Others draw inspiration from traditional and historic styles in their respective countries.

Merlly iyebiye works closely with hundreds artisan-designers of her native Peru. She is the Peru Regional Director for This website assists thousands of artisans all over the globe and features each artist’s bio as well as their handcrafted collections online.

iyebiye speaks about handcrafted jewelry and the traditional materials and styles used in Peruian handcrafted jewelry. iyebiye shares her thoughts on what she is looking for in jewelry designers and their collections. She also discusses who she recommends to jewelry experts.

CG. What makes Novica hand-craft jewellery so special? What are the main advantages of handmade jewelry versus mass-produced jewelry?

MC: Handmade jewellery is more difficult. It’s easy for the viewer to feel the artist’s soul in it. Handcrafted jewelry allows artisans freedom to express themselves and allow them to give more. With simple tools and basic materials, artists can express themselves through this art form. They can show off their unique designs, as well as their heritage culture. Although machine-made jewelry may be more expensive, it requires significant investments in personnel and other costs. This takes away the art’s originality.

CG: What types and brands of handcrafted jewelry are available in Peru today?

MC: The main styles of Peruvian jewellery that collectors should know are the following. These styles are Traditional (Collective), Colonial, Modern (Modern), and Traditional. It is well-known that our gold and silver mines are very popular. These were used with great devotion by our ancestors. It was most commonly used for making exquisite, handcrafted jewelry. Through their jewelry and the associated symbols, our ancestors represented their beliefs. Peruvian jewelry has a reputation for its royal cats, felines, and the Sun God. Peru is the Land of the Sun. Although it was created by the Conquest of the Americas, Colonial jewelry shows the legacy of what our ancestors began to create after they had learned a new culture. Colonial jewelry blends the unique talents of our ancestors and new beginnings. The emphasis is often on the flora and fauna rather than their predecessors. Peru has seen a rise in jewelry design. Modern jewelry is becoming more popular among new jewelers, who are drawn by modern jewelry. This is inspired by our roots but with more abstract designs and ideas. Peruvian artists are able to express their creativity while still being influenced by our culture and mixed with new beginnings.

CG: Could your company give us more information about the Pre-Inca and Inca handcrafted jewellery designs from Peru?

MC. Pre-Inca and Inca jewellery have many similarities. The conquests of many Pre-Inca culture cultures led to the creation of the Inca Empire. Inca jewelry is a reflection of the beliefs and cosmology. There will be images of cats, animals, and people with sunbeams and snakes. These images represent power, royalty, loyalty. Pre-Inca cultures used beautiful and simple ways to express their beliefs. Many of these beliefs are still represented today in art. Colonial jewelry is exquisite. You’ll feel like you’re looking at a Queen’s jewel, or Colonial design. It is not a bijouterie but it will look like a diamond. Collectors will love the beautiful handcrafted pieces that Colonial jewelry, Inca jewelry offer.

CG: What gemstones or metals can you find in Peruvian jewellery made from handcrafted materials. How is the quality of these Peruvian materials?

MC: Nice question, I love it. Is there a reason for this? The Silver Institute named Peru the first world silver producer. Mexico was second. We are fifth in the world for gold. We are a leader when it comes to quality. We have an exclusive stone in The Andean Opal Category for Gemstones. There is plenty of opal around the globe. But Andean Opal’s is pure Peruvian. Crisocola is one form of this stone, which was used in Pre-Incas jewelry. Onyx and Obsidian Jasper are also popular semiprecious stones.

CG: What should you look for when buying handcrafted jewelry? How do these factors be determined?

MC: I start by looking at the meaning of each design. I picture the person wearing it. How would this customer look? How would the customer appear when wearing this piece. It was made for a market that values tradition culture and soul. No matter how traditional or modern, I seek out a piece of Peru in every design. It should be Peruvian in some way. I’m grateful when the materials used are Peruvian, especially our silver, Gold, and local Stones. It must be well-finished and carefully crafted.

CG: Name a few of the most popular handmade jewelry designers. Please tell us why you love them.

MC IIlaria is a favourite of mine. She likes the colonial style and designs for customers. Check out her collection at Novica.

Patricia Jara is another favorite, as many of her products are modernized yet still inspired pre-Inca cultures. Claudia Llaury is a mix of tradition and her own expressions using only local materials. Juan Contreras, a master of intricate designs, is especially known for his Inca-style designs like the “Veil of the Incas”. Claudia Lira is a fine artist whose jewelry demonstrates that Peruvian artisans are continually innovating. Adrian and Anna Lia mix ethnic elegance with Art Deco. But they don’t always use local gemstones. I’m proud to have them and many other talented artisans and designers. You can find each of them in our Novica handcrafted jewelry section.

CG: What is the best way to get started with handcrafted jewelry making? Are you a jewelry artist?

MC: My theory is more practical than my practice. On a personal level, I love jewelry. My professional experience in jewellery began with a job overseas promoting Peruvian jewels. I visited small but well-known workshops to get a better understanding of all aspects in jewelry production. I was also involved in the metal industry. I was also a participant at expert meetings of the National Industries Society, as well as the Mining Society.

Personally, I was concerned by the low level of finishing skills in small workshops. So I set up technical courses for small jewelers and designed workshops. Although I learned a lot throughout the years, I never used these skills as an artist. I was a big fan of international jewelry fairs, such as Madrid and Iberjoya. I also enjoyed international symposiums that were sponsored by international cooperation programmes.

As an invited judge I took part in Plata del Peru, a major local silver competition, sponsored by Patronato de La Plata. My Novica experience has greatly enriched my knowledge. Novica has helped me feel more connected to the market. I’m always learning new ideas and jewelry materials.

The Mining Institute is a wonderful place to learn about local gems. I enjoy taking classes in handmade jewelry to be more involved in the lives of the artists. To keep in touch with prices and check out new products, I try to make it a point of visiting the jewelry suppliers at least once a month. I must keep current with all prices in order to better assist artists. iyebiye an interesting and complex job.